College Basketball Content

Where the NBA Players Come From

Just as last season (and the season before), players from Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, and North Carolina head list of colleges for 2014-15 NBA Opening-Day Rosters
 

 Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, and North Carolina, are at the head of the list of 107 Division I colleges that have one or more former players on 2014-15 NBA opening-day rosters, as of October 28, 2014. These same four teams led the pack last year. And the year before that. Duke and Kentucky each have 18 former players on NBA team rosters. The Wildcats are down from 21 players last season, which was the most from one school on opening-day rosters since we began compiling this list on a yearly basis 27 years ago. Kansas has 17 former players and North Carolina 16 former players on NBA teams. UCLA (15), Arizona (12), and Florida (12) round out those schools with double-digit former players on NBA opening-round rosters this season. 

Collegiate Basketball News' Jim Sukup has been tracking the origin of NBA players on NBA opening-day rosters since the 1986-1987 season. There are four categories of players in the current list: 1) NBA players that attended Division I colleges; 2) NBA players that attended non-Division I colleges, including junior colleges; 3) NBA players that went from U.S. high schools directly to the NBA without attending college; and 4) Foreign players that have no U.S. college experience. Foreign players that played for U.S. colleges are shown on the college list rather than on the foreign players list. That explains the discrepancy between the number of foreign players shown on this list and the larger number of "international players" that are reported by the NBA or are found on other lists. This season the NBA lists 101 such players, including one from the U.S. Virgin Islands, whose citizens are in fact U.S. citizens. Only the last college a player attended is shown in cases where players on current NBA rosters attended more than one college.

It is informative to compare the data on the current list with the list that was compiled for the 1986-1987 season (see the January 26, 1987 issue of Basketball Weekly titled " ACC, Big Ten Most Generous with NBA", by Jim Sukup). Back then there were 23 teams in the NBA (compared with 30 today), there were a total of 301 players on NBA opening-day rosters (compared with 447 on the 2014-15 opening-day roster list), and there was no list of the number of foreign players in the league (although several foreign players on those NBA rosters had played for U.S. colleges). UCLA headed the colleges with 9 former players in the NBA, and the ACC was at the top of the conference list with 34 players on the 1986-87 NBA opening-day roster list.

The ACC heads the list of conferences for the fifth consecutive year in producing the most NBA players of any conference, with 67. That is good for an average of 4.6 former players per school, which is second in that category. The Pac-12 tops the list with an average of 5.2 players for each of its 12 schools, with a total of 62 players. The Pac-12 is followed by the SEC with 55 players and an average of 3.9 players per team. The Big 12 comes in 4th with 34 players in the NBA and an average of 3.4 former players per school, the Big Ten has 35 players in the NBA for an average of 2.5 players per school, the Big East has 23 players for a 2.3 average, the American has 19 in the NBA with 1.7 players per school, and the Mountain West has 16 former players in the NBA for a 1.5 average. As last season, the Pac-12 is the only conference that has all schools represented on NBA rosters at the beginning of the 2014-15 season, and it also had that honor in 2012-13. The Big East had 9 of 10 schools with former players on NBA opening-day rosters this season, the ACC had 13 of 15, the SEC 10 of 14, the Big Ten 10 of 14, the Big 12 had 6 of 10, and the Mountain West had 6 of 11. Nine conferences had only one team represented in the NBA, and six conferences and the one independent had no NBA players on 2014-15 NBA opening-day rosters.

There were 63 foreign players on 2014-15 NBA opening-day rosters that did not play in U.S. colleges, or 14.1% of the NBA total. That is 2 more foreign players than last season. A total of 23 players went straight from U.S. high schools to the NBA (5.2% of the NBA total), and 1 player attended a non-Division I college. Division I colleges provide the balance of 360 NBA players (80.5%). Foreign players that played at U.S. colleges are counted under the appropriate Division I school listing. The NBA counts 101 "international" players on opening-day rosters this season. 

The average NBA player at the start of the 2014-15 season was 26.87 years old (26.88 last season) and had 4.96 years of NBA experience (4.87 last season). NBA team averages for these categories are 26.88 and 4.96, respectively, as shown in the accompanying tables. Players on the San Antonio Spurs averaged 29.11 years of age, making them the oldest of all 30 NBA teams, and they averaged 6.73 years of NBA playing experience, which ties for fourth in this category. The Philadelphia 76ers are the youngest team in the league in averaging 23.96 years of age, and they also have an average of 2.27 years of experience, the least in the league.

Young basketball players that believe they might have a long NBA career should take a look at the second-to-last table on this page because it contains some eye-opening data. This table shows the number of NBA players with the corresponding number of years of NBA experience. For example, there are 61 rookie players on opening-day rosters this season that have 0 years of NBA experience, and they make up 13.6% of the total number of NBA players. A bit under half (45.9%) of NBA players are rookies or have 1, 2, or 3 years of NBA playing experience. Are you convinced that you will have a long, productive NBA career? This is very unlikely because only 59 players (13.2%) on 2014-15 NBA opening-day rosters have more than 10 years of NBA experience, and only 12 have 15 or more years of NBA experience!

Player turnover in the NBA is always going at a breakneck pace, and you need only to look at the roster of your favorite NBA team and compare it to last year to understand this fact. Only exceptional talent lasts in the NBA for any length of time. The NBA player with the most playing experience this season is Kevin Garnett of the Brooklyn Nets, who has 19 years under his belt. Who is the oldest current player in the league? That honor belongs to the Lakers Steve Nash, born on 2/7/74, who is a little over two years older than Andre Miller of the Washington Wizards. Nash and Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers both have 18 years of NBA playing experience, and Tim Duncan is next with 17 years of service. Our annual salute is due these players for their outstanding NBA longevity. Enjoy them now, becasue these players will probably be gone before you know it. 

The last table on this page lists NBA coaches as of 2014-15 opening-day rosters and the college they attended. Arizona State, Kentucky, and Minnesota head the list with 2 NBA coaches each. An interesting fact is that 5 NBA coaches attended college at non-Division I institutions.

The following lists are based upon NBA Opening-Day rosters for the 2014-15 season, which was Tuesday, October 28, 2014. The conference list includes only current school affiliations for the 2014-15 season. Team and conference lists include players on the active NBA roster list (13 active players are allowed per NBA team at any given time) and inactive list (maximum of 2 inactive players allowed).

Copyright © 2014 by Collegiate Basketball News Co. All Rights Reserved.

Where Current NBA Players Come From by Division I Conference, Non-Division I College, High School, and Foreign Origin

                       # Schools W/   Players    Avg. # NBA 
Conference (# teams)    NBA Players   in NBA    Players/Team
Pacific 12 (12)             12          62         5.2
Atlantic Coast (15)         13          69         4.6
Southeastern (14)           10          55         3.9
Big 12 (10)                  6          34         3.4
Big Ten (14)                10          35         2.5
Big East (10)                9          23         2.3
American (11)                5          19         1.7
Mountain West (11)           6          16         1.5
West Coast (10)              4           9         0.9
Atlantic 10 (14)             6           8         0.6
Conference USA (14)          4           5         0.4
Horizon (9)                  2           3         0.3
Missouri Valley )10          1           3         0.3
Ohio Valley (12)             3           3         0.3
Summit (9)                   2           2         0.2
Patriot (10)                 2           2         0.2
Big Sky (12)                 2           2         0.2
Mid-American (12)            2           2         0.2
Ivy League (8)               1           1         0.1
Western Athletic (8          1           1         0.1
Big West (9)                 1           1         0.1
Colonial (10)                1           1         0.1
Southern (10)                1           1         0.1
Metro Atlantic (11)          1           1         0.1
Sun Belt (11)                1           1         0.1
Mid-Eastern (13)             1           1         0.1
America East (9)             0           0         0.0
Atlantic Sun (8)             0           0         0.0
Big South (11)               0           0         0.0
Independents (1)             0           0         0.0
Northeast (10)               0           0         0.0
Southland (13)               0           0         0.0
Southwestern (10)            0           0         0.0
Total Division I           107         360
                   Non-Division          1
                   High School          23
                   Foreign              63
                   Total in NBA        447

*Note: # foreign players does not include those that played for U.S. colleges


Division I Schools Ranked by Number of Players in NBA

                                No. Players
         School                    In NBA
       1 Duke                        18
       1 Kentucky                    18
       3 Kansas                      17
       4 North Carolina              16
       5 UCLA                        15
       6 Arizona                     12
       6 Florida                     12
       8 Connecticut                  9
       9 Texas                        8
       9 Washington                   8
      11 Georgia Tech                 7
      11 Michigan St.                 7
      13 Georgetown                   6
      13 LSU                          6
      13 Memphis                      6
      13 Michigan                     6
      13 Southern Cal                 6
      13 Syracuse                     6
      19 Marquette                    5
      19 Wake Forest                  5
      21 Baylor                       4
      21 Colorado                     4
      21 Gonzaga                      4
      21 Indiana                      4
      21 New Mexico                   4
      21 Ohio St.                     4
      21 Stanford                     4
      21 UNLV                         4
      29 Alabama                      3
      29 Arkansas                     3
      29 California                   3
      29 Creighton                    3
      29 Louisville                   3
      29 Maryland                     3
      29 Miami-FL                     3
      29 Missouri                     3
      29 Nevada                       3
      29 Oklahoma St.                 3
      29 Purdue                       3
      29 Tennessee                    3
      29 Texas A&M                    3
      29 Vanderbilt                   3
      29 Wichita St.                  3
      29 Wisconsin                    3
      45 Arizona St.                  2
      45 Boston College               2
      45 Butler                       2
      45 BYU                          2
      45 Cincinnati                   2
      45 Clemson                      2
      45 Dayton                       2
      45 Detroit                      2
      45 Fresno St.                   2
      45 Illinois                     2
      45 Iowa                         2
      45 N.C. State                   2
      45 Oregon                       2
      45 Oregon St.                   2
      45 Pittsburgh                   2
      45 San Diego St.                2
      45 St. John's                   2
      45 St. Mary's                   2
      45 Utah                         2
      45 VCU                          2
      45 Villanova                    2
      45 Virginia                     2
      45 Washington St.               2
      45 Western Kentucky             2
      69 Belmont                      1
      69 Bucknell                     1
      69 Central Michigan             1
      69 Cleveland St.                1
      69 Colorado St.                 1
      69 Davidson                     1
      69 DePaul                       1
      69 Eastern Wash.                1
      69 Georgia                      1
      69 Harvard                      1
      69 IUPUI                        1
      69 Kansas St.                   1
      69 La Salle                     1
      69 Lehigh                       1
      69 Long Beach St.               1
      69 Louisiana Tech               1
      69 Minnesota                    1
      69 Morehead St.                 1
      69 Murray St.                   1
      69 Norfolk St.                  1
      69 North Texas                  1
      69 Oklahoma                     1
      69 Old Dominion                 1
      69 Rider                        1
      69 Saint Joseph's               1
      69 Santa Clara                  1
      69 Seton Hall                   1
      69 South Dakota St.             1
      69 St. Bonaventure              1
      69 Temple                       1
      69 Towson                       1
      69 Tulsa                        1
      69 UL Lafayette                 1
      69 Utah Valley                  1
      69 Virginia Tech                1
      69 Weber St.                    1
      69 Western Carolina             1
      69 Western Michigan             1
      69 Xavier                       1

         Total Division I           360
         Non-Division I               1
         High School                 23
         Foreign                     63
         Total in NBA 2014-15       447


NBA Teams Sorted by Average Experience

                                Avg.     Avg.
Team                            Exp.     Age
Washington                      7.53    28.94
Dallas                          7.33    28.73
Cleveland                       6.80    28.50
LA Clippers                     6.73    28.39
San Antonio                     6.73    29.11
Memphis                         6.71    28.66
Miami                           6.33    28.68
LA Lakers                       6.20    27.90
Chicago                         5.93    28.46
New York Knicks                 5.53    27.99
Brooklyn                        5.27    28.41
Golden St.                      5.20    27.10
Indiana                         4.87    28.19
Denver                          4.80    26.34
Sacramento                      4.79    26.48
Portland                        4.73    26.65
Atlanta                         4.73    27.51
Toronto                         4.67    26.25
Oklahoma City                   4.53    25.60
Detroit                         4.47    26.48
Charlotte                       4.33    26.07
Minnesota                       4.00    25.58
Houston                         4.00    26.31
Orlando                         3.80    25.25
Boston                          3.73    25.34
New Orleans                     3.73    25.59
Milwaukee                       3.47    24.17
Phoenix                         3.13    25.49
Utah                            2.47    24.28
Philadelphia                    2.27    23.96
Average Per Team                4.96    26.88
 
 
NBA Teams Sorted by Average Age
                                Avg.     Avg.
Team                            Exp.     Age
San Antonio                     6.73    29.11
Washington                      7.53    28.94
Dallas                          7.33    28.73
Miami                           6.33    28.68
Memphis                         6.71    28.66
Cleveland                       6.80    28.50
Chicago                         5.93    28.46
Brooklyn                        5.27    28.41
LA Clippers                     6.73    28.39
Indiana                         4.87    28.19
New York Knicks                 5.53    27.99
LA Lakers                       6.20    27.90
Atlanta                         4.73    27.51
Golden St.                      5.20    27.10
Portland                        4.73    26.65
Sacramento                      4.79    26.48
Detroit                         4.47    26.48
Denver                          4.80    26.34
Houston                         4.00    26.31
Toronto                         4.67    26.25
Charlotte                       4.33    26.07
Oklahoma City                   4.53    25.60
New Orleans                     3.73    25.59
Minnesota                       4.00    25.58
Phoenix                         3.13    25.49
Boston                          3.73    25.34
Orlando                         3.80    25.25
Utah                            2.47    24.28
Milwaukee                       3.47    24.17
Philadelphia                    2.27    23.96
Average Per Team                4.96    26.88


Years of Experience for NBA Players

   No. Years NBA     No. NBA                   Cumulative
     Experience      Players    Percentage     Percentage
          0            61          .136           .136
          1            58          .130           .266
          2            51          .114           .380
          3            35          .078           .459
          4            35          .078           .537
          5            32          .072           .609
          6            31          .069           .678
          7            30          .067           .745
          8            13          .029           .774
          9            24          .054           .828
         10            18          .040           .868
         11            22          .049           .917
         12            12          .027           .944
         13            10          .022           .966
         14             3          .007           .973
         15             4          .009           .982
         16             4          .009           .991
         17             1          .002           .993
         18             2          .004           .998
         19             1          .002          1.000
                      447


NBA Coaches and College Attended

Team                     Coach              College
Brooklyn Nets            Lionel Hollins     Arizona State
Los Angeles Lakers       Byron Scott        Arizona State
Indiana Pacers           Frank Vogel        Kentucky
Toronto Raptors          Dwane Casey        Kentucky
Houston Rockets          Kevin McHale       Minnesota
Minnesota Timberwolves   Flip Saunders      Minnesota
Atlanta Hawks            Mike Budenholzer   Pomona
Boston Celtics           Brad Stevens       DePauw
Charlotte Hornets        Steve Clifford     Maine-Farmington
Chicago Bulls            Tom Thibodeau      Salem State
Cleveland Cavaliers      David Blatt        Princeton
Dallas Mavericks         Rick Carlisle      Virginia
Denver Nuggets           Brian Shaw         UC-Santa Barbara
Detroit Pistons          Stan Van Gundy     SUNY-Brockport
Golden State Warriers    Steve Kerr         Arizona
Los Angeles Clippers     Doc Rivers         Marquette
Memphis Grizzlies        David Joerger      Moorhead State
Miami Heat               Erik Spoelstra     Portland
Milwaukee Bucks          Jason Kidd         California
New Orleans Pelicans     Monty Williams     Notre Dame
New York Knicks          Derek Fisher       UALR
Oklahoma City Thunder    Scott Brooks       UC-Irvine
Orlando Magic            Jacque Vaughn      Kansas
Philadelphia 76ers       Brett Brown        Boston University
Phoenix Suns             Jeff Hornacek      Iowa State
Portland Trail Blazers   Terry Stotts       Oklahoma
Sacramento Kings         Michael Malone     Loyola, Md.
San Antonio Spurs        Gregg Popovich     Air Force Academy
Utah Jazz                Quin Snyder        Duke
Washington Wizards       Randy Wittman      Indiana