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Archive for the 'Prospects' Category

High School Recruiting Ranking vs. NBA Success

3rd August 2011

High school recruiting rankings, particularly the historical variety, have long fascinated me. There's something really interesting about looking back at them with the benefit of hindsight, and comparing a player's actual career trajectory to that which was predicted when he was just 18 years old.

With that idea in mind, I put together this post to see how often players of a certain ranking end up with a certain type of NBA career. For every player, I classified them in one of six categories:

  • Superstar - Either made 1st-team All-NBA or was Top-5 in MVP voting at least once in his career
  • All-Star - Made an All-Star roster at least once in his career
  • Starter - Finished top-5 on a team in games started at least once in his career
  • Regular - Not a starter, but played at least half of a team's games in a season at least once in his career
  • Scrub - Not a regular, but played at least 1 NBA game in his career
  • Did Not Play - Never played an NBA game

I then looked at the recruiting rankings on this site, gathering the data from 1998-2003 ('03 being the final HS class for which you can reasonably say every player has been given a full chance to reach his NBA potential -- if a guy hasn't made it by now, it's probably never going to happen). Based on their national prospect rankings coming out of high school, how many players ended up in each category in the NBA?

Rank Did Not Play Scrub Regular Starter All-Star Superstar
1-5 16% 10% 16% 35% 16% 6%
6-10 38% 10% 10% 31% 7% 3%
11-25 46% 16% 16% 19% 2% 0%
26-50 70% 9% 7% 12% 2% 0%
51-100 82% 5% 7% 5% 1% 0%
Rank Did Not Play Scrub Regular Starter All-Star Superstar
Top5 16% 10% 16% 35% 16% 6%
Top10 27% 10% 13% 33% 12% 5%
Top25 38% 14% 15% 25% 6% 2%
Top50 54% 12% 11% 18% 4% 1%
Top100 68% 9% 9% 12% 2% 1%

This is a sobering reminder of how elite the NBA's talent level really is.

Even if you're one of the 100 best high school players in all of America, there's almost a 70% chance you never play in the NBA, and almost an 80% chance that, at best, you'll be a journeyman scrub who doesn't play regularly. And while top-5 talents have a decent probability of being an NBA starter or better (58%), after that the drop-off is steep: 41% for players ranked 6-10, 21% for #11-25, 14% for #26-50, and only 6% for players ranked outside the top 50 (including just a 1% chance of being an All-Star).

Not to harsh the mellow of any budding BMOCs out there, but the typical top prospect's NBA career is, in the words of Thomas Hobbes, nasty, brutish, and short.

For the full list of recruits used in the study (and the categories they fell into), click here.

Posted in Analysis, NCAA, Prospects | 30 Comments »

McDonald’s All-American Rosters Updated

31st March 2010

The annual McDonald's High School All-American Game is tonight, so just a quick reminder that you can find the boys' team rosters from this year (and every year since the 1st McDonald's game in 1977) here at Basketball-Reference, under the Awards section of the site. Congrats to all the selections, and good luck to them in the next stage of their hoops careers.

Posted in Announcements, Prospects, Site Features | Comments Off

Yesterday’s Prospects: 2000

27th January 2010

For every season since 1979, the ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia lists recruiting guru Bob Gibbons' top high school seniors, ranked 1-20. Every so often, I'm going to highlight these top prospects from a given year and take a look at what happened to them, as well as throw out the names of some players who may have slipped through the recruiting cracks but emerged as stars anyway. We'll start with the Year 2000, and a group whose best player (by far) wasn't even ranked among the 50 best prospects in the country...

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in History, Prospects | 5 Comments »

What Happened to the McDonald’s All-Americans? (Part II – 1977-1980)

13th March 2009

Picking up where we left off, we're going to look at the classic McDonald's All-American teams to see which players fared well -- and which ones never made it. Using Win Shares, I'll break each class into 4 groups: those with good careers (>11.0 WS), those with typical careers (>0.5 WS), those with fringe careers (<0.5 WS), and those who never played in the league. And along with those who never made it, I'll try to fill in as many gaps as I can on what happened after they failed to live up to the lofty expectations set for them as high schoolers. And by all means, if you know more about what happened to some of these guys, tell us in the comments!

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in History, Prospects, Win Shares | 7 Comments »

What Happens to the McDonald’s All-Americans? (Part I)

11th March 2009

I have to say that I'm fascinated by old high school recruiting lists. There's something about looking back with the benefit of hindsight at the talent scouts' evaluations of teenage players that's always been very compelling to me -- mainly because I usually end up asking the question, "How did they get it so wrong?" or, "Whatever happened to that guy?"

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in History, Prospects | 7 Comments »