In our current series on college basketball programs’ abilities to transform their available high school talent into NBA draft picks, we have decided to start with summary data for each school. We plan on concluding the series with a statistical model that predicts the likelihood of a player being drafted based on the player’s recruiting ranking, the school’s investment in the program, the rankings of the player’s teammates and other factors. We decided to start with the summary efficiency rankings simply because these rankings are more accessible to fans and tend to generate more conversation.
Our series continues with an examination of recruiting classes from 2002-2011 in the SEC. The chart below lists our efficiency rankings for the SEC (for more details on our methodology, please click here). Vanderbilt was the leader in the SEC in converting talent into NBA draft picks. The Commodores were followed by Florida and then traditional power Kentucky. To all of our friends in Lexington, we realize that Coach Calipari has done an excellent job in producing NBA draft picks. Our analysis covers the recruiting classes of 2002 to 2011, and thus Calipari only comes in at the tail-end of the sample. We are trying to look at long-term trends. It is quite likely that if we only looked at the Calipari era, Kentucky would be on top.
In the period of our study, 14.3% of 3-Star recruits at Vanderbilt were drafted into the NBA (The overall national draft rate for 3-Star recruits during this period was 3%). The Commodores only had one 5-Star recruit during the time-frame of our study, and that 5-Star recruit was drafted. Thus, Vandy was able to effectively convert the limited high-level of talent that it recruited, and it was able to transform lower-ranked talent into NBA material at a rate far above the national average.
During the time period of our study, Kentucky and Florida had 32% and 21% of their overall recruits drafted, respectively. This puts both schools in the top 10 in the country for overall percentage of recruits drafted. While Kentucky had 72% of their 5-Star recruits drafted (the national average was 51%), they did not do as well with lower-rated recruits as compared to Florida. Florida had 26% of their 4-Star recruits drafted (the national average was 13%), and also had 3-Star and non-rated recruits drafted during the time period of our study.
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