Examining a young athlete’s chances of playing pro basketball

March 25, 2017 / Winning Hoops
Parents might think their child has a great shot to make the pros, but statistics suggest otherwise.

Figures from the NCAA show just how few players make it to the NBA. During the 2015-16 school year, there were 546,428 high school boys basketball players nationwide. Of those, only 18,684 (3.4%) moved on to play Division I, II or III basketball — and they’re not all playing with scholarships.

Coaches have complained for years about overbearing parents, and one of the biggest motivators for parents is getting their child to play at the next level. Playing college basketball is hard enough, but making the pros is incredibly rare considering the number of young athletes playing the game.

Of those playing college basketball, less than one-quarter become draft eligible, and in 2016 only 44 college players were chosen during the NBA Draft. There are 60 picks in the draft, but teams can also choose from a pool of international players.

The math: Just one in every 12,419 high school boys basketball players will make it to the NBA — that’s 0.0081%. The numbers are similar in girls basketball, but participation at the high school level is lower. Nationwide, 429,380 girls play prep basketball with 16,593 (3.9%) advancing to the college level and 35 players total moving on to play professionally.

This isn’t meant to discourage high school athletes from pursuing scholarships, but it is intended to help keeps parents’ expectations in check. Hounding a coach for more playing time or exposure isn’t going to score any points in the eyes of recruiters. In fact, it has the opposite effect.

Here are a few resources we offer to help coaches work with difficult parents:

Click here see more NCAA statistics.