Early Entries: Who has been hit hardest?

Posted by rtmsf on April 29th, 2007

NBA Draft

With the early entry deadline now behind us, we got to thinking about what schools and conferences have been hit the hardest over the years in terms of losing guys early to the NBA draft. We already know, for example, that Florida is set to lose four underclassmen one year early (Noah, Horford, Green and Brewer), and that North Carolina may be preseason #1 next year thanks to its good fortune in keeping Lawson, Ellington and Hansbrough around for another year. We reviewed the early entry lists from 1976, the first year after the NBA eliminated its “hardship” application process, to 2007, and here is what we found:

Note: conference stats include all teams currently within that conference (e.g., Texas & Kansas includes stats from both the Big 12 and Big 8 eras).

Early Entries by Univ 1976-2007

Who has been hit the hardest? From our view the ACC and SEC have taken the brunt of early entry punishment over the past thirty years. Six SEC schools – LSU, Alabama, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, and Arkansas – have lost a combined 54 players to the NBA over the years – nearly ten per team. North Carolina, Duke, Maryland and Georgia Tech have been similarly afflicted, having lost 38 players early to the NBA over the same period.Other thoughts:

  • It’s no surprise to see the likes of UNC, UConn, UCLA, Kentucky and Duke at the top of the list because these schools traditionally have the best players, but Memphis, Alabama, Texas, and Depaul? It’s interesting to see these schools, all of which have had only middling success in basketball over this period, hanging with the big boys.

  • UNC, UConn, Georgia Tech, Michigan, Arizona, Ohio State and Indiana have through 2006 had every one of their early entries drafted by the NBA. This shows that these schools do a good job at gathering draft information and communicating it to their players before they take the plunge. Several other high-early entry schools, including LSU, UCLA, Duke, Texas, Georgia, Maryland and DePaul also do an excellent job at getting their players drafted (>80%) when they decide to come out.

  • Other schools such as Louisville and Seton Hall don’t necessarily do such a great job at communicating draft status to their players (<50% get drafted).

  • Georgia Tech, Ohio St. and Michigan St. players appear to leave the most number of years on the table when they decide to leave school for the NBA. In each case the average player left at least two eligible seasons in college behind. This could mean several things, but the most likely is that these players are simply ready earlier in their careers than other schools.

  • Illinois, UConn, Michigan, Florida, Kansas, Georgia and Louisville, among a few others, have done the best in this regard, with their players leaving only a little more than a year of eligibility remaining.

  • What the hell is Rhode Island doing on this list? Oh yeah, Jim Harrick.

  • To that end, Tark the Shark is responsible for nine early entries by himself – UNLV (4) and Fresno St. (5).

rtmsf (3774 Posts)


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