The top two picks in the 2019 NBA Draft — Duke’s Zion Williamson and Murray State’s Ja Morant — are South Carolina natives.
That must be an indication that the Palmetto State is a hotbed of basketball talent, right?
In the last five recruiting classes (2015-19), South Carolina is tied for 19th among all states with eight recruits ranked in the top 100 nationally in their respective recruiting classes, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
So which states really are the most common producers of college basketball talent?
In an effort to quantify which states produce the most – and best – high school basketball prospects, and which schools capitalize on the most fertile recruiting ground, we went through the last five recruiting classes and analyzed the nationally ranked prospects from every state (plus the District of Columbia) according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
California led the way with 256 nationally ranked recruits, while Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota and South Dakota didn’t produce a single nationally ranked basketball recruit during that span, according to 247Sports.
Prospects who attended a prep school are classified by the state in which their prep school is located, not the state in which their hometown is located.
Below is a complete breakdown of all 50 states, plus D.C., in descending order of which states have produced the best Division I-bound high school basketball talent in the last half decade.
We’ve broken down the states into three groups: 1) states with more than 60 nationally ranked recruits combined in the last five recruiting classes, 2) states with 10 to 55 nationally ranked recruits combined across the last five recruiting classes, and 3) states with fewer than 10 nationally ranked recruits in the last five recruiting classes.
The first table shows the states that have had at least 70 nationally ranked recruits in the last five recruiting classes, along with how many of those recruits were ranked in the top 100 and top 10 of their respective recruiting classes.
The states are listed in descending order of the number of top-100 recruits they’ve produced in the last five years.
The last column, “Top Recruiting School,” lists the school (not necessarily located in the respective state) that has signed the highest number of the state’s top-10 prospects over the last five recruiting cycles — a way to measure which schools have successfully recruited a state in terms of both the quantity and quality of recruits.
|State||Number of Nationally Ranked Recruits||Number of Top-100 Recruits||Number of Top-10 National Recruits||Top Recruiting School|
|North Carolina||87||17||3||NC State|
|New York||62||14||1||St. John’s|
The composition of schools that recruit in a particular state varies considerably both in number and stature. For example, in the state of California, UCLA landed 11 of the state’s top-10 recruits over the last five years. Major programs like USC, Arizona and Duke have also heavily recruited in California.
However, in a state like Maryland, 37 different schools have landed one of the state’s top-10 players during the last five seasons.
The following table shows the states that have produced between 10 and 55 nationally ranked recruits over the last five recruiting cycles, meaning there are typically between three and 10 prospects from that state on an annual basis.
The states are listed in descending order of the number of top-100 recruits they’ve produced.
|State||Number of Nationally Ranked Recruits||Number of Top-100 Recruits||Number of Top-10 National Recruits|
The third and final table below shows the states that have produced fewer than 10 nationally ranked high school prospects over the last five recruiting classes, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
The states are listed in descending order of the number of nationally ranked recruits that they’ve had combined across the last five recruiting cycles.
|State||Number of Nationally Ranked Recruits||Number of Top-100 Recruits|
Now that we’ve established which states produce the most and the best college basketball prospects in the country, which schools have done the best at landing the top players in the most talent-rich states?
Here’s a closer look at the schools that have most often won high-profile recruiting battles in Florida, California and Texas. In our analysis, we examined the top-10 recruits from those aforementioned states from each of the last five years.
The University of Florida has landed a national-best six players from the state of Florida who ranked among the state’s top-10 prospects in one of the last five recruiting classes. As shown in the first table above, Florida is the most talent-rich state in the country with anywhere from eight to 14 top-100 recruits annually and often one or two players who rank in the top 10 of their recruiting class.
For a large state with that many DI college basketball programs, it’s impossible for one school to “lock down its borders” and have a monopoly on every elite recruit in the state, but the Gators have done well at recruiting Floridians.
From the 2015 recruiting class to the present, Florida has signed these top-10, in-state prospects:
- F Keith Stone, No. 82 (nationally) in 2015
- G Eric Hester, No. 140 in 2016
- F Isaiah Stokes, No. 123 in 2017
- G Andrew Nembhard, No. 23 in 2018
- G Tre Mann, No. 20 in 2019
- C Omar Payne, No. 43 in 2019
In total, 28 different programs have landed at least one of the state’s top-10 recruits in the last five recruiting classes. LSU is second behind Florida with four commits from the Sunshine State, while Florida State, Duke and North Carolina have enrolled three apiece.
Memphis could prove to be an annual threat to poach the state of Florida’s top talent after Tigers Head Coach Penny Hardaway signed forward Precious Achiuwa (No. 14 nationally, No. 3 in the state) and guard Lester Quinones (No. 56 nationally, No. 10 in the state) as part of Memphis’ top-ranked 2019 recruiting class.
Crosstown rivals UCLA and USC have done the best job at recruiting the state of California during the last five recruiting classes as the Bruins have signed 11 of the state’s top-10, in-state prospects since the 2015 recruiting class, while the Trojans have landed seven.
Here’s an in-depth look at UCLA and USC’s recruiting hauls of prospects who ranked among the top 10 in the state:
- G Aaron Holiday, No. 54 (nationally) in 2015
- G Lonzo Ball, No. 3 in 2016
- F T.J. Leaf, No. 18 in 2016
- C Ike Anigbogu, No. 46 in 2016
- G Jaylen Hands, No. 22 in 2017
- F Cody Riley, No. 48 in 2017
- F Jalen Hill, No. 65 in 2017
- F Shareef O’Neal, No. 41 in 2018
- G Jules Bernard, No. 55 in 2018
- G David Singleton, No. 85 in 2018
- F Jaime Jaquez, No. 83 in 2019
- F Chimezie Metu, No. 38 (nationally) in 2015
- F Bennie Boatwright, No. 63 in 2015
- G Jonah Mathews, No. 79 in 2016
- G De’Anthony Melton, No. 134 in 2016
- F Isaiah Mobley, No. 19 in 2019
- C Onyeka Okongwu, No. 24 in 2019
- F Max Agbonkpolo, No. 55 in 2019
Similarly to the state of Florida, the top-recruiting school in Texas is the one that shares the state’s name.
The University of Texas has signed nine top-10, in-state prospects over the last five recruiting cycles.
Texas A&M is second with six, then TCU and Kentucky are tied for third with four apiece.
Take a look at the top-10, in-state recruits that Texas has signed from the 2015 class to present:
- G Kerwin Roach, No. 45 (nationally) in 2015
- F Jarrett Allen, No. 17 in 2016
- G Andrew Jones, No. 29 in 2016
- G Jacob Young, No. 106 in 2016
- F Royce Hamm, No. 90 in 2017
- G Jase Febres, No. 91 in 2017
- F Gerald Liddell, No. 49 in 2018
- C Will Baker, No. 34 in 2019
- G Donovan Williams, No. 69 in 2019