NBA draft shows even superstars need backup plan

Jim Naveau -

According to research done by the NCAA, in a typical year just 1.1 percent of the players eligible to be selected in the NBA draft are drafted.

Those numbers are from a study of the 2016 draft when 44 American players and 16 international players were chosen.

To put it another way, nearly four times as many people were accepted to Harvard Medical School (235) than were drafted by NBA teams. The acceptance rate (3.3 percent) at Harvard was three times that of the NBA.

And yet another way to look at the difficulty of making NBA dreams come true is that even someone generally regarded as the best high school basketball player in his state probably has around a 30 percent chance of ever having a chance to wear the uniform of an NBA team.

Eight of the 23 players who have won Ohio’s Mr. Basketball award since it was created in 1988 have been picked in the NBA draft.

LeBron James, who was a three-time Ohio Mr. Basketball from 2001-2003, obviously leads the list of winners who went on to the NBA.

Jim Jackson, who won the first two Ohio Mr. Basketball plaques, played 14 seasons in the NBA.

The others who were drafted were: Jason Collier, O.J. Mayo, Jon Diebler, Jared Sullinger, Trey Burke and Duke’s Luke Kennard this season.

Indiana’s Mr. Basketball Award has had a bad reputation with Ohio State fans ever since 1992 winner Charles “Killer” Macon became known more for his shooting off the court than on it after signing with the Buckeyes.

But the Hoosier state has had more Mr. Basketballs selected in the NBA draft than Ohio. Twelve of the last 30 Indiana Mr. Basketball winners have been drafted, including Greg Oden, Eric Gordon, Tyler Zeller, Glen Robinson, Jared Jeffries and most recently Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan this year.

Indiana has also had some notable runners-up, like in 2000 when Zach Randolph finished second to Jeffries and in 2006 when Mike Conley Jr. was second behind his Lawrence North High School teammate Oden.

In Michigan, 11 of the last 30 Mr. Basketball winners have been taken in the NBA draft.

The most notable names in that group include Chris Webber, Robert Traylor, Shane Battier and Jason Richardson.

Maybe the biggest surprise from the states near Ohio, considering the success Kentucky and Louisville have had in NCAA tournaments, is that only three of Kentucky’s last 30 Mr. Basketball winners have been selected in the NBA draft.

And only one of those, Allan Houston, was a first-round draft choice.

It’s been said before, but this is just another reminder that NBA dreams are great if a player has a chance to pursue them, but even the best need a Plan B.

Jim Naveau

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.