BYU elite at turning players into NBA prospects

USA TODAY Sports

According to research at Emory University, BYU is one of the best schools in the country at turning recruits into draftable, NBA prospects.

A recent story out of Emory University's Sports Marketing Analytics group ranked BYU 2nd among non-BCS conference schools at transforming high school talent into NBA draft picks. They looked at recruiting classes from 2002 to 2011. Nevada was top among non-BCS schools. Truth be told, Nevada and BYU had the highest rates of any schools in the country.

* Chart courtesy of Emory Sports Marketing Analytics. For a full explanation of their system and the complete rankings, look here.

Of course, this is not apples to apples. In the time period covered, BYU only had one 4+ star recruit according to Rivals.com (DeMarcus Harrison); Duke averages nearly 3 of those recruits every single season. What the BYU coaching staff has excelled at is taking 3-star recruits (like Jimmer Fredette and Trent Plaisted) and turning them into NBA prospects. Or in one extreme case, they took a JC transfer (Rafael Araujo) and groomed him to be a lottery pick.

Why is this important? Well, this is the opposite of the criticism Bronco Mendenhall has endured from some observers about his inability to turn players into NFL prospects. That's mainly been put to bed with the early selection of Ziggy Ansah in the NFL draft, and the draft prospects of Kyle Van Noy and Cody Hoffman in 2014.

As the line goes, recruiting should be helped if you can show high school prospects that their professional dreams are more likely at your school than another. Not that Dave Rose is going to start handing out analytical reports to parents and high school athletes, but the point Rose could (and maybe does) make is that BYU has been a well above average place for 3-star recruits to turn into NBA draftees. It's not just Jimmer either. Trent Plaisted was drafted, Araujo was a nobody, and Travis Hansen was drafted as well if you go back a little further. Brandon Davies made an NBA summer team, and Tyler Haws is likely to get drafted and is playing for team USA.

BYU is not, in most cases, in the business of recruiting the elite hoops talent. This incoming class (which includes two 4-star recruits in Nick Emery and Eric Mika) is a huge exception to that. But what if Rose can get the best 3-star talent, in part by using the NBA draft success of guys like Jimmer and Plaisted as a recruiting pitch?

I don't think this report or these data points are likely to be the deciding factor in a recruit's decision, or will bring in 5-star talent; as Jabari Parker recently showed the world, BYU is not in the elite schools. But Rose (and Steve Cleveland before him) have shown they can create an experience that seems to enhance a recruit's chances to make an NBA roster.

Not many 3-star recruits make the NBA, and BYU is one of the best places to make that happen.

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