What Are the Odds of Competing in Men’s Professional Basketball?

When we survey NCAA student-athletes about their expectations of moving on to professional athletics careers, the results indicate surprising confidence in that possibility. The reality is that very few go pro.

On average only 1% of high school participants go on to play DI-DIII college basketball


Estimated probability of competing in men’s college basketball

High School Participants NCAA Participants Overall % HS to NCAA % HS to NCAA Division I % HS to NCAA Division II % HS to NCAA Division III
551,373 18,816 3.4% 1.0% 1.0% 1.4%


Sources: High school figures from the 2017-18 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations; data from club teams not included. College numbers from the NCAA 2017-18 Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates Report.


Estimated probability of competing in men’s professional basketball

NCAA Participants Approximate # Draft Eligible # Draft Picks # NCAA Drafted % NCAA to Major Pro % NCAA to Total Pro
18,816 4,181 60 52 1.2% 21.3%
  • NBA draft data from 2018.  There were 60 draft slots in that year and 52 went to NCAA players (seven others chosen were international players not attending U.S. colleges and one spent a season at a prep school).  Percentage NCAA to Major Pro calculated using the 52 NCAA selections. Since 2008, 11 international players have been drafted on average each year.


  • On 2018-19 opening day NBA rosters, former NCAA Division I players filled 83% of roster spots.  Two NBA players attended non-Division I colleges.  (Source: Jim Sukup, College Basketball News).


  • Data on other professional opportunities in men’s basketball were collected by NCAA staff with the assistance of Marek Wojtera from eurobasket.com.  Tracking 2018-19 international opportunities for the 2018 draft cohort, it was determined that an additional 839 former NCAA student-athletes played internationally, in the G-League or in the NBA as undrafted players (606 from Division I, 194 from Division II and 39 from Division III) after leaving college; this includes international players who attended NCAA institutions.  These numbers were combined with the NBA draftees to calculate an approximate NCAA to Total Professional opportunities figure (calculated as [52 + 839] / 4,181 = 21%).


  • We estimate that 4.2% of draft-eligible Division I players were chosen in the 2018 NBA draft (52 / 1,230).  However, in total, 53% of draft-eligible Division I players competed professionally (NBA, G-League or internationally) in their first year after leaving college (calculated as [52 + 606] / 1,230). Approximately 17% of draft-eligible players from the five Division I conferences with autonomous governance (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) were drafted by the NBA in 2018 (38 / 228), while 80% played professionally somewhere in their first year post-college (calculated as [38 + 144] / 228).


If you have the ambition to elevate your basketball career we can help.  EliteHoops located in Dallas, TX helps youth basketball players become the best they can be both on and off the court.

Fundamentals: Layup Footwork (no basketball)

Ready position to right hand layup, jumpin goff left foot and driving up the knee
Learn the proper fundamental footwork and mechanics for shooting a layup.

Goal: Master the fundamental footwork and mechanics for properly shooting a layup.

What You Do:

  1. Start in the ‘ready’ (triple-threat) position with no basketball.
  2. Right-hand layup: On coach’s signal, take a step with the right foot, then step with the left foot
  3. Drive your right knee up and jump off the left foot, making a shooting motion with your right hand
  4. Repeat until half court, then turn around and come back doing left-hand layup footwork
  5. Left-hand layup: On the coach’s signal, take a step with the left foot, then step with the right foot.
  6. Drive your left knee up and jump off the right foot, making shooting motions with your left hand.
  7. Repeat until baseline
Left hand and right-hand layup footwork.

10 Tips for Sports Parents


1. Cheer for all players (even those on the other team!). Leave the coaching to the coaches.

2. Write down your goals for your child for this season. Talk to your child about these goals, as they likely are not the same as his or hers!

3. When setting goals with your child, remember to focus on both effort and outcome related goals. For example, a great effort goal in basketball is praising a player for their consistent effort to box out.

4. There are a lot of basketball organizations out there. Take the time to evaluate options for where your child might play. Talk to other parents whose kids have played in those organizations.

5. Resist the temptation to critique your child on the way home. Ask if your child wants to talk about the game. If the answer is “no,” respect that.

6. When your child is ready to talk…listen and be engaged! Reinforce your child’s self-worth with statements, like “I know you are disappointed with the loss, but one thing I like about you is you’re the type of person who bounces back and tries hard the next time.”

7. After observing practice or a game, be ready with truthful and specific praise. This might sound like, “I really liked how you hustled after the loose ball” or “I was proud of how you helped your teammate up after the foul.”

8. If issues arise, such as your child wanting more playing time, encourage your child to address this with the coach directly. “What can I do to get better and earn more playing time?”

9. Studies of world-class athletes in basketball and other team ball sports have demonstrated that top performing athletes often delayed single-sport specialization until age 16 or later. Thus, delaying specialization until this age range is recommended. Specialization in basketball prior to age 14 is discouraged.

10. At every possible turn, let your children know that you love them unconditionally, regardless of their athletic performance. After a game or practice instead of immediately telling your child everything they did wrong…. say these simple words, “I love watching you play.”  


Article via jr.nba.com

The Best Ball Handling Drills for Youth Basketball Players

Two-Ball Dribbling

Over the last 7 years is the deficiency of ball handling skills in many youth basketball players.  A vast majority of youth players can dribble with their dominant (strong) hand, but not with their weak (off) hand. youth basketball performing ball handling drills

This ball handling drill forces kids to do two things:

1. Utilize the off (weak) hand

2. Challenge/Develop their coordination

If a player can dribble two basketballs at the same time, he/she will definitely be able to dribble one very well with either hand.

Intermediate: On the Move Two Ball Dribbling Drill – Same as stationary but now player moves with the ball. Begin walking in a straight line to half court and back using pounds or pistons.

Once mastered, increase the pace and begin to jog.  Only progress to full-speed ball handling when ready.  After the player can do this with ease, begin attempting the crossover, between the legs, and behind the back in a straight line.

ELITE: Players progress to a zig-zag pattern on the move with two basketball. Make sure to plant that outside foot and explode when changing directions. Players can continue to pick up the pace as their skills increase to challenge themselves.

Coaches Tip:   This ball handling drill is not meant to be performed at game speed. The focus should be on form and improvement. 


Want to Develop a Mentally Tough Young Athlete ?

One of the best compliments an athlete can receive is the label “mentally tough.” Mental toughness isn’t a quality people are born with.  Rather, it includes a set of learned attitudes and ways of viewing competitive situations in productive ways.

Coaches and parents are in an ideal position to help young athletes develop a healthy philosophy about achievement and an ability to tolerate setbacks when they occur.   Here are some specific attitudes that we communicate with our young athletes at JENKINS ELITE HOOPS, that you can use.

1. Sports should be fun.

Emphasize that sports and other activities in life are enjoyable for playing, whether you win or lose.

Athletes should be participating, first and foremost, to have fun.

Try to promote the enjoyment of many activities in and of themselves so that winning is not a condition for enjoyment.

2. Anything worth achieving is rarely easy.

It’s important to recognize that the process of achieving mastery is a long and difficult road. According to Vince Lombardi, the famous coach of the Green Bay Packers, “The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success.”

Becoming the best athlete one can be is not an achievement to be had merely for the asking.

Practice, practice, and still more practice is needed to master any sport.

3. Mistakes are a necessary part of learning anything well.

Very simply, if we don’t make mistakes, we probably won’t learn. John Wooden, legendary UCLA basketball coach, referred to mistakes as the “stepping stones to achievement.”

Emphasize to athletes that mistakes, rather than being things to avoid at all costs, are opportunities for performance enhancement. They give us the information we need to adjust and improve.

The only true mistake is a failure to learn from our experiences.

4. The effort is what counts.

Emphasize and praise effort as well as the outcome.

Communicate repeatedly to young athletes that all you ask is that they give total effort.

Through your actions and your words, show youngsters that they are just as important to you when trying and losing as when winning. If the maximum effort is acceptable to you, it can also become acceptable to young athletes.

Above all, don’t punish or withdraw love and approval when kids don’t perform up to expectations. Such punishment builds fear of failure.

5. Don’t confuse worth with performance.

Help youngsters to distinguish what they do from what they are. A valuable lesson for children to learn is that they should never identify their worth as people with any particular part of themselves, such as their competence in sports, their school performance, or their physical appearance.

You can further this process by demonstrating your own ability to accept kids unconditionally as people, even when you are communicating that you don’t approve of some behavior.

Show children that you can gracefully accept your own mistakes and failures. Show and tell them that as a fallible human being, you can accept the fact that, despite your best efforts, you are going to occasionally bungle things.

If children can learn to accept and like themselves, they will not unduly require the approval of others in order to feel worthwhile.

6. Pressure is something you put on yourself.

Help young athletes to see competitive situations as exciting self-challenges rather than as threats.

Emphasize that people can choose how to think about pressure situations.

The above attitudes will help to develop an outlook on the pressure that transforms it into a challenge and an opportunity to test themselves and to achieve something worthwhile.

7.   Respect Your Competition.

Some coaches and athletes think that proper motivation comes from anger or hatred for the opponent. That’s totally wrong!

Sports should promote sportsmanship and an appreciation that opponents, far from being the “enemy,” are fellow athletes who make it possible to compete.

Hatred can only breed stress and fear. In terms of emotional arousal, fear and anger are indistinguishable patterns of physiologic responses. Thus, the arousal of anger can become the arousal of fear if things begin to go badly during competition.