Monday, December 19, 2005

Recruiting by state

I decided to do a little research. I went back five years (not 10 as THEHOOSIER ordered, I hope y'all will forgive me) and as usual used the RSCI rankings. I decided to look at 3 groups of states.
1. States that are generally agreed to produce the most talent - California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Virginia
2. Indiana and the bordering states that make up our local recruiting stomping ground - Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan
3. Geek that I am, I also needed a control group that could be used as a comparison point. I decided to use states that are home to recruiting powerhouses that aren't considered great recruiting states - Kentucky, Kansas, Connecticut, Arizona

Then I simply counted the number of recruits from each state. Here's the results.

Top States
California 46
Texas 39
New York 34
Florida 25
Virginia 25

Regional States
Illinois 24
Michigan 24
Indiana 17
Ohio 11

Control States
Connecticut 6
Arizona 2
Kentucky 1
Kansas 0

As expected, California and Texas were the top two, which will come as no surprise to anyone who follows recruiting. New York, Florida, and Virginia all produced recruits in large numbers, again as expected.

Illinois and Michigan were basically on par with Florida and Virgina, and a bit behind New York. Indiana produced a healthy 17 recruits, with Ohio producing only 10 (which I suspect is a fairly low 5 year total for Ohio historically). Based on glancing at other states as I was going through the exercise, I'd guess Indiana is probably around 8th nationally in producing Top 100 recruits over the last five seasons -- besides the 7 states listed here, Georgia also produces a ton of recruits, but I didn't add them up. I didn't notice any other state that likely had more than 17.

The control states were predictably light in recruits - meaning UConn, UK, KU, and Univ of Arizona are grabbing a lot of recruits from other states.

So, let's add up the recruits from the 4 regional states - 76 Top 100 recuits over five seasons. That's a bunch of talent in our recruiting backyard. On the other hand, 17 Top 100 recruits in Indiana over five seasons is impressive, but it also suggests that Indiana should continue to invest time in out-of-state recruits.

But then I thought, "C'mon, Terry, you're a bigger geek than this! How can you totally out-geek yourself with this post?"

And then it came to me. Population! Here's the population of the states above, in millions, based on 2004 data. I also put their population rank in parantheses.

California 35.9 (1)
Texas 22.5 (2)
New York 19.2 (3)
Florida 17.4 (4)
Virginia 7.5 (12)
Illinois 12.7 (5)
Michigan 10.1 (8)
Indiana 6.2 (14)
Ohio 11.5 (7)
Connecticut 3.5 (29)
Arizona 5.7 (18)
Kentucky 4.1 (26)
Kansas 2.7 (33)

Now it's just a simple matter of asking - for the states listed, how many recruits do they produce per million people?

1. Virginia 3.33
2. Indiana 2.74
3. Michigan 2.38
4. Illinois 1.89
5. New York 1.77
6. Texas 1.73
7. Connecticut 1.71
8. Florida 1.44
9. California 1.28
10. Ohio 0.96
11. Arizona 0.35
12. Kentucky 0.24
13. Kansas 0.00

Okay, so this stat isn't really that meaningful- it's the raw number of recruits that matter, not percentage. But I still thought it was interesting. And it's worth noting that Virginia's numbers are really inflated due to the concentration of "basketball academies" in Virginia. It supports what we all already know - per capita, Hoosiers know how to play basketball. =)


C(arolyn) Ro said...

Hi. Merry Christmas! I'm totally crashing your blog party. I hope you don't mind...

Interesting data, but really for it to be meaningful, wouldn't you really have to look at all 50 states? Also, shouldn't the careers of each recruit be factored in? I mean, there have been several All-American players that have done well in college, then just tanked in the pros. I'd be interested to see how each state panned out in terms of kids not just being recruited, but also performing after said recruitment.

Aside from that, I wasn't that surprised to see a low # from Ohio, I mean aren't most kids in OH choosing football? I wonder how traditional football states i.e. OH, FL, etc. would do in Bball recruiting if they didn't have that competition for athletic talent.

PS what's your opinion of B. Knight?

Terry Bleizeffer said...

1. Crash away!

2. Regarding looking at all 50 states, consider this: If you look at the 9 top states I mentioned plus Georgia, those ten states account for 250 of the 500 Top 100 recruits. That's 50% of the recruits in ten states, then the other 40 states account for the other 50%. Suffice to say that most other states are not producing big numbers.

3. I think evaluating recruiting by looking at how they produced post-high school is not a good way to evaluate recruiting. It's a good way of evaulating programs, and teaching ability, etc., but everyone knows recruiting is always a crapshoot, so post-hoc analysis seems unfair to the coaches who are just doing their best to compete for the top recruits.

4. I don't watch the NBA, so I don't have much interest in how recruits end up doing in the NBA. Plus college recruiters don't care - they are recruiting for college. For example, Indiana "landed" Josh Smith, a top 5 recruit, and then he went straight to the NBA. Was he a good college recruit? No, he was a worthless college recruit.

5. Indiana has historically done very well in recruiting basketball players from Ohio. I agree it's more of a football state, but they've had their fair share of good players over the years.

6. I think it was time for Bob Knight to leave Indiana, but I think they completely bungled his firing, making it a much worse situation than it needed to be. Now that he's at Texas Tech, I have no interest in what he does. I've always been an Indiana fan first and a Bob Knight fan second, even when I loved him back in the day.

C Ro said...

I can see your points. As for #3, what about just measuring their success in college? Do all recruits do well?

Must be hard being an Indiana fan in North Carolina.

Terry Bleizeffer said...

Don't get me wrong. It's obviously what a recruit does once they enter the program that matters. Unranked guys can become all-B10 players, and highly touted recruits can be busts. My only point is that isn't a good way of measuring how well a coach is recruiting.

If Coach A brings in a #20 ranked recruit who turns out to be average and Coach B brings in a #150 ranked recruit who turns out to be really good, does that mean Coach B did a better job recruiting? No, it likely means Coach B wanted the #20 ranked player but couldn't get him and had to settle for the #150 guy. It might mean Coach B gets props for being a better developer of talent than Coach A - but even then I think it's more likely that he just got lucky.