Turns out Maryland really is home to most of the top basketball talent.
The state of Maryland has always been a hotbed for high school basketball talent.
Just how much of a hotbed? Between 2013 and 2016, 5 percent of the state’s boys’ basketball players were recruited to play Division I basketball — the highest level of college basketball — according to data from the NCAA research center.
Maryland had the highest proportion of any state.
This is not necessarily a surprise to basketball savants. For years they have been putting together the ultimate all-Maryland NBA team.
Those with Maryland ties include current pro basketball stars Kevin Durant (born in the District but went to Montrose Christian), Carmelo Anthony (born in New York but went to high school in Baltimore), Rudy Gay (Baltimore), Victor Oladipo (Silver Spring), Roy Hibbert (Rockville) and Jeff Green (Cheverly).
That group may have company soon. University of Washington freshman Markelle Fultz, a point guard who is a DeMatha graduate, is the odds-on bet to be one of the top two picks in the NBA draft in June.
Maryland’s closest competitors for producing Division I talent are North Carolina at 3.6 percent and Georgia and Nevada, both at 3 percent.
Virginia is fifth among states for exporting boys recruits at 2.8 percent.
The numbers hold up for the girls’ game as well; 4.5 percent of Maryland girls players between 2013 and 2016 went on to play Division I basketball.
That, too, was the highest of any state. Tennessee finished second (4.1 percent).
“I think our area does a good job of balancing the competitive atmosphere of how sports has gotten with teaching,” Rock Creek Christian boys’ Coach Christian Cole said.
Coaches in Maryland, both at the high school and Amateur Athletic Union levels, have become so adept and sending players to the college ranks, they’ve settled into a groove on how to prepare players for the atmosphere there on and off the court.
Five percent is the largest proportion of players from around the country, but it still means 95 percent of Maryland high school basketball players will at best play Division II hoops.
And when it comes time to pick a college, Cole said he tries to get players to momentarily set basketball aside.
“They need to pick a school,” Cole said. “They need to be happy without basketball.”