Graduation Time: Basketball More Valuable Than Bachelor's Degree?

Do the student-athletes graduating this spring after playing in any of the 351 Division 1 basketball programs have a better chance finding employment in a job related to their major or on a professional basketball team?

There are only about 48 job openings in the NBA each year for almost 1,000 students who finish playing Division 1 basketball. Bo McCalebb (pictured driving past Russia's Andrei Kirilenko) may be the best of 5,404 former players for American colleges drawing a paycheck in a foreign pro league--as he went from being one of the top 50 Value Add college players to earning $2 million a year in Macedonia (ranked just 38th on the Top 100 pro basketball destinations on the table below). 

Many top players can earn six figures playing in France, Spain, Turkey or other top leagues, or take closer to $20,000 to stay in the D-League and have a better chance to get a quick call-up for an injured NBA player. If every D1 player wanted to continue as a pro, it is likely about half of them could land a job in one of the countries listed below. 

This means players could actually have a better employment rate as players in the year after graduation than as job seekers in their major. The Atlantic reported two years ago that 53 percent of first year college grads could not get a job in their major (see Atlantic article here). D1 players also do not leave college with the debt of the average college grad--which is $35,000 according to CNN

The following table ranks destinations for college players who want to go pro based on five factors; 1) the level of pro play in the country, 2) how many Americans earn pay checks in pro leagues there according to US Basketball database here, 3) how many players NET $1 million or more playing in that country, 4) the country's FIBA ranking, and finally 5) how well players from that country performed in the NBA this year based on the Breitbart Sports valuation of players outlined in this post. A more detailed explanation appears below the ranking of the top 100 pro basketball destinations.

Pro Rnk Country Level of Pro Leagues American pros there Players net $1m FIBA rnk (1st=100) NBA Player Contributions
Total
1 NBA/USA 100 100 277 100 8196 500
2 Spain 95 179 8 99 77 411
3 Turkey 76 97 10 94 53 370
4 Italy 60 195 7 80 57 332
5 France 48 250 0 93 90 331
6 D-League/USA 80 180 1 50 95 330
7 Russia 90 5 15 95 60 325
8 Greece 70 72 5 96 15 278
9 Germany 44 600 1 87 38 274
10 Brazil 20 65 0 91 85 261
11 Israel 57 167 0 64 0 221
12 Lithuania 48 37 0 97 36 218
13 Australian 25 241 0 92 0 217
14 Angola 10 102 0 86 0 196
15 Argentina 31 0 0 98 66 195
16 Puerto Rico 10 105 0 84 0 194
17 Great Britain 10 153 0 79 0 189
18 Mexico 10 282 0 77 0 187
19 Canada 10 238 0 76 0 186
20 Japan 10 192 0 66 0 176
21 Venezuela 9 90 0 73 0 172
22 Finland 10 124 0 62 0 172
23 Slovenia 15 12 0 88 49 164
24 China 29 42 0 89 0 160
25 South Korea 8 79 0 69 0 156
26 Dominican Republic 7 71 0 75 0 153
27 Uruguay 7 72 0 74 0 153
28 Philippines 25 61 0 67 0 153
29 Serbia 26 7 0 90 25 148
30 Czech Republic 38 36 0 52 17 143
31 Ukraine 29 40 0 56 15 140
32 Poland 7 65 0 61 0 133
33 New Zealand 5 45 0 82 0 132
34 Belgium 7 74 0 51 0 132
35 Lebanon 5 48 0 72 0 125
36 Sweden 15 53 0 37 18 123
37 Portugal  6 63 0 50 0 119
38 Macedonia 15 18 1 68 16 117
39 Qatar 5 48 0 59 0 112
40 Croatia 1 11 0 85 0 97
41 Bosnia and Herzegovina 15 11 0 43 27 96
42 Tunisia 1 14 0 78 0 93
43 Iran 1 10 0 81 0 92
44 Columbia 9 80 0 0 0 89
45 Luxenbourg 8 79 0 0 0 87
46 Congo 15 0 0 24 42 86
47 Nigeria 0 2 0 83 0 85
48 Latvia 2 19 0 63 0 84
49 Bulgaria 3 28 0 53 0 84
50 Georgia (Europe) 15 9 0 48 8 80
51 Jordan 1 7 0 71 0 79
52 Ivory Coast 1 0 0 65 0 78
53 Switzerland 7 71 0 0 0 78
54 Morocco 3 32 0 42 0 77
55 Montenegro 15 9 0 26 25 75
56 Iceland 7 68 0 0 0 75
57 Romania 7 65 0 0 0 72
58 Panama 0 0 0 70 0 70
59 Egypt 1 10 0 55 0 66
60 Kazakhstan 2 15 0 49 0 66
61 Senegal 0 0 0 60 0 60
62 Taiwan 0 3 0 57 0 60
63 Holland 5 54 0 0 0 59
64 Cameroon 0 0 0 58 0 58
65 Denmark 5 53 0 0 0 58
66 Kuwait 2 24 0 31 0 57
67 Cyprus 5 52 0 0 0 57
68 Kosovo 5 51 0 0 0 56
69 Paraguay 0 0 0 54 0 54
70 Saudi Arabia 3 25 0 25 0 53
71 Hungary 5 46 0 0 0 51
72 Slovakia 5 45 0 0 0 50
73 Cape Verde 0 0 0 47 0 47
74 Central African Republic 0 0 0 46 0 46
75 United Arab Emiratess 1 9 0 36 0 46
76 Bahrain 2 16 0 28 0 46
77 Jamaica 0 0 0 45 0 45
78 Cuba 0 0 0 44 0 44
79 Libya 2 18 0 23 0 43
80 Chile 4 39 0 0 0 43
81 Virgin Islands 0 0 0 41 0 41
82 Rwanda 0 3 0 38 0 41
83 India 0 0 0 40 0 40
84 Malaysia 1 9 0 30 0 40
85 Mali 0 0 0 39 0 39
86 Mozambique 0 2 0 35 0 37
87 Indonesia 0 3 0 33 0 36
88 Syria 0 1 0 34 0 35
89 Algeria 1 11 0 21 0 33
90 Hong Kong 0 0 0 32 0 32
91 Uzbekistan 0 0 0 29 0 29
92 South Africa 0 0 0 27 0 27
93 Norway 2 24 0 0 0 26
94 Estonia 2 21 0 0 0 23
95 Thailand 0 0 0 22 0 22
96 Madagascar 0 0 0 20 0 20
97 Costa Rica 2 18 0 0 0 20
98 Sri Lanka 0 0 0 19 0 19
99 Chad 0 0 0 18 0 18
100 Peru 2 16 0 0 0 18

Key to rankings:

1) Level of Pro Leagues--Breitbart Sports rated the level of play of pro leagues in different countries, led by Spain ("95") and Russia ("90").

2) American pros there--Next we gave each country (and the D-League) a point for each American player currently on contract with a cap of 100 points (e.g. 179 former players from American colleges now play in Spain which gives them 100 points in our rankings).

3) While 277 NBA players net $1 million a year after taxes, so do 15 players for Russian pro teams and 10 for pro teams in Turkey. We give each country five points for each player who makes $1 million net.

4) We then gave teams up to 100 points (NBA/USA) for being 1st in the FIBA rankings, 99 for second (Spain), etc.

5) Finally, we gave each country a point for how well each player from their country played in the NBA this season based on a value put on all 492 NBA players by Breitbart Sports in this post.

Each of these five categories gives a country (and the D-League) up to 100 points, thus grading them against the NBA's perfect 500 rating. 


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