What Are the Odds of Playing College Basketball? Here Are the Stats!

What Are the Odds of Playing College Basketball? Here Are the Stats!

A big part of being a basketball player is the amount of hours you put into skills training, lifting weights eating right and going to practice. All college basketball prospects want to play college at the highest level but have you ever stopped to consider what the odds of playing college basketball? Most players are motivated by the chance to earning a scholarship and have their college education paid for. Let’s take a look at what achieving this goal really entails.


Here you can access the most up-to-date college basketball openings from college coaches looking for players to fill roster spots

How many potential student athletes are there in the United States of America?

There are close to nearly 8 million students currently participating in high school athletics in the United States. Out of those 8 million, only 480,000 of those athletes will compete at NCAA schools. With this said, student athletes do tend to graduate at higher rates than their peers in the general student body, with these rates rising each year.

What are the chances of competing in athletics after graduating high school?

Based on estimated data from High School stats 2014/15 School Athletic Participation Survey, the probability of competing in athletics beyond high school is:

Overall % HS to NCAA =   3.5%

% HS to NCAA D1 =           1%

% HS to NCAA D2 =          1%

% HS to NCAA D3 =          1.4%

% HS to NAIA =                 0.8%

% HS to NJCAA =              1.1%

% HS to Other =                0.7%

What are the odds of Play College Basketball for High School Athletes

The following stats show the ratio of the odds a high school athlete goes on to college, to play at the different levels of collegiate basketball:

  • Any division at college:     17:1
  • Division 1 basketball:      99:1
  • Random basketball player to play NCAA D2 odds =     28:1
  • Same random basketball player to play NCAA D3 or NAIA =   8:1  (over 3x better chance!)

What are my Odds of playing college basketball?

When taking a closer look into basketball specifically, figuring out the correct numbers become more of a challenge because there many factors which contribute to computed odds that are shown to be artificially high.

For basketball student athletes, the odds of playing college basketball are likely to be MORE difficult than presented in the odds above.  The chances of a high school athlete competing at the NCAA D1 level are much lower than the same athlete’s chances of playing at the NCAA D3 or NAIA level. A student athlete is generally going to have a BETTER CHANCE at playing college sports at smaller schools than bigger schools. By the time a student athlete reaches college basketball, they have put the time in and worked their way up the athletic pyramid, moving onward and upwards to higher and higher levels of competition.

NOTE: Some student athletes know about these NCAA stats but knowing this does not alter their belief in themselves. The have an unshakable belief that they are undoubtedly going to make it. These basketball players believe that they are not a statistic and the stats do not apply to them.

As a student athlete going through the recruitment process you will find that the athletic departments of the schools you are interested in, do usually provide their prospects with the NCAA’s research and statistical information when recruiting them.

What does it take to play college basketball?

A true love for the game. At the end of the day, players that play for reasons other than the love of the game typically don’t last at the college level. Trying to play college basketball is a full time job and should be treated like that. Yes, it is going to be hard and it will take some form of self sacrifices like missing out on breaks, holidays etc. But, if you don’t have a love for the game how are you going to make it over the hurdles you may face?

Great work ethic. This is necessary in order to develop the skills that are vital to play college basketball at the highest level. Players with a serious basketball work ethic don’t mind giving up fun and recreational pursuits in order to achieve their goals. They are willing to pay the price and have the desire to train, eat right, work on their game, keep their studies up and get enough sleep!

Can you handle the pressure. Schools want to win games, and coaches jobs depend on that so if you get on the team some of that pressure gets passed onto you. Basketball practices are long, intense and very challenging. Players must earn playing time, and may sit the bench the entire game if they don’t perform. Playing time will not just be given.

Devotion to all things basketball. Watching basketball (either online or in person) can really help you develop your game and keep uping your level. Watching other high school games as well as college and professional games can help student athletes develop basketball IQ. Basketball IO is a deeper understanding and awareness of how the game is and should be played from your perspective as a player and the perspective of the team.

Are you the best. To develop the necessary basketball skills you will need to play college basketball takes a lot of years of practice. This includes attending camps, private training and/or playing AAU. Basketball players who have their sights set on playing college basketball reach a level where the skills are advanced enough to standout on the varsity high school basketball team.

Outstanding physical traits. Certain physical attributes are desired by every college basketball coach. They are what will make you stand out from the crowd. The taller, the better in most cases but, in some situations this can be made up for in other areas such as quickness, excellent ball handler etc. Student athletes need to be athletic, this means being able to really run, jump, stop, and slide in quick succession with excellent conditioning and endurance.


As you can see, it is very clear that becoming a high level college basketball player is not an easy feat. Not only must you be top in your sport but you also need to be a good student. Your grades and test scores are vital to your chances of securing a scholarship. Being real with yourself will make setting and achieving your goals a more positive and educating experience. Don’t let the odds of playing college basketball stop you from pursing your dreams!


Here you can access the most up-to-date college basketball openings from college coaches looking for players to fill roster spots