Wednesday, March 18, 2015

College Basketball Recruiting Footprints

On the cusp of full-blown March Madness, I took a look at the recruiting footprints of each of the top 25 men's college basketball teams (at the end of the regular season) and worked out their Air Mile Index, as is my way. If you're new to it, the Air Mile Index (likely correlated with the assistant coaches' divorce rate) is a rating of how far, overall, a team had to reach to lure players to their program. FYI, an Air Mile Index of ten is mega local (#2-ranked Villanova, are you kidding me?!) while thirty is really far-reaching (Gonzaga!!).

Air Mile Index Maps

Here are the Air Mile Indexes of the top 25:


And here are all those players from above, in one map. Of course there are some obvious city clusters, but this is by no means a rubber stamp of population.

Weird. Check out California, for instance. Players come from two cities in California. The sprawling megalopolis population of the eastern seaboard? Eh. Population big-shots Florida and Texas? Eh eh. It's like wherever corn is grown, so are top-25 collegiate basketball players. When an assistant coach is flying around for recruits, they might as well just look down, and if they see this:

 ...go ahead and jump out right there.

Were you curious about those threads in some of the team maps that extend beyond the map to players' distant hometowns? You can check out all that nitty gritty at the team roster lists. Speaking of distant hometowns, The Air Mile Index takes the square root of a player's hometown distance, so outlier players like the ones below have an ever-decreasing impact on the overall team average. Here is a world map of those national and international hometowns:


I scraped the team rosters on to get player name, info, and hometowns. Then I Geocoded their hometown and their team venues. Then I used ArcMap to draw connections between those to-from coordinates, in a projection that preserves relative distance. Then I calculated their distances and whipped up the team Air Mile Indexes in Excel. Then I made maps that include these distances over a NASA satellite image.  I did it by exporting each layer as a PNG and composing them in Fireworks. Then I wrote about the maps here. Then I posted links to all this derived data:


No comments:

Post a Comment