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NBA Power Rankings: Counting Down the 25 Most Talent-Rich States in America

Sean MerrimanCorrespondent IMarch 9, 2011

NBA Power Rankings: Counting Down the 25 Most Talent-Rich States in America

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    Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard—these are some of the top names in the NBA today, guys who light up the scoreboard night in and night out. We all know who they play for now and where they have been throughout their NBA careers.

    But have you ever wondered, where do all of these NBA superstars come from? Where were these guys brought up and where did they play their high school basketball?

    Let's dive into this question and take a look at the most talent-rich states in America.

    To figure this out, we will take two main factors into consideration.

    No. 1: How many current NBA players come from that state?

    No. 2: How many of those current NBA players are considered superstars at this point in their careers?

    So for all you fans from the state of Indiana, do not get all cranky on me because you have great college talent that doesn't transition to the NBA.

    With that said, let's dive right in and get this party started. This should be fun.

25. Tennessee

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    Top NBA players: Shawn Marion and Corey Brewer

    Tennessee is not a state that exactly has rich NBA talent coming from it, but when your other choices consist of states like Utah, North Dakota and Minnesota, Tennessee is going to hold down the No. 25 spot on this list.

    Marion and Brewer are the top current players to come from Tennessee. Other current NBA players include guys like Terrico White, Brandan Wright and Shawne Williams. With that said, you can see why this state didn't open any eyes.

    If only it was the 1990s and Penny Hardway was still in the league. Maybe that could have jumped Tennessee a few spots.

24. Arkansas

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    Top NBA players: Joe Johnson and Derek Fisher

    Not a bad one-two punch of guards coming out of the state of Arkansas. Only problem is that after those two, there really isn't anyone else.

    Johnson played his college ball at Arkansas, so he was a huge name growing up coming out of this state.

    Guys like Scottie Pippen and Corliss Williamson came from the land of mountains and valleys as well, but again, this isn't the mid-1990s.

23. Arizona

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    Top NBA players: Mike Bibby and Richard Jefferson

    The state of Arizona produced 10 total NBA basketball players. But of those 10, there were some good ones, which is why they come in here at No. 23.

    Joining Bibby and Jefferson from the state of Arizona are Channing Frye and Jerryd Bayless, all four of whom played their college basketball at the University of Arizona.

    Not a huge pipeline here for basketball, but not too bad for some of the big names that have come out of this state.

22. Wisconsin

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    Top NBA players: Caron Butler and Devin Harris

    For a state that most people do not associate with rich basketball talent, those are two good players to come out of the state of Wisconsin.

    Joining Butler and Harris as other current NBA players from Wisconsin are Carl Landry, Marcus Landry and Steve Novak.

    It is somewhat surprising that Harris was the only one of those players to actually go to school in the same state that he grew up in. With the rich history that the University of Wisconsin has in college basketball, you would figure that the state would produce more players. But hey, No. 22 on this list isn't so bad, right?

21. West Virginia

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    Top NBA players: Deron Williams and O.J. Mayo

    How would you like to take those two West Virgina natives on in a two-on-two basketball game? If this was a list of the top two players, West Virginia would surely be higher up on this list, but after Williams and Mayo, there really isn't much else to work with.

    Patrick Patterson, Jason Williams and Bill Walker are a few of the other guys from this state who are currently playing in the NBA.

    West Virginia isn't a large state by any means, but it is one of those smaller states that has produced some top talents over the years.

20. Oklahoma

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    Joe Murphy/Getty Images

    Top NBA players: Blake Griffin and Xavier Henry

    So Xavier Henry is kind of a stretch for a top NBA player, maybe in a few years. But Blake Griffin is an absolute stud in the NBA and him alone makes Oklahoma worthy of making this list.

    When you look at the NBA players to come out of the state of Oklahoma other than Griffin, the names don't exactly jump out at you, but there are a lot of them.

    Guys like Shelden Williams, Darnell Jackson and Ekpe Udoh are all from the state of Oklahoma.

    It's fair to say that we're not going with the quantity-over-quality measure for this one.

19. Alabama

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    Top NBA players: DeMarcus Cousins and Ben Wallace

    DeMarcus Cousins was one of the top high school basketball players of the past decade, and he grew up playing his schoolyard ball right on the playgrounds in Mobile, Alabama.

    Outside of Cousins and Big Ben, current NBA players from the state of Alabama include Jamario Moon, Eric Bledsoe and D.J. White.

    Alabama produced some legends of the game in the past with the likes of Charles Barkley, Derrick Coleman, Chuck Person and Robert Horry.

    But this list is focused on the present, and outside of Cousins, the crew of current ballers from Alabama isn't too much to write home about. But it's just enough to get a spot in the top 20.

18. Louisiana

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    Top NBA players: Danny Granger and D.J. Augustin

    It is no secret that there is an abundance of talent down in the South and Louisiana has a full list of NBA players that hail from down there.

    In addition to Granger and Augustin, players like Paul Millsap, Greg Monroe and Von Wafer are all from the Pelican State.

    This is another one of those areas that produced a ton of former NBA greats. If Karl Malone, Joe Dumars and Robert Parrish were still in their primes, this state certainly would have taken a leap or two up on this list.

17. Virginia

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    Top NBA players: Grant Hill and Andray Blatche

    Sorry Virginians, but if a player went to high school at Oak Hill Academy, that does not mean that they are from and grew up in Virginia. If that was the case, Virginia would be among the top states on this list.

    With that said, there are some good players to come from the state of Virgina. Over 50 current and former NBA players came from Virginia. In addition to Hill and Blatche, some other current NBA players include Ed Davis, Gerald Henderson and Joe Smith.

    Not a great crew of current players, but good enough to crack the top 20.

16. Mississippi

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    Top NBA players: Monta Ellis and Al Jefferson

    Mississippi was not always looked at as a rich basketball state, but as of late, the Magnolia State has been producing some big-time talent.

    Ellis and Jefferson are both All-Star quality NBA players. Add Mo Williams, Antonio McDyess and Erik Dampier to that list and you have a nice starting lineup from the state of Mississippi.

    If Mississippi's talent continues to grow, maybe we will see this state move up on this list in years to come.

15. Washington

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    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Top NBA players: Brandon Roy and Jason Terry

    This was surprising to see how many current NBA players come from the state of Washington.

    A few other current NBA players joining Roy and Terry on the list are: Aaron Brooks, Nate Robinson, Luke Ridnour, Rodney Stuckey, Marvin Williams and Martell Webster. There are even more after that, which lets you know that Washington is well desrving of a top-15 spot here.

    Everyone figured that the best players from the West Coast all came from California. Let's not overlook Washington. That state has some good players as well.

14. South Carolina

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    Top NBA players: Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen

    Now, as you can see by these two players listed above, we are starting to get to that point on the list where we are naming off some serious basketball hot spots.

    These two current NBA teammates, Garnett and Allen, are only two of the many current NBA players to grow up on the streets of South Carolina.

    Other players from this Southeast basketball meca include: Raymond Felton, Kwame Brown, Jermaine O'Neal and Ramon Sessions, just to name a few.

    South Carolina isn't quite in the elite class, but they are getting pretty close.

13. Georgia

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    Top NBA players: Dwight Howard and Josh Smith

    If this was a list of where the top dunkers were from, boom, Georgia moves up right to the top of the list.

    But really, Dwight Howard is one of the top talents in the game today and his name alone makes Georgia worthy of being in the top 15 on this list.

    Now, add guys like Smith, J.J. Hickson, Derrick Favors and Al Thornton and you have a solid talent core coming from down south in the state of Georgia.

    Not to mention, could you imagine going up against the AAU team that had both Dwight Howard and Josh Smith on it?

12. Indiana

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Top NBA players: Eric Gordon and Zach Randolph

    Back in the day, the state of Indiana would have topped this list. But keep in mind, I warned everybody not to get upset with the fact that the Hoosier state does not break the top 10 of this list.

    When looking at current players, Eric Gordon and Zach Randolph are borderline NBA stars, but after that, the list does not feature that many current NBA players. At least, not many that are any good.

    Guys like Josh McRoberts, Brad Miller, Jared Jeffries, George Hill and Greg Oden just aren't the type of elite players who would warrant Indiana to be any higher on this list.

11. Michigan

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    Top NBA players: Al Horford and Jason Richardson

    Michigan is one of those states that hasn't produced the best players in the NBA right now, but they sure have produced a lot of them.

    In fact, over 15 current NBA basketball players were born and raised in the state of Michigan. Guys like Shane Battier, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Wilson Chandler, Chris Kaman and Morris Peterson are all from the state of Michigan. There are a lot more current NBA players on that list as well.

    Cities like Saginaw, Flint, Pontiac and Detroit are all basketball hot beds that produce a ton of talent that transitions into the NBA.

10. North Carolina

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    Top NBA players: Chris Paul and John Wall

    Those are two explosive players right there when talking about North Carolina. But when looking down the list, there isn't a ton of talent after that, which is why North Carolina isn't higher up on this list.

    Stephen Curry and Antawn Jamison are good NBA players, but after that, it drops down to the likes of Chris Wilcox, Brendan Haywood and Josh Howard.

    The greatest player of all-time, Michael Jordan, came from the state of North Carolina. Maybe a third comeback could boost NC up on the list?

9. Florida

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Top NBA players: Amar'e Stoudemire and Vince Carter

    Those are two of the best players in the game over the past decade. Add Tracy McGrady to that list and you have the makeup of every All-Star game in the past eight years.

    But after those three, guys like Trevor Ariza, Udonis Haslem and Mareese Speights don't exactly set the world on fire with their skills.

    Nonetheless, Florida is a big pipeline for basketball talent, and with guys like Amar'e and VC leading the way, it would be impossible to leave this state out of the top 10.

8. New Jersey

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    Top NBA players: Andrew Bynum and David West

    In Jersey, basketball is a way of life, which is why the Nets are trying so very hard to get back to basketball relevancy.

    When talking about some of the current NBA players that have come from this area, we have to mention Bynum and West, but there are more than that. Guys like Charlie Villanueva, J.R. Smith, A.J. Price, Al Harrington and Troy Murphy are all from the Jersey area.

    There is a current college star by the name of Kyrie Irving, who also grew up from Jersey and will be an NBA star in five years or less. When that happens, look for Jersey to get boosted on this list here.

7. Maryland

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    Top NBA players: Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony

    Just by reading those two names alone, you should get an idea of how much talent comes out of the Maryland/Washington D.C. area.

    Durant and Carmelo are two of the 10 best players in the NBA right now. Add in guys like Rudy Gay, Michael Beasley, Ty Lawson and Roy Hibbert, and you see how good the talent is that comes out of the Maryland area.

    While states like Indiana and Virginia sport the quantity-over-quality resume, Maryland is a state that has a ton of quality NBA players, just not a ton of quantity.

6. Texas

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Top NBA players: Chris Bosh and LaMarcus Aldridge

    Texas is a huge state as we know, but most people don't consider a ton of basketball talent coming from the state. Well, when you take a look at the list of what players grew up in the Longhorn State, you might just reconsider.

    In addition to Bosh and Aldridge, two of the best power forwards in the game today, other talents such as T.J. Ford, Daniel Gibson, Kenyon Martin and Shaq all hail from Texas.

    When you're talking about talent-rich states, Texas has to be considered as one of the best. Especially in recent memory.

5. Pennsylvania

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    Top NBA players: Kobe Bryant and Tyreke Evans

    When you're talking about the state that brought up the greatest basketball player in the NBA today, you have to include Pennsylvania on this list.

    Now include the fact that players such as Tyreke Evans, Richard Hamilton, Jameer Nelson and John Salmons also appear on this list, and putting Pennsylvania in at No. 6 sounds just about right.

    It may be small, but Pennsylvania has brought up some serious NBA players over the past couple of years, Kobe in particular.

4. New York

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    Top NBA players: Ron Artest and Elton Brand

    Maybe not the best duo of current NBA players that we have listed up to this point, but beyond these two the list goes on and on when talking about current and past NBA players.

    New York is the mecca of basketball as we know it. Rucker Park is the most well-known basketball playground, where all the top players from the state of New York would go to show off their talents and skills.

    There are over 250 former-or-current players and coaches who grew up in the state of New York. They love their basketball in the Big Apple, that is for sure.

3. Illinois

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    Craig Jones/Getty Images

    Top NBA players: Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose

    When you have the 2011 Eastern Conference All-Star starting backcourt as your top two players coming from the Windy City, you know that Illinois has to be near the top of this list.

    Illinois has always been a hot spot for elite NBA players. Guys like Tim Hardaway, Isiah Thomas, Doug Collins and Doc Rivers all played ball there growing up.

    Joining the great duo of Wade and Rose are names like Shannon Brown, Will Bynum, Evan Turner and Corey Maggette. This list goes on and on, and the main thing that stands out with these guys is that they are young, which means the youth movement is only just getting started.

2. Ohio

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    Top NBA Players: LeBron James and Kevin Martin

    The most explosive player in the NBA today and one of the best pure scorers in the league means that the state of Ohio has to be right near the top of this list.

    LeBron set the high school basketball world on fire when he was a senior at Akron St. Mary's. Now some of the top talents in the country have followed in his footsteps. A player like Jared Sullinger is from Ohio and is going to be a big-time player in the NBA in a year or two.

    Current NBA players like Daequan Cook and Earl Boykins also hailed from Ohio.

    Bottom line, when you produce LeBron James, you're instantly a top-10 state. The other guys just add to it all.

1. California

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    Top NBA players: Paul Pierce and Kevin Love

    When making this choice, California truly was a no-brainer when it comes to the most talent-rich states in America.

    In fact, you could probably make your own NBA All-Star team with guys from the Golden State. When your talking about players like Pierce, Love, Russell Westbrook, Brandon Jennings, Tyson Chandler, Jason Kidd and Baron Davis—and they all come from the same state—that is just unfair.

    If you know anyone who is a basketball talent scout, tell them to head west to California. This is where the best talent has always been and clearly will always be.

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