Recruiting footprints - how far away do women's BB teams recruit from their home base?

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Is there a way to figure out how far schools go in terms of distance to recruit players? We give it a shot.

I like to say that the problem with women's basketball statistics isn't doing the analysis, it's getting the data.  Women's Basketball State (wbbstate.com) is a big help, and they'll even allow you to download their information in a much more workable format...if you're willing to pony up $100+/year.  Either way, for a lot of their data you'll have to figure out a way to cut and paste, and that introduces errors in whatever you're planning on doing.

Take, for example, the question of how far women's basketball teams go into the field to recruit players - do certain teams recruit close to home, and if so, which teams are those?  You need a lot of information to solve this problem:

1)  A list of every player associated with a team, and their hometowns
2)  A way to measure distance from their hometown to the colleges they attend
3)  A way to assign some sort of average distance without skewing the results

Even with the help of a website like WBBState.com, each of these steps can introduce errors. 

Roster is missing players? Results skewed.
Distances calculated incorrectly? Results skewed.
Don't do the math right?  Results skewed.

Even so, I thought this was worth doing.  I started this with 2012-13 data, which I painstakingly copied from the WBBState.com website.  Then, I had to find some way to assign recruit hometowns to a latitude and a longitude from which I could make calculations.  (You need decimal latitudes and longitudes, by the way.)  Then I needed to find an online source that had this information, then I needed to find a formula that could calculate it.  Then I needed to figure out a way to solve the errors that were generated.

You get the point.  The 2013-14 data is finished...and I finally have data based on the 2012-13 rosters.

So how do we determine the average distance? 

1.  Take the distance from the hometown of every player on the roster to that team's home school.
2.  Find the median distance, i. e. the distance that divides the roster into two halves.  If you have an odd number of players, it's the player in the middle, else, you interpolate between the two closest players on either side of the dividing line.

Even with super-duper power math, there are still some problems.  Take a city like Los Angeles, California.  Los Angeles includes a lot of area.  However, in order to calculate, you have to find some point in Los Angeles which we can say is the imaginary center of the town.  As you can see, another degree of error might be introduced.

So let's assume as a thought exercise that the results are correct.  What can one conclude?

Well...it depends.  The data could be interpreted any number of ways.  Suppose Big Time State recruits most of its players within 50 miles away from Metropolis, USA (home of Superman).  It could be that Big Time State has a lock on all the big name recruits in the city and doesn't need to recruit from far away if the talent is rich there.  Or it could mean the reverse - Big Time State can't get anyone to come from their city that lives there.  The same kind of argments could be made about schools that recruit far and wide.

So based on the 2012-13 rosters, here are the various schools and an indication of their recruiting footprint, in miles away from the school.  You might not draw any conclusions, but you might have some fun with the discussion.

Recruiting footprints based on 2012-13 rosters
Count: number of players on roster
Median: median distances away from school, in miles
School State Count Median
Butler IN 11 14.7
Southern Methodist TX 12 18.2
California-Riverside CA 12 18.4
Cal State Fullerton CA 13 23.9
Chicago State IL 11 25.4
Loyola Marymount CA 14 27.4
UCLA CA 12 27.5
Southern California CA 12 33.9
Saint John's NY 13 34.9
Texas Christian TX 13 36.2
Utah Valley UT 12 36.5
Akron OH 13 38.0
Manhattan NY 14 42.7
North Texas TX 10 42.9
Wright State OH 11 43.6
Louisiana-Lafayette LA 10 44.9
Loyola (MD) MD 14 46.1
Long Beach State CA 11 47.7
Detroit MI 10 50.8
McNeese State LA 14 53.1
Drexel PA 10 53.4
Middle Tennessee TN 13 57.6
Brigham Young UT 13 62.8
Loyola (IL) IL 14 67.0
Fairleigh Dickinson NJ 14 68.1
Saint Peter's NJ 14 68.6
Oakland MI 12 71.8
Oklahoma State OK 10 74.7
Delaware State DE 12 76.6
Michigan State MI 13 78.4
Milwaukee WI 13 78.8
Campbell NC 15 80.5
Maryland-Baltimore County MD 13 82.1
Iona NY 12 82.5
Charlotte NC 12 83.1
Illinois-Chicago IL 13 83.2
Washington WA 10 83.6
Oral Roberts OK 11 85.3
Mercer GA 11 85.6
Northern Kentucky KY 11 88.7
Creighton NE 11 89.0
IUPUI IN 15 90.5
Wake Forest NC 12 92.5
Monmouth NJ 14 96.0
Nicholls State LA 13 96.2
Gardner-Webb NC 12 96.3
Delaware DE 13 102.8
Hartford CT 15 104.0
DePaul IL 12 104.3
Cal State Northridge CA 12 104.4
Indiana State IN 11 104.8
Rutgers NJ 13 106.1
Fairfield CT 12 108.7
San Diego State CA 13 111.6
Ball State IN 10 113.7
Western Michigan MI 13 113.8
Towson MD 12 114.4
Maryland-Eastern Shore MD 15 114.9
Siena NY 12 115.5
Central Michigan MI 13 116.1
Eastern Michigan MI 12 116.7
High Point NC 12 117.2
Longwood VA 12 117.4
Northern Illinois IL 12 117.8
Eastern Kentucky KY 14 118.4
Valparaiso IN 13 120.5
Cal State Bakersfield CA 14 120.6
Ohio OH 14 120.9
North Carolina Central NC 8 121.1
Central Connecticut CT 13 121.6
Georgia State GA 10 122.6
Missouri MO 12 122.8
Tennessee Tech TN 15 123.1
Coppin State MD 12 123.3
Toledo OH 15 124.3
Mississippi State MS 12 126.2
Morehead State KY 13 126.4
Chattanooga TN 12 127.4
Minnesota MN 11 128.6
Michigan MI 11 129.8
Kennesaw State GA 11 130.3
Lafayette PA 15 130.6
Mississippi Valley State MS 12 131.6
Mount St. Mary's MD 12 133.1
Dayton OH 11 133.8
Fordham NY 12 134.9
La Salle PA 12 135.8
Norfolk State VA 14 136.6
Furman SC 15 137.0
Samford AL 11 137.0
Illinois IL 11 137.7
Auburn AL 12 138.0
Ohio State OH 14 138.2
Villanova PA 13 138.3
Illinois State IL 13 138.7
George Mason VA 12 139.1
IPFW IN 13 139.7
Bradley IL 11 140.6
Western Kentucky KY 12 140.8
Cleveland State OH 12 141.4
Tennessee-Martin TN 11 141.6
Xavier OH 10 142.3
Alabama State AL 16 146.2
Marist NY 15 146.9
Richmond VA 15 147.5
Bowling Green OH 12 148.2
New Jersey Tech NJ 12 149.9
Texas State TX 10 150.0
Rider NJ 13 151.9
Hampton VA 14 152.1
Stephen F. Austin TX 14 152.4
Georgetown DC 11 152.5
Elon NC 14 152.9
Presbyterian SC 15 154.1
Northern Colorado CO 14 154.2
Western Carolina NC 14 154.3
Louisiana-Monroe LA 13 154.8
Murray State KY 14 155.6
Arkansas State AR 14 157.1
Tulsa OK 11 157.3
Miami (OH) OH 12 157.3
Belmont TN 12 157.4
Sam Houston State TX 13 157.8
South Dakota State SD 13 158.2
Texas A&M TX 14 159.5
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi TX 15 162.7
Stony Brook NY 14 163.7
South Carolina-Upstate SC 13 164.0
Houston TX 13 164.7
Eastern Illinois IL 12 165.0
Georgia Southern GA 14 165.2
Quinnipiac CT 14 166.1
Virginia VA 10 168.1
Hofstra NY 12 168.6
Appalachian State NC 13 168.7
Boston College MA 10 169.2
North Carolina-Asheville NC 13 169.2
Northern Iowa IA 13 170.2
Missouri State MO 15 170.4
James Madison VA 11 171.9
Maryland MD 10 173.2
Saint Francis (PA) PA 15 174.3
Louisiana Tech LA 13 176.4
Cincinnati OH 12 177.1
Sacramento State CA 14 177.3
Indiana IN 12 177.7
Alabama AL 15 179.0
Cal Poly CA 17 183.1
Austin Peay TN 14 183.2
Green Bay WI 12 185.2
Northeastern MA 12 185.8
Alabama A&M AL 13 186.9
North Carolina A&T NC 11 187.1
Duquesne PA 11 187.2
Southern Illinois-Edwardsville IL 13 188.6
Montana MT 12 189.5
Santa Clara CA 13 189.8
Radford VA 14 189.8
Southeastern Louisiana LA 12 190.2
Central Arkansas AR 14 190.7
Northwestern State LA 10 191.8
South Carolina State SC 12 193.6
Tennessee State TN 14 194.0
Missouri-Kansas City MO 11 194.7
Texas-Arlington TX 17 195.1
Tennessee TN 11 195.6
Evansville IN 12 195.9
Prairie View A&M TX 15 199.2
Lipscomb TN 14 200.6
North Carolina-Greensboro NC 14 206.0
Western Illinois IL 14 207.3
San Jose State CA 8 208.5
Iowa State IA 13 208.9
Louisiana State LA 10 210.2
Wofford SC 13 211.2
Syracuse NY 14 214.0
Canisius NY 13 214.7
Southeast Missouri MO 11 215.4
East Carolina NC 15 216.9
Penn State PA 11 217.1
Wisconsin WI 12 217.8
Iowa IA 12 219.1
Eastern Washington WA 14 223.1
Charleston Southern SC 10 223.8
Rice TX 12 224.2
Holy Cross MA 15 225.7
Georgia GA 13 226.3
North Carolina NC 13 228.2
Southern Mississippi MS 13 235.9
Arkansas AR 12 236.9
South Dakota SD 10 237.0
Montana State MT 15 237.7
Lamar TX 14 239.0
Bryant RI 15 240.1
North Dakota State ND 15 241.0
Florida State FL 11 243.7
Houston Baptist TX 13 249.4
East Tennessee State TN 14 251.6
Youngstown State OH 11 252.8
Alcorn State MS 12 253.8
Virginia Commonwealth VA 13 254.2
Niagara NY 13 254.2
Kansas State KS 11 255.5
Saint Bonaventure NY 11 255.8
South Florida FL 14 257.3
American DC 12 259.0
North Dakota ND 12 262.0
Saint Louis MO 10 263.4
Rhode Island RI 12 265.4
Bucknell PA 12 266.4
West Virginia WV 13 276.8
Oregon State OR 12 278.6
Pittsburgh PA 12 278.9
Temple PA 10 280.6
Drake IA 13 282.0
Purdue IN 12 283.4
Jacksonville FL 11 283.7
Mississippi MS 11 291.6
Robert Morris PA 11 292.1
Marquette WI 12 294.0
Charleston SC 13 294.2
North Florida FL 14 295.4
Jacksonville State AL 14 296.5
William & Mary VA 12 298.6
Buffalo NY 14 301.3
Albany NY 12 301.8
Pepperdine CA 13 302.2
Arkansas-Little Rock AR 11 304.1
California-Santa Barbara CA 11 304.3
Arkansas-Pine Bluff AR 15 305.4
Clemson SC 12 306.5
Morgan State MD 16 307.9
Texas Tech TX 13 309.0
Troy AL 12 310.6
Vermont VT 15 313.4
Arizona State AZ 12 313.7
Notre Dame IN 11 317.7
Lehigh PA 14 318.6
Savannah State GA 16 321.4
Seton Hall NJ 12 322.0
Nevada-Las Vegas NV 12 323.5
Wyoming WY 15 324.6
New Hampshire NH 11 326.4
Kent State OH 11 330.4
George Washington DC 12 331.7
Boston MA 12 332.9
Pacific CA 13 336.1
Northern Arizona AZ 13 337.9
Wagner NY 12 339.6
Southern Illinois IL 11 340.3
Saint Joseph's PA 13 343.9
California CA 10 346.2
Southern Utah UT 15 348.3
Cornell NY 15 350.3
Florida Atlantic FL 12 351.8
Howard DC 12 352.0
Old Dominion VA 14 361.0
Jackson State MS 19 367.2
Florida A&M FL 14 376.7
Oregon OR 14 377.9
Southern LA 13 381.6
Georgia Tech GA 14 382.0
California-Irvine CA 13 383.2
Nevada NV 12 385.1
Northwestern IL 14 386.4
Winthrop SC 10 387.2
Saint Francis (NY) NY 13 391.4
Coastal Carolina SC 12 393.6
California-Davis CA 13 395.7
Texas TX 14 396.6
Nebraska-Omaha NE 12 404.9
Texas-San Antonio TX 15 405.3
Kentucky KY 13 407.4
South Carolina SC 10 411.3
Oklahoma OK 12 411.4
San Francisco CA 13 416.7
Louisville KY 11 418.0
Tulane LA 13 424.3
UAB AL 13 426.5
Virginia Tech VA 15 438.4
South Alabama AL 14 441.6
Marshall WV 12 446.4
Kansas KS 12 448.4
Central Florida FL 9 453.7
Davidson NC 14 453.8
Colorado State CO 12 462.5
Grambling LA 16 462.6
Portland State OR 14 464.3
Vanderbilt TN 14 464.4
North Carolina-Wilmington NC 9 472.2
Baylor TX 13 482.2
Wichita State KS 12 490.8
Memphis TN 13 494.7
Boise State ID 11 504.5
Massachusetts MA 14 516.5
Colgate NY 14 526.8
Saint Mary's CA 14 539.1
Idaho State ID 15 553.9
Dartmouth NH 14 554.4
Princeton NJ 14 555.7
Weber State UT 15 566.5
New Mexico NM 14 587.3
Yale CT 11 600.2
Liberty VA 15 603.4
Providence RI 10 603.4
Florida FL 10 606.6
Utah State UT 12 611.5
Pennsylvania PA 14 624.0
Duke NC 11 628.6
Utah UT 13 634.7
Army NY 16 646.4
Navy MD 13 647.4
Idaho ID 13 655.8
Nebraska NE 12 656.0
Binghamton NY 15 665.3
New Mexico State NM 13 681.6
Denver CO 11 684.2
Bethune-Cookman FL 14 693.4
Seattle WA 13 702.4
Arizona AZ 11 706.7
Brown RI 16 725.3
Miami (FL) FL 12 731.7
North Carolina State NC 12 732.0
Texas-El Paso TX 13 732.6
San Diego CA 14 738.9
Colorado CO 13 746.2
Connecticut CT 11 753.8
Gonzaga WA 14 769.8
Stetson FL 14 774.5
Texas-Pan American TX 13 788.5
New Orleans LA 10 795.7
Portland OR 14 803.8
Texas Southern TX 13 828.7
Fresno State CA 12 842.0
Washington State WA 14 884.2
Maine ME 13 992.2
Columbia NY 17 1,019.4
Florida Gulf Coast FL 13 1,027.1
Air Force CO 16 1,061.5
Harvard MA 16 1,075.3
Long Island NY 13 1,088.6
Stanford CA 14 1,464.5
Sacred Heart CT 11 1,660.4
Hawai'i HI 14 2,437.8
Florida International FL 14 2,827.4
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