Thursday, October 28, 2010

Guest Contributor: Ray Floriani -- MAAC Media Day

by Ray Floriani
NEW YORK CITY, NY -- On the media day circuit the MAAC held it event at BB King’s in midtown Manhattan. King’s ‘70 hit ‘The thrill is gone’ is a personal favorite and looking over some of the memorabilia of the noted artist was an added extra.

The MAAC rocked the house
at BB King's

On the basketball side, the media day once again gave an opportunity to take an informal survey of MAAC coaches utilizing tempo free statistics today.

Did not get a chance to speak with every MAAC mentor regarding tempo free but the ones inquired, had some opinions of note.

Ed Cooley, coach of pre-season favorite Fairfield noted, "I’m not really big on statistics except the final score. I’m old school, we have two teams the one with the most points is the winner." On further discussion Golden did admit his staff keeps very close attention to, charting and breaking down stops during a game. It was pointed out the discussion with Xavier’s Chris Mack over stops. With Mack, three straight stops are a 'kill' and seven kills in a game almost guarantee a win. "I’ll go along with that idea," Golden said. "To us during a game stops are vital and is a major statistic we want to keep track of."

Coach Ed Cooley of conference favorite Fairfield
discussing his club's outlook

Tom Parrotta of Canisius did not give much thought in the past to tempo free but may take a look at the numbers thanks to a certain software 'package'. "when I was recruiting at a tournament in Las Vegas a representative of Synergy showed me his product," Parrotta said. "I said 'show me Canisius’ out of bounds plays.' He put in some data and remarkably the sets we used on out of bounds series came up. I was sold."

According to Parrotta Synergy represents a great tool to utilize in scouting. "It shows everything," he said. "It breaks down everything by numbers so if one wants to use tempo free stats Synergy will have the entire breakdown." For Parrotta, his new found coaching aide will supply vital information on opponents and his own club just as well.

Tim Cluess of Ions is not only new to his school and the conference, he's the D I 'rookie' as well. From high school through Division II Cluess has been very successful on the sidelines. He takes a very enthusiastic approach to his current position at Iona. Tempo free statistics is something he is very interested in but until now unable to further investigate. "I would have liked to really get into those type of (tempo free) concepts in the past," Cluess admitted. "On the Division II level you are limited in staff and personnel. Here at Iona we have a full compliment so statistical breakdowns are something I will get into more."

Certain to play a major role for Cluess in stats breakdown area is Zak Boisvert. Zak realized playing college ball was out so he decided to work towards becoming a college coach. The last three years as student manager at Fordham Boisvert immersed himself in the game. Watching games when Fordham wasn’t playing, he would diagram plays, write them up on Fastdraw and submit them to the mens basketball hoop scoop site. His work on that site drew rave reviews from monitor Scott Peterman, a former college coach. Boisvert’s passion and love of the game no doubt landed him in New Rochelle. Beside film exchange, film edits, putting out a coaches' newsletter and related tasks, Boisvert promises to get involved more in tempo free studies. He’s read Dean Oliver’s Basketball on Paper, which is as good a start as any.

On the women’s side, got to speak with Megan Gebbia a Marist associate coach and integral part of the program’s outstanding success. Marist has been the MAAC’s flagship program on the women’s side for several year now.

Megan noted that Brian Giorgis and his Marist women’s staff do not utilize tempo free stats per se but it is a concept that interests them. Discussing some of the four factors she was intrigued, especially regarding turnover percentage. "I would like to know our (TO pct)," she said. "That is something we need to improve on."

To get into the analytical groove the following can serve as a 'shoot around'. A Four Factor breakdown of Marist women in 2009-10.

Pace : 67 possessions per game
Offensive points per possession:1.00
Defensive points per possession:0.86

The Four Factors for the Lady Red Foxes:


[Note -- Defense is opponents' offensive efficiency]

A little surprised Marist’s offensive efficiency (points per possession * 100) was 100. But all games in a 26-8 season were factored. The MAAC is a respectable conference and out of the league Giorgis opts for good competition. Megan was right on the money regarding turnovers as frequently noted 20% or more is too high. Defensively Marist did the job. The opponents points per possession was only .86, but the turnover rate of 23% and effective field goal percentage , a paltry 40%, shows Marist not only forced miscues but dictated the shots the opposition was getting. And not particularly successful in converting.

Coaches are copy cats. If someone won a national championship and in post game interviews attributed it to tempo free statistical research and studies, every D I staff in America would follow suit. By the next morning. Many schools do not utilize this tool fully. But they aware of the existence. That’s a good start.

MAAC pre-season player of the year
Ryan Rossiter of Siena poses with a Special Olympian
and guest of the MAAC

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