Friday, August 6, 2010

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: Charting Possessions in Hamilton Park

by Ray Floriani

JERSEY CITY, NJ - High school basketball is a relatively uncharted area in the realm of tempo free analysis. One of the reasons is the lack of post game box scores at most games. The final stats provided by trained crews on the college level are virtually non-existent in high school. A post game box that counts field goals, free throws (made and missed) and total points for a team and individual is about it. Thinking about it , the tempo free studies would be very valuable at the high school level where smaller schools may not have the advantages of advance scouting and/or studying tape. Tempo free stats would give a coach a close look at how they are playing and what needs to be addressed. The recording of these stats, however, would have to be done during the game by an assistant or student statistician. On Wednesday two games at the Hamilton Park Summer League were of interest. Actually the first was better on paper but the second gave a good example of tempo free usage. The Hamilton Park Summer League is very competitive with high school and a few AAU teams. The league is on the outdoor courts at Hamilton Park. To avoid rain outs if there is a chance of rain, director Pat Devaney moves the games indoors. Tonight we were in Middle School 7 in Jersey City. And, yes, it was air conditioned. Usually running the court in a striped shirt as an official but tonight was a night off and opportunity to employ another role. During both games I charted every possession and broke it down by quarters. The results of game one between St.Anthony’s (yes that one) and the Game Seven Sharks. The latter is an AAU team of mostly Middletown (NJ) North High School players. Middletown is based in the Shore area and is a good program.The Hamilton Park games are four eight minute quarters. The clock runs except on free throws and the last two minutes of each half (stopping on all whistles). This could effect the possessions total slightly. On the other hand, the teams are not in regular practices so while there is virtually no ‘run and gun’ there is a tendency for a possession to end a little quicker , or one pass less, in the Summer. The results by quarter:


The possessions by quarter:

St. Anthony1216111352

The final Points Per Possession (PPP) calculation:

St. Anthony’s0.89

For readability, that equals an offensive efficiency (PPP * 100) of 89 for St. Anthony’s and 74 for the Sharks. Key factors: Looking at college team numbers the 89 offensive efficiency posted by the Friars does not seem great. But when your defensive efficiency is 74, that is a +15 efficiency margin (offense minus defense). A great number on any level. The possession by possession breakdown shows the Sharks were guilty of 16 turnovers. That is a TO percentage of 27%. Over 20% is considered high. When you turn it over nearly one of every three possessions against an opportunistic club like St.Anthony’s, your chances of winning are greatly diminished. Offensive rebounding extended several St.Anthony possessions. The Friars have size up front and their frontcourt players, in the 6’6" to 6’8" range are quick jumpers who keep the ball alive for second and third efforts. Jason Huelbig and Mike Aaman paced the Sharks with 11 points each. The Friars had balanced scoring led by Ty Williams with 14 points. Rashad Andrews added 9 and Jerome Frink and Matt Johnson had 8 each.

The second game between St. Anthony’s JV and Union High School really illustrated the need for teams to be aware of tempo free stats. St. Anthony’s JV is talented and can play with many varsity teams. On the flip side, there are many nights a varsity team might not have its full compliment of players.


Possessions for this game:


Points per possession converted to offensive efficiency:

St.Anthony JV67

St. Anthony’s jumped to a nine point first half lead. The JV Friars were dictating pace and turning it into a full court affair. The quarterly possessions bear this out. Union has athleticism but prefers to run half court sets, utilize a number of passes and good player movement. As the game wore on the possessions show the pace slowed more into Union’s pace. As a result they had an outstanding second half.

Having these tempo free numbers is a great way to illustrate to your kids how important it is to execute at the pace your team is best suited for. In the end, Union prevailed because their varsity experience allowed them to dictate the game, change its pace and eventually its outcome.

Often the case in the Summer, an assistant will run the team as the head coach observes. Pictured is St. Anthony assistant Scott Ruzak going over a few things during a time out in the first contest.
St. Anthony's Assistant Coach Scott Ruzak
reviews the last sequence during a timeout
Todd Palmer, who played at Notre Dame, coached the St.Anthony JV. We got to discuss Notre Dame in particular and the Big East days of not too long ago prior to his contest.

Bob Hurley was in the stands for the first game and most of the nightcap. Seated to Hurley’s left is St.Anthony freshman coach Jerry Malloy. Hurley was caught here speaking with several of the Shark players. Even in losing they were excited to meet the coaching legend, who gave them words of advice and encouragement.
Coach Hurley speaks with Shark
players between games

If you coach you will love this. If you are a basketball fanatic (like yours truly) always searching new information with no desire to hit the sideline take the time to visit.


The sites are run by Scott Peterman, a former coach on the Division II level. You can purchase E books, trade books with other visitors and there is a wealth of free information one can download. Just this week downloaded a 68 page book on the development and structure of the DDM (dribble drive motion) offense. Visit the sites. You will not be disappointed.

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