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THREE FOR BART: 538, Rookies, Peterson

Three For BART is a daily (or really close to that) drop of three thought provoking articles for your commute or day. Submissions for inclusion taken at: pachoops25@gmail.com

  1. 538 is six months old…where does it stand? – Silver’s website set out to do all of the things that we’re continually loving about sports and our understanding of them. Data journalism is growing and fascinating but it’s time consuming. In this article, some of my own fears of content production are addressed. That stuff is hard and it’s stuff you want to get right. And just because we have data doesn’t mean we explicitly understand the data. It takes time to interpret and businesses don’t always allow for time. PacHoops, fortunately ain’t much of a business.
  2. The Big Leagues – Misleading title. This one touches on how the NBA works to acclimate – both directly and indirectly – their annual crop of rookies. Good read just for insights into a good program. But it’s most overarching theme – unwritten but highlighted by the NFL’s turmoils – is the League’s efforts to empower and improve their players.
  3. Adrian Peterson, The NFL, And Whippings – I don’t have kids. I hope to someday and I don’t know how I’ll discipline them. I do know that I want them to call me Dadam. And I want them to become great people. I have no idea how that will happen. Hopefully I can help facilitate their greatness. This article is perspective on parenting and its byproducts.
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THREE FOR BART: Schedule, UCLA, Ski

Three For BART is a daily (or really close to that) drop of three thought provoking articles for your commute or day. Submissions for inclusion taken at: pachoops25@gmail.com

  1. UCLA Basketball Loses Two Players In The Last Week As Jon Octeu Denied Admission - This article neatly notes that the Bruins lost two players expected to contribute quite a bit this season. Depth is overrated but when you’ve only got nine scholarship players and none particularly proven at this level, depth has got to be a question that becomes asked. There really are only three guards on this roster right now in Powell, Hamilton, and Alford.
  2. Determined Askia Booker eager to Lead Buffs – You know I love Askia. I write about it regularly. And also love senior guards so this is Askia’s time to shine in my eyes. Seems he’s got the head on his shoulders to do so as he notes the things he does well and that will let him be successful. Did you know his best offensive season was his freshman year? Did you also know that in that season he took his highest percentage of shots at the rim? Coincidence? I think not.
  3. NBA needs to pull stars from USA Basketball, which is showcasing only Duke’s coach – I’m only going to quote a piece of this article because I think it’s teaser gold:

As much as ever, USA Basketball has been co-opted into a Krzyzewski leverage play for the Duke Blue Devils. If that doesn’t rile Kentucky’s John Calipari, wait until the Duke coach is credited for DeMarcus Cousins’ maturity with the Sacramento Kings this season.

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THREE FOR BART: Beer, 9/11, Schadenfreude

Three For BART is a daily (or really close to that) drop of three thought provoking articles for your commute or day. Submissions for inclusion taken at: pachoops25@gmail.com

  1. Colorado Now Selling Beer at Folsom Field – And it’s not because t he football team sucks (they kinda do). Rick George (AD) wrote a letter to everyone and announced this change which is unique within NCAA rules. At first glance/thought, it seems like a joke. They’re selling booze at the biggest party school’s bad football games. But read this about West Virginia’s experience with in-stadium booze. To summarize, crime dropped and revenue rose. Those are good things. Bravo Buffs.
  2. F-16 pilot was ready to give her life on September 11 – This one just speaks for itself.
  3. Maize Malaise: Michigan Mulls Another Year of Mediocrity Under Brady Hoke – If you hadn’t guessed, I’m a RichRod guy and so – I dunno – maybe a part of me shares in his schadenfreude. You might also know that my mom’s entire side of the family is from Columbus. I have a lot going on in this one.

THREE FOR BART: Sophs, Rondae, Oregon

Three For BART is a daily (or really close to that) drop of three thought provoking articles for your commute or day. Submissions for inclusion taken at: pachoops25@gmail.com

  1. Deonte Burton, Kennedy Meeks lead Breakout Sophomore Formula candidates – Dive into this study (the link) and you’ll find that our own Pac-12 conference gets a shout out. Que Johnson, the Cougar, seems poised for big things as a sophomore based on his limited role with alpha output last season. Additionally, Wynn doesn’t really note that he’ll now be playing in a higher octane offense for Coach Ernie. Look for a study on Pac-12 Freshmen-to-Sophomores in the coming weeks.
  2. Column: To Start, or not to start, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson - Start. You start RJH because he’s likely to fulfill the first four letters of that word, S-T-A-R. It’s not a question but I appreciate the effort and the statistical try at quantifying it. The DW isn’t wrong in noting he was more productive off the bench. But that was a different team. Now, 2014-15, isn’t so much about replacing Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson so much as developing a new identity.
  3. University of Oregon responds to KATU story in letter to alumni – Maybe I’m an idealist, someone who doesn’t think a given action is rooted in pure evil, but I choose to believe Oregon didn’t overtly delay the expulsion of Dotson, Artis, and Austin for APR purposes. But maybe they did. The key point here is I think it’s a great question for KATU to ask because things lined up as such. The school has responded.
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THREE FOR BART: Cal, Preview, Trojans

Three For BART is a daily (or really close to that) drop of three thought provoking articles for your commute or day. Submissions for inclusion taken at: pachoops25@gmail.com

  1. Sources: Kentucky Coach John Calipari finalizing unprecedented scouting combine for NBA personnel – And they can’t even interact with the players. It’s a strange concept from that angle but a terrific concept from a career development stand point. There are football pro days. Why not hoops pro days? I don’t know if this concept is scalable – do pro scouts (anyone?) want to see this roster? – but Cal is always pushing the limits. It’s a good thing.
  2. College basketball preview 14-15: Pacific 12 – Officially it is the Pac-12 but who’s counting? Oh wait, Dan Hanner is and will be all season long. Get on board with RealGM because it’s only going to make you a smarter fan. And repeat after me, “scoring margin.”
  3. Well That Sh*t Was Fun – Let me forewarn you, Stanford fans and anyone else that hates USC football, you’re not going to want to click that link. But Zack doesn’t care. He does care about his Trojans and the garnered a big win this weekend. This is his recount.
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THREE FOR BART: Duck, Math, Typecasting

Three For BART is a daily (or really close to that) drop of three thought provoking articles for your commute or day. Submissions for inclusion taken at: pachoops25@gmail.com

  1. A Day with the Duck: Oregon’s Mascot and the Silent King of Eugene – If nothing else, just read the final paragraph of this thing. Additionally, it was brought to my attention that the Duck is no longer called Puddles. I’ve been in the dark on this awhile.
  2. Here’s the proof that math is hot these days – As if I needed to provide external support of this theory. But in all seriousness, math is huge. The numbers don’t lie and if you’re not into it, well I’ll probably still have a lot of anecdotal content for you to consume. But I’m still going to rely on the numbers. Unless it’s March.
  3. A New Season of Typecasting for NFL Quarterbacks – Sure this focuses on quarterbacks, the most scrutinized position in sports, but I think the gist of the conversation expands far beyond and as college basketball fans I think the parallel is in the evaluation of coaches. Most recently we discussed whether Craig Robinson should keep his job. But it’s also about the legacy of such names as Bill Self (just one title!??) and/or who is elite (that word…). When is it time for a given coach to go? Shaka Smart? Bill Stevens? Johnny Dawkins? #IsItNovemberYet
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THREE FOR BART: Schollies, BS, Data

Three For BART is a daily (or really close to that) drop of three thought provoking articles for your commute or day. Submissions for inclusion taken at: pachoops25@gmail.com

  1. From Prosperity to Chaos: James Grisom leaves Cal football after losing scholarship and facing unexpected financial troubles – A cautionary tale of the unguaranteed nature of scholarships. In an off-season full of letters championing the  Student-Athlete, Grisom’s story certainly doesn’t seem to align with the proposed principles.
  2. The Fine Art of Bullshit - For me this weekend, it was an outrageous assertion that Lance Armstrong’s doping cover ups had somehow led to Floyd Landis’ suicide. Floyd Landis did not kill himself and Google immediately dispelled that rumor. How do you smartphone?
  3. Online Dating Stats Reveal A ‘Dataclycsm’ Of Telling Trends – As they say, “The more you know…” But similarly, just because you have a lot of data (hi, hoop-math!), it doesn’t always mean much. Which is why I’m further fascinated in the emerging importance of data visualization. Maybe it’s not “emerging” but certainly as we collect more of all this data, there’s a need to both interpret the data (easier said than done) and then to explain the data (sometimes near impossible). In a basketball sense, the data we review helps us understand our own favorite teams and their opponents. This data has helped me to recognize parts of the game I hadn’t previously seen. It’s supplemented the experience. In an online dating sense, I’d love to poke (swipe?) through Tinder’s data. I bet we could find some hilarious trends.
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THREE FOR BART: Beavers, Stats, NFL

Three For BART is a daily (or really close to that) drop of three thought provoking articles for your commute or day. Submissions for inclusion taken at: pachoops25@gmail.com

  1. Oregon State won’t be a Pac-12 doormat much longer – In the interest of full disclosure, this is a softer piece. It’s not very hard hitting but it does provide some jaw dropping insights. For example: OSU has secured just two top-100 Rivals recruits in the last twelve years. That’s Kentucky’s team management staff (they’re effing great at laundry).  Nevertheless, the title evokes the thought as we head into the Tinkle Tenure which I will regularly and consistently grade against the Ernie Administration in Pullman. No one is soon to call the Beavers a sleeping giant, but Tinkle is on to something. How many kids does he have?
  2. Introducing the College Basketball Game Finder – Ever been curious about how many free throw attempts Arizona has taken against UCLA in neutral court games played in March? Now you can find that out. Ever had the itch to know what Oregon has shot from distance in NCAA tournament games? Scratch it! I’m going to use this resource to inundate you all season long with “the last time…” or “when [insert team] plays home games in February they average [insert stat here]…” qualifiers all the PacHoops season long.
  3. People vs. the NFL – We’re fans. Blindly and contently and anxiously and angrily and joyously we are fans. But above all else, we’re humans and need to be humans. Matt Ufford says it.
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THREE FOR BART: Debut, Seattle, UberX, and Fandom

I take Bay Area Rapid Transit to work. Daily. It’s the screaming, clothed monster that moves passengers to and from Milbrae/SFO through the City then trifurcates into the East Bay. I get on at 16th and off at San Bruno. I have eight stops to read things on my phone – six if having cell service is required.

And so I fill my inbox with emails to myself with a subject line of “read” and a link to an article. These articles are collected throughout the day. Sent to me by many sources and discovered in many mediums. I crush these articles during said commute. I’m a slow reader but I can usually get about three articles read in a day while on the train – round trip.

Thus the genesis of “THREE FOR BART.” This is PacHoops’ latest – if not first – franchise in which I drop three thought provoking and (very) loosely Pac-12 basketball associated articles on you for our daily reading pleasure. I use “daily” hesitantly because I’m a dude and the profile says I’m supposed to fear commitment. But I’m going to try. This is for us, however you commute or whenever you can read.

Send me any good stuff that you come across please. Submit it all: blogs, Forbes, NYT, NPR, local, international, video, photo, tweet. It’s all fair game: pachoops25 at gmail dot com or @pachoopsab.

I want to connect us to intelligent stuff.

Maybe we’re not the best fans in the nation, but we can certainly  be the smartest and most well informed fans, leaving the tree poisoning, car burning, and player provocation for elsewhere (but if you happen to be a bag man, I’d love to hear your stories off of any semblance of a record).

Without further adieu, our first Three For BART:
(Note that I’ve been sitting on this concept awhile so the article won’t always be timely but always relevant. Or at least I’ll demonstrate the relevance. Or you’ll tell me otherwise. It’s gonna be great):

  1. Jamal Crawford Is Trying to Keep Seattle’s Basketball Dreams Alive - This dropped over a month ago on Grantland but it’s stuck with me as a grassroots effort to get basketball thriving once again in Seattle. Have you noticed Washington lately? Me either. And when you did notice them they were plucking up talent from their backyard. No longer. But with the efforts of Crawford and other influential Seattlites (Steve Ballmer?) there’s a budding resurgence. And suddenly LoRo has three top-100 2015 commitments.
  2. A Financial Model Comparing Car Ownership with UberX (Los Angeles) – As the pretense of this franchise is commuting, I felt this would be a worthy inclusion. Kyle Hill (author) studies whether or not UberX can be cheaper than car ownership. He’s trying this in Los Angeles which I find interesting because the West Coast boasts it’s wide open planes and space. It was built out not up. Is commuting everyday by bike always feasible? Can UberX be your daily? I dropped my car and while I’m not financially savvy enough to account for the cost differentials, I’m fairly certain I pay less (and drink more). Furthermore, outside the box thinking is always welcome on PacHoops which is why I’ll forever be agitated and impressed with Tony Bennett’s Washington State tenure. He flipped the run-n-gun model of Pac-12 basketball and won. The Taxi companies, however, are far more than agitated by peer-to-peer. And certainly not impressed.
  3. Croke Park Lights up as sport and theatre collide – This is an Irish sportswriter’s account of Saturday’s Central Florida-Penn State tilt in Dublin. It is beautifully written in a unique voice that most certainly waxes poetic about American Football. You’ll love it because you love sports and he romanticizes the theater of sport. You’re a fan of that, right (COUGH oneshiningmoment COUGH)?
2011 NBA Draft

Recruitment to Draft Efficiencies: A Study Studied

With the NBA draft on Thursday, and a smattering of Pac alumni (well sort of alumni, they’re seemingly all early entries presumably taking ongoing coursework to ensure no APR hits), I thought it’d be worth posting a wordy piece I’d researched and wrote a year ago.

Per data collected by the Emory Sports Marketing group, amongst Pac-12 schools, Washington and USC were the most efficient at fulfilling living room promises of NBA paydays. Hoop dreams, as it were, are best suited for downtown Los Angeles and Seattle. Who knew?

Seattle

I mean, look at it…

I certainly didn’t, though I’ve long been aware of the conference’s ability to produce NBA talent. Since 1980, the Pac-12 has produced the second most draftees amongst the Big 6 conferences (Big-12 is not listed on that link as they really only began their existence in 1996-97. Since their inception, however, they’ve produced just 4.6 draft picks per season as compared to 6.4 or greater in each of the other five. Thus, it’s safe to assume they wouldn’t have flirted with second place. Just not enough Jayhawks and Longhorns.

From such bulk data we can make broad, surface conclusions that the Pac-12 has indeed produced talent. That’s clearly a lot of NBA players and tells us something about the quality of players the conference recruits, develops, and gets placed into NBA jobs. I suppose that’s what college is all about – job placement – right?

Of course the number itself doesn’t really say much. Wouldn’t it make sense for the late-Big East with its umpteen constituents to have produced the most NBA players by the simple fact that they have more players? That would seem to make the most sense but it’s not the case as they’ve produced the fifth most draftees (a reason I think the BE was overrated on the whole as a basketball conference but that’s a totally different conversation).

And so we’re presented with Emory’s study; a snapshot into how well a school (we begin to diverge from specific conferences) operates as a job placement service. They used the Rivals recruiting rankings beginning with the 2002 class and attributed weights to a given star rating observe efficiencies. The algorithm:

(# of NBA Picks) /(Weighted Recruiting Talent**)

**Weighted Recruiting Talent = Sum of draft probability
5-star = 0.51, 4-star = 0.13, 3-star=0.03, 2-star=0.008, unranked=0.004

Plug and chug to find that Washington and USC have done the best job (aka most efficient job) at transforming high school talent into NBA draft picks. While Arizona and UCLA have produced 40% of the conference’s draft picks since 1980, they evidently haven’t been as efficient at it (at least since 2002).

There are, of course, some innate issues to this study which they directly address. They essentially make no bones about the fact that the summarized data limits our ability to “draw deeper thoughts.” From a data standpoint we’re dealing with just a very small sample size. Having examined recruiting classes since 2002, we’re really only exposed to 7 classes that have completed their four years and become draft eligible; or at least had their hand forced into eligibility after receiving the maximum four years of instruction and coaching. The 2010 class and beyond could still be selected in June of ‘14 (though good luck cracking that draft class) and have an effect on these efficiencies.

Additionally, one could argue that Arizona and UCLA – two schools with renowned recruiting prowess – are at a statistical disadvantage considering their success at recruiting higher rated recruits. What’s more, their historical success can often skew recruiting rankings. A fringe three-star with a UCLA offer can suddenly find himself a four-star recruit with three-star talent and thus a lower probability (0.03 Weighted Recruiting Talent) of ever being drafted. While it is the responsibility of those respective coaching staffs to improve players, it is not their role to assign recruiting rankings. They’re just supposed to win with the players who signed “yes.” Nevertheless, it was Washington and USC who turned out the most efficient.

How?

Statistically speaking, I’ll struggle to find the answer. As the Emor-ites stated, this is summarized data that won’t quite allow us to dive deeper. Recruiting rankings are no exact science, but they also don’t often lead us wildly astray. No doubt the success of three-stars Derrick Williams and Russell Westbrook hold significant weight in this efficiency rating; but so too might the disappointing careers (otherwise read: undrafted) of former five-stars Mustafa Shakur, JP Prince, Jawann McClellan, and Josiah Turner. And it’s also worth noting the number of efficiency draining four-stars from the conference’s power schools who have gone undrafted: UCLA has seen nine four-star prospects go undrafted since 2002 while Arizona has four such draftless wonders (and five undrafted five-stars).

SilverDraft

His predecessor called a lot of Wildcats

As the “bluebloods” have managed to allure more highly rated talent (or seen the inflation of their recruits’ star rating) they’ve also managed to have 21 kids drafted since 2002 (18 per the study which does not include the 2013 draft). And I recognize that Washington has had more draft picks over this time period than Arizona but within the overall context of NBA products, Arizona’s had the most draft picks (OK tied for the most) of any college program since 1988. Finding that the Wildcats are the 11th most effective at getting kids drafted is surprising. For a brief comparison, within the scope of Emory’s project, Arizona has recruited the second most four- and five-star players (23). UCLA took the top spot (26) while the Huskies were third (20).

Equipped with that, two things become evident:

  1. It makes sense that the schools bringing in the most highly rated prospects have produced the most NBA picks
  2. Arizona must suck at developing talent and/or evaluating it (along with Rivals).

The first point here is sort of a numbers game, similar to the aforementioned Big East thought. Each of UCLA, Washington, and Arizona indeed had the most players drafted since 2002. USC, our second most efficient school, had the fourth most draftees. Bring in better players and they’re likely to get drafted. Sweet.

The second point, however, allows us to see more clearly how Arizona rated at the tail end of this study. They gathered up a ton of talent but it didn’t seem to go anywhere (except perhaps Europe). In fact, from 2002-2013, Arizona failed to make even one Final Four. A feat they’d accomplished four times in the 14 years prior. UCLA attended three. Worth noting, in Arizona’s defense, is the fact that over a critical four-year span (2006-2010) overlapping this study’s data range, Arizona had four different head coaches. They subsequently had little continuity to player development and recruiting.

Nevertheless, Arizona didn’t get many of its kids into the league.

So what did the Husky and Trojan staffs recognize that perhaps others didn’t? How’d they effectively place their players in NBA jobs? These aren’t the first two schools that come to mind when thinking about the Pac-12 and the NBA but that’s how it shook out. Something has made them unique within the context of this evaluation. What?

Recruiting is a natural starting point to understand their success. And seeing as how Washington “won” I began in Seattle.

In the first 30 years of the McDonald’s All-American game, only three Seattle prep stars were burger all-stars. Since 2004, however, there have been nine such heralded players. The area, despite losing their Sonics, has produced oodles of basketball talent. In examining the number of NBA players from Seattle (and we’ll use the greater Seattle area here) there are 28 such players. We again find ourselves staring at summarized data but for the sake of context, those 28 NBA players are more than the total number of NBA players produced by the States of Arizona and Colorado…combined.

Indeed the Emerald City has produced and that would seem convenient for the local college, wouldn’t it? As mentioned, there have been nine McDonald’s All-Americans from the Seattle area since 2004. Four of them stayed to play at HecEd. And if you bothered to read the previously linked Sports Illustrated article (linked again for your convenience) you’d have learned that there is a supportive culture surrounding prep basketball in Seattle. Those who make it return to help those trying to make it. Such nurturing could get a kid to stick around.

And so they have.

Of the nine players drafted out of Washington since 2002, six of them were from Seattle. Additionally, one of the picks was from Portland a convenient two-ish hours away and a city devoid a college team. So if you’re counting, 77% of the players drafted out of the University of Washington have been local kids. You think that proximity has something to do with talent evaluation? Or how about relationship building, trust, familiarity, comfort, ease-of-transition, and everything else that pertains to the success of a young man?

As for USC, half of the group drafted out of the Galen Center (and the Sports Arena until 2006) were LA locals. To drop more summarized data on you, there are 92 NBA players from Los Angeles; which doesn’t include the greater LA areas of Long Beach (13), Inglewood (9), Compton (8), or Hollywood (5).

CaliforniaLove

California Love.

And perhaps adding fodder to this localization fire would be USC’s coaching turnover during the 2002-13 time period. There have been three different men in charge; which doesn’t include the two interims who led for brief spells during the 2004-05 and 2012-13 seasons. They’ve also endured NCAA sanctions. Little surrounding the Trojan program would suggest developmental success. Remember when we blamed some of Arizona’s efficiency struggles on their coaching gaffes? USC suffered/incurred similar yet still managed to efficiently get kids selected. Local ones at that.

Which of course begs intrigue into Westwood. The other school in Los Angeles of basketball note – UCLA – finished fifth in the efficiency rankings. They too had access to LA’s finest and managed to get eleven of them snatched up by NBA teams. During the greatest stretch of UCLA basketball since the Wooden era (Howland’s three straight Final Fours) he was rolling out rosters packed with Angelinos: Afflalo, Shipp, Collison, Farmar, Roll, Mata-Real, Westbrook, Bozeman, Hollins. These were kids who grew up on UCLA. And then nine of them went League. The Bruins had nine locals drafted amongst their eleven draftees, 82%. A number that parallels that of Washington’s local draft rate (77%).

(Fun fact break: UW and UCLA have also combined to win six conference titles since 2002)

Returning to the draft, over the same stretch, Cal developed four recruits into NBA-level talents; three of whom were from the Bay Area. Cal was the third most efficient per Emory. Need more? Here is a list of Arizona natives who became Wildcats since 1984: Sean Elliot, Mike Bibby, Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye, Jerryd Bayless. All lottery picks. As it were, All-American, Nick Johnson, will likely be the first Arizona raised Arizona Wildcat to not be a lottery pick. Nevertheless, Johnson received a call from Sean Miller in April of 2009 expressing his interest in his talents. It was Sean Miller’s first day on the Arizona job.

This is not to say that collecting local talent is a one-way pass to collegiate success and subsequent NBA paychecks. Certainly not as recruiting becomes increasingly national and international. Both Oregon State and Washington State have found success recruiting in Australia (Gary Bennett and Saint Mary’s, too). Of course both WSU and OSU just fired their coaches in the past two months so there’s that. Though also worth noting is that Ben Howland’s burning of LA recruiting bridges ultimately cost him his LA job.

The ultimate takeaway from this study might boil down to the basic Real Estate tenant of location, location, location. After all, home is where the heart is. And if your heart is set on the NBA, it would seem your best (most efficient) means of getting there would be staying right in your own backyard.