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Senior project speech

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  • 1. Keith Woods 4/5/2012 Senior Project Evaluating Creekview Basketball Through Advanced StatisticsSports... At first glance sports are inconsequential, a seemingly unimportant way to pass thetime. Surely you have heard sometime in your life the phrase "Its just a game." However, thisstatement could not be further from the truth. if sports were just a game why have sports such asbasketball continued to thrive during the recession? Why do people spend hard earned money tosupport their favorite teams? Why is it that young children across the country stay up late atnight fantasizing about growing up and playing in one of the major sports leagues? Wake upearly to work out, push themselves until their bodies scream out in pain? Sports elicit thegreatest of passion because they are the greatest of equalizers. It does not matter where you arefrom or who you know, if you can play the game, you are sure to find some level of acceptance.In my opinion, the purest form of sports exists on the local playground courts or under the Fridaynight-lights of the local high school football team where they play for the love of the game. Buteven thoughtthatmight be the purest form of sports, there is no doubt that the highest level ofsports exists at the major league level. The popularity of these major leagues have cause them tobecome some of the most lucrative businesses in the United States. Anything that has so muchmoney invested in it is eventually going to evolve. Sports have started to become evaluated in
  • 2. ways that no one even considered as little as 15 years ago. Moneyball, a movie that you might befamiliar with, detailed the beginning of advanced statistics actually shaping the way a MajorLeague Baseball team was put together. But baseball is not the only sport to be affected by teadvanced statistical revolution. Advanced statistics have become an integral part of sports, manifesting itself as nunderground subculture filled with sports nerds. A conference has arisen solely dedicated to thediscussion and exploration of new advanced statistics. Its called the Innovation in SportsConference and perfectly meshes the worlds of mathematics and sports. Being an individual whoenjoys the intellectual side of sports, this new type of analysis immediately my eye. Theseadvanced formulas no longer just reveal the general statistics someone was accruing, statisticsthat have been around since the dawn of basketball, such as points per game. These statistics aresomewhat considered to be the "end all, be all" of basketball statistics. Many people onlyconsider these statistics when considering how good of a player someone seems to be. However,one must consider many different factors when considering the true skill of a player. The point ofadvanced statistics is to truly measure the value of a player, no matter how much he is on thecourt during a basketball game. Due to my high level of interest in these innovative statistics, Idecided to use these advanced statistics in order to examine the season of our ownCreekviewBoys Basketball team for the 2011-2012 season. Upon the outset of this task, I knew that I would encounter a number of difficulties but Ihad no ideas just how many. The first thing that I had to do was to actually collect traditionalstatistics that were accrued by the players during the season. To begin, the advanced statisticsused in my presentation were calculated using certain formulas that use the more commonstatistics mentioned earlier such as points per game. Advanced Statistics are the result of
  • 3. formulas repackaging traditional statistics that have been measured for years in such a way thatthey reveal something new about the game of basketball. After collecting the statistics for theplayers, I placed them in these formulas after I collected the statistics from the CreekviewBasketball Coach Randy Clemons. This is the spread sheet of all the different statisticsaccumulated by the players during the season. All of these different statistics give us asomewhat limited view of a player’s effect on the game. Here are the three main stats, as Imentioned earlier, points per game, assists per game, and rebounds per game. The amount ofemphasis placed on these statistics actually provided impetus for the so called “statisticalrevolution.” many players do not play enough minutes during the game in order to affect thesestatistics greatly, so innovators were looking for a way to properly measure the affect a playerhas when they check into the game. They were trying to quantify how much any one playercould affect the game through a set numerical value. Players have now started to be evaluatedlesss on per game statistcs and more on a per minute basis. These per minute statistics seek to even the playing field for those individuals that do notreceive as much playing time as others. After collecting all the statistics gather during the season,I had to decide was statistics I was going to calculate for the Creekview Basketball team. This iswhere I encountered the bulk of problems I experienced during my project. I decided tobasically follow the advanced statistics that are being used to evaluate NBA players. If thesestatistics were good enough for the NBA, then they were good enough for me. Here is a screenshot of the website that I used to consider which statistics I was going to calculate. They evenprovide the formula that is used to calculate each advanced metric. Throughout this process I barely felt that I was working at all. The discovery of newways to interpret basketball fascinated me and I enjoyed every second of it. The only proves that
  • 4. I did not enjoy was the mind numbing number crunching that had to take plave in order tocalculate the same statistics over and over again. But evaluating each player on Creekview’steam gave me new insight into how the season went. I encourage you to go out and observe thisstatistical revolution for yourself. Statistics are being used to analyze subjects that no one wouldever believe could be quantified by numbers. Who knows, maybe your favorite hobby couldbecome a part of the revolution. Thank you for taking time to listen to my presentation, anyquestions?