For about 30 years or so computers have been in dugouts in Major League Baseball. Images of Tony Larussa scanning through matchups and statistics on a laptop in the dugout sent purists howling saying it signaled the end of the America’s Pastime. Now, every team employs an analytics expert, with some ascending to the General Manager spot, making decisions. A whole science, started by Bill James and called Sabermetrics has been created, dedicated to the study of baseball statistics. NFL teams have followed suit, compiling data and crunching numbers, looking for an edge. Tony Khan has an engineering degree but is the Jaguars Vice President for analytics, compiling a smaller sample size than baseball (since baseball has been around for more than 150 years) but still trying to find some secrets in the numbers of the game.
That kind of statistical analysis has now come to basketball, filtering it’s way down from the NBA to elite college programs to high schools like Providence here in Jacksonville where the Stallions are deep into the study of the game through a program called “Krossover.”
“We used to have to go back and forth, fast forwarding through a DVD,” Brian Hoff, Assistant head coach of the Providence Boys basketball team said this week. “Now with just one click, we can see whatever we want.
Krossover is a program that uploads game video and breaks down each play on offense and defense, each player’s contribution, or lack thereof, and how much success a team is having at any point in the game. Whether it’s separating each possession they played man-to-man on defense or how many three pointers were scored in the 4th quarter, the program shows it all.
“Whenever I have a bad game, I can go look and see what I did wrong,” Milon Sheffield, a Stallions Sr. Guard told us at practice. “Sometimes you get exposed because you know on Krossover, they’re going to catch everything.”
At Providence they also discovered the unique difference between using the Krossover program for boys and for girls.
“You have to get past the ‘Oh I look fat’ and the ‘Oh my hair’s messed up,” said Gigi Bistrow, the Providence Girls basketball coach.
“You know you see yourself running down the court and you say, ‘Do I really run like that?” added Providence Jr. Guard Kaylee Davis. “But then you’re like, ‘I gotta focus on basketball.”
Bistrow says as a teaching tool, it’s been invaluable because of how it augments the fundamentals she’s trying to teach. “You can say you have to do this or you have to do that, but when they see it, they know, ‘That was me, I did that wrong and I need to fix it.'”
“After the game we go back and look at it and see the things we did well and they things we did wrong,” Davis added. “We definitely benefit from that.”