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Girmindl's Ghost

A diary of Shaker High School's 2005-2006 basketball season, a retelling of Shaker's fabled 1979-1980 season, and general commentary on high school hoops, updated daily...

"I like sitting in the back row. I found that sitting against the wall is just easier on your back." -Dean Smith, on the comfort of the H-gym bleachers

Stats attack...

Stats attack, press passes, and dickie V: A few items of interest today, none particularly serious or pressing, but three things I found reasonably interesting.

First item of the day: Reader Kevin W. alerted me to some interesting statistics that he found by using the Times Union stats page:
A quick look at the TU stats page showed that [as of Tuesday] Shaker was dead last in AA in threes (45), and way ahead of anyone else in free throws (272, CBA is next with 241). If you look at the 3-pt leaders, most of the teams at the top (save for Maginn and Columbia) are bad teams, they get behind early and start jacking up threes to try to come back. But the free throw leaders are interesting. The three top FT teams - Shaker, CBA, Maginn - are all top teams, but after that it's a mix of good and bad teams. For example, Amsterdam is in the pack right behind Maginn with 225 (most of them from Czeski), while Schenectady has only 194 and Nisky is among the last teams with 164. Now that I've written all this, I guess there is really no point to this, but it's still interesting to think about.
Thank, Kevin. Well, here's one point: I knew Shaker was more of a power team than a shooting/finesse team, but I didn't know it was that skewed. First in free throws and last in three pointers? Very surprising. And look, it's not a bad thing: they have the best inside player in the section, so it makes sense. And as Kevin points out, a lot of the best three point teams are bad teams that fall behind. But it definitely has altered my view of this year's team a bit.

The main reason it's so shocking to me is that Shaker has averaged more than two threes per game this year. I don't have the stats, but I bet 45 threes is not dead last 15 years ago. High school hoops has simply followed college hoops and become a game where the three point shot is very,very important. I can remember games in the 90's where nobody on either team made a three. Sure, it wasn't often, but it happened. If Shaker is making two a game and is last in the section, it's not happening ever these days.

The free throw shooting also surprised me. Sure, Brad gets to the line a ton, but did you ever think Shaker was more of a power-type team than CBA? Consider how the Big 10 has such a "rough" reputation, it's surprising to me that any Suburban team is near the top. But hey, this is a good thing. Especially since we shoot foul shots pretty well.

If anyone has any other interpretations of these stats, let me know.

Second item of the day: Press row on Sunday. I got confirmation today that I can have a seat there (and at Glens Falls/Pepsi), which is cool because it's right on top of the court. And because I can go to all the remaining games for free. That just means more money for Twix. On the other hand, it's kind of lame. As I've said before, I'm not going to sit there the whole game like some dispassioned TU reporter, especially if they have some rule like "press row people can't cheer." But I was thinking about whether there are any creative uses I could make of my seat on the row that would either be helpful to the team, helpful to the Shaker fans at the game, or helpful to this blog. I thought of a few things:

1) Live-blog the game: the upside to this is that people not at the game could follow it virtually real-time. The downside is that I'd have to sit there with my laptop, basically reducing me to reporter who doesn't give a shit. Plus I don't know if they have internet.

2) Take lots of great pictures: Obviously, I'll do this if I can remember my camera.

3) Douse myself in blue paint and lead cheers: See, this is exactly what I would have done with this kind of access 10 years ago. Just make an absolute spectacle and hopefully pump the team and the fans up. Obviously, this is why they don't give press passes to the 6th man. Unfortunately, my maturity has probably moved me beyond this. At least for the quarterfinals. All bets are off for the sectional finals state tournament.

4) Scream at the TU writers on the row: I mean, come on fellas. Did anyone read the Times Union yesterday? They covered every single game from Wednesday night except the Shaker game. At least they had the boxcore on line. Oh wait, they f!@#$% that up too. And in the worst way possible: they denied Bodgan his hoop. Let the record show that I got four emails today about that mess-up. So yeah, I plan on saying my peace Sunday afternoon.

Anyway, that's what I came up with. I'll probably go down there for pre-game and then maybe a quarter or two, take pictures and see what it's like to be a real reporter. If anyone has any great ideas for manipulating my access into something cool, drop me an email. I'm open to all suggestions, serious journalistc ones and crazy fan stunts alike.

Third item of the day: My brother-in-law Pete '02 (who goes to college in Boston) and I had this email exchange yesterday. First, I get this email from him yesterday morning:
I was watching the GT vs. Duke game last night and Dicky V. mentioned something about GT's great recruiting class that included "a kid from New York, Sheehaaan (hard second a)". Pretty funny to hear Vitale mention a Shaker dude. Actually, I guess its pretty funny when he says anything.
How true. And not a bad mention for Brad, either. Maybe Vitale will start calling him a "diaper-dandy" next year. Pete's email also reminded me of when Perkins was at Carolina, only because my pops would go crazy every time he'd be on the foul line on TV and they'd show either "Shaker High" or "Latham, NY" next to his name. I mean, totally bonkers. It would literally make his day. And it wasn't just my dad. Everyone around town would go ga-ga to see it. It was like our whole town was on the foul line, not Sam. As a kid, I was totally into it, but looking back on it, it's actually pretty absurd. Then again, back in 1982 there was only like 1 college basketball game on TV each week, so I guess it was a bigger deal. Anyway, I responded to Pete with this email:
Shaker beat the crap out of Queensbury last night in the first round of sectionals. At the point the starters left the game (early 3rd quarter), it was 41-14.
To which Pete had this to say:
That's a pretty solid victory. We used to beat up on them pretty bad in the Shaker Invitational Tournament in soccer too. Good way to get some early season wins.
Let me translate that last email for you: "Sure, they won big. But everybody wins big over Queensbury, even Shaker soccer, which has historically sucked. So don't think this means they are going to steamroll through the rest of sectionals without giving you a heart attack along the way."

And hey - that's a good reminder. We need a good effort on Sunday. One win at a time. Because no one wants to go the movies on Monday.
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