Building a Better Basketball Offense, Part 7: All of Our Friends

Final words and thank yous

When I started this series in May, I genuinely did not expect it to be too big of a thing. I was excited to give it a shot and live out a dream I’ve had for three years, but my general goal was to see if 10 coaches in America would agree to an interview. Whether anyone would actually read this was an area of low expectations. How many people have a genuine interest in reading about how a college in Missouri is running ball screens?

Apparently, a lot of people do. This series has blown past my meager expectations! Collectively, the posts are at around 5,000 views and over 2,000 unique visitors. Coaches that I’ve called for interviews have remarked at how helpful the posts have been for them. To step back for a minute, I’m a 25-year-old white guy that didn’t even play varsity basketball in middle school. My one unique talent – taking statistics and making them readable, with video clips to support – is, uh, not new. And yet: the support for this series has been immense. Thank you to EVERYONE that has read, shared, or liked these posts. I will never forget this summer.

Another fun fact: this post alone blew past the goal of 10 coach interviews. Overall, I interviewed 27 different coaches this summer, with 24 of them coaching at something other than a Division I men’s basketball team. (Two coach at Division I women’s basketball programs.) My hope was that this series would cover offenses that have slipped through the cracks in media coverage; largely, this came to fruition. The coaches’ assistance in this project is greatly appreciated, and it would not have been possible without their help and generosity.

A sincere and joyful thank you to the following coaches, in order of date of interview, for giving me a chance to pick their brains and being willing to consent to something as crazy as this:

Bob Williams (formerly West Virginia Tech; he retired shortly after our interview, which may be a bad omen), Eric Bridgeland (Whitman), Ben McCollum (Northwest Missouri), Kelly Graves (Oregon women’s basketball), Pat McKenzie (Saint John’s (MN)), Dale Wellman (Nebraska Wesleyan), Ben Howlett (West Liberty), Mike Helfer (Valdosta State), Brian Ayers (Belmont assistant), Scott Davenport (Bellarmine), Dwaine Osborne (Charleston (WV)), Joe Mihalich (Hofstra), Mike Farrelly (Hofstra assistant), Dave Niland (Penn State Behrend), Kari Pickens (Ashland women’s basketball), Jason Zimmerman (Emory), Greg Tonagel (Indiana Wesleyan), Mark Svagera (Briar Cliff), Pryor Orser (Colorado Mines), Paul Sather (formerly Northern State, now North Dakota), Mike Schauer (Wheaton), Dr. George Barber (Greenville), Jeff Hans (Thomas More women’s basketball), Tim Koenig (formerly Notre Dame (OH), now Fairmont State), Tim Miser (Southwestern (KS) assistant), Jim Sykes (Morningside), and Lisa Bluder (Iowa women’s basketball).

Thanks to this series, I’ve met a lot of people I never would have crossed paths with otherwise. Apparently, I have a lot of fans in places I wouldn’t have expected, either. (The state of West Virginia as a whole ended up topping this list.) While I’m still previewing every Tennessee basketball game this 2019-20 season, I now have new places to visit and check out. With a little luck, I might be seeing your team play this January or February. Stay on lookout for fun things like that coming in the future. For now: time to rest.

As always, there is a document available with full interview transcriptions and GIFs; click here to see it. To reach me with a comment, question, concern, or a T-shirt (size M) in response to this piece, please email statsbywill@gmail.com. Thank you for reading.

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