Monday, November 17, 2008

2008 Hoops Ideology

If you've not seen Luke Winn's "Hoops Ideology" report over on, it's worth checking out.

SI polled 341 colleges (301 responded) to gain insight into what college teams are doing in terms of the offense/defense they run, where they find their coaches, what shoes they wear, international recruiting, etc.

A few highlights:

-- 59.5 percent of teams plan to start three guards this season, and the average number of starting guards on all teams polled was 2.62.

-- Only five schools out of 301 reported plans to use a primarily four-guard attack: Brown, Delaware, Liberty, Navy and VMI.

-- Air Force was among the 5.3 percent of respondents in the Princeton Club -- those who either reported or are known to be running some version (either pure or modified) of Pete Carril's famed back-cutting, motion offense. The other 15 members (of 301 polled) are Brown, Colorado, Denver, Furman, Georgetown, Nicholls State, Northwestern, Oregon State, Princeton, Richmond, Sam Houston State, Samford, Vanderbilt, Western Carolina and William & Mary.

-- The Dribble-Drive Motion -- the en vogue offense concocted by current UMass assistant Vance Walberg and taken into the national spotlight by John Calipari -- is spreading, but it still has less market share than the Princeton. Seven of our 301 respondents (or 2.3 percent) reported running the DDM. (We're aware of at least two other non-responders running it, which would bump the overall Division-I percentage to, at minimum, 2.6.)

-- The Dribble-Drive offense has yet to hit the SEC, but the conference has its own brand of spread attacks. Billy Donovan runs the spread pick-and-roll at Florida -- and has his own DVD of it available. (Just $39.99!) Andy Kennedy runs a four-out, one-in spread attack with screening action in what he calls "waves," constantly trying to free up any of the 3-4 guards on the floor (with speedy sophomore Chris Warren being the focal point). "The premise," Kennedy said, is to take advantage of the Rebels' backcourt athleticism and "always be putting pressure on the paint."

-- An obscure offense that popped up in just two places in our survey -- both in the Southland Conference -- was the Buna, a simple, post-focused spread motion that Buna (Texas) High coach M.N. (Cotton) Robinson won seven state titles with in the 1950s and '60s.

-- We're still living in a man-to-man defensive world. Only 30 of 301 teams -- or 10 percent -- stated that their primary defense was some type of zone. Even Syracuse, which is widely thought of as the flagship 2-3 zone program, categorizes its defensive ideology as "man and 2-3 zone."

-- The NCAA's international players -- of whom UConn's Hasheem Thabeet (Tanzania) and St. Mary's Patty Mills (Australia) are the headliners -- tend to be clustered on the coasts. As you can see in this Google Map of the 21 survey respondents that had four or more international players on their rosters, only five of them (DePaul, Vanderbilt, Western Kentucky, Wyoming and Temple) were located in non-coastal states.

-- Davidson's international flavor is no fluke: Coach Bob McKillop estimates he's done 60 coaching clinics abroad, and has had 24 international players from 14 countries on his all-time roster. He's also put 30 former players into European professional leagues, creating a horde of unofficial scouts for the program. "My international network," said McKillop, "is rather extensive."

-- Teams were more likely to have an international player than they were a transfer from a four-year school. Our 301 respondents had an average of 1.19 four-year transfers on their rosters.

-- How exactly did Sacramento State build a roster of 15 juco transfers? By hiring an alum this offseason who had just spent 19 years coaching in the California juco system. New coach Bryan Katz brought in 12 new jucos this year alone, including four from his '07-08 roster at San Joaquin Delta College.

-- Nike is dominating the college hoops shoe war. Its market share was 72.1 percent, with 217 of our 301 respondents wearing the Swoosh. Adidas came in a distant second, with a market share of 26.2 percent. Seventy-nine of our 301 respondents reported wearing three-striped kicks. Under Armour -- which sponsors Brandon Jennings -- has entered into deals with Auburn, Loyola (Md.) and Maryland, although all three teams only wear Under Armour jerseys. Their sneakers come from Nike. The market share for Reebok, which was purchased by Adidas in 2005, was just 0.6 percent, or two of 301 teams. Converse (which is owned by Nike) had a market share in the survey of just 0.3 percent. New Balance actually has a market share equal to Reebok's, at 0.6 percent.

-- The most likely way to land a head-coaching job at a D-I school ... is to already be a head coach at a different D-I school. We were able to gather data for all 341 teams, which showed that 41.6 percent of coaches (142) were hired from other head-coaching positions.

-- The most likely way to land a head-coaching gig if you're an assistant ... is to jump ship to a different program. Our data shows that 37.5 percent (128-of-341) of head coaches were previously an assistant for a different team.