Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Size doesn't matter. Really.

NCAA tourneyOnce again it's tournament time. The NCAA men's basketball tournament always seems to bring MoneyLaw themes to the fore. This year is no exception.

Consider this statistical study (.pdf download) by Scout.com of the factors that let talented players elude the major college teams of the six power conferences and slip down, so to speak, to the midmajors:
Skinny ballplayer: Kawhi LeonardPerhaps the most telling analysis in the study comes from how to judge a player’s frame. Midmajor big men are often viewed a tick off by powerhouse programs. Be it too short, too skinny or too weak, there is always something holding them back. Guards may be too short or slow. Forwards may not have the proper size to be considered a power forward or the proper skills to be considered a small forward. . . .

[The study concludes] that midmajor programs should evaluate physical attributes differently.

“It seems that, for guards, size in both directions isn’t correlated with success. . . . For forwards, rather than needing both height and bulk, one or the other is enough if the other skills are there.”
Different sport, same result. The mismeasure of athletes — and presumably of students, lawyers, and professors as well — is a long-running theme in MoneyLaw. Some of the funniest passages in Michael Lewis's Moneyball (2004) involve the laughably misguided reliance of baseball scouts on their visual evaluation of prospects' physiques:
Fat ballplayerWhatever happened when an older man who failed to become a big league star looks at at a younger man with a view to imagining whether he might become a big league star, Billy [Beane] wanted nothing more to do with it. He'd been on the receiving end of the dreams of older men and he knew what they were worth. Over and over the old scouts will say, "The guy has a great body," or, "This guy may have the best body in the draft." And every time they do, Billy will say, "We're not selling jeans here," and deposit yet another highly touted player, beloved by the scouts, onto his shit list. [Id. at 31.]
Or even more crudely:
Fat ballplayer[Quoting Paul DePodesta:] "You know what gets me excited about a guy? I get excited about a guy when he has something about him that causes everyone else to overlook him and I know that it is something that just doesn't matter." When Brant Colamarino removes his shirt for the first time in an A's minor league locker room he inspires his coaches to inform Billy that "Colarmarino has titties." Colamarino ... does not look the way a young baseball player is meant to look. Titties are one of those things that just don't matter in a ballplayer. Billy's only question for the coaches was whether a male brassiere should be called a "manzier" or a "bro." [Id. at 116-17.]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a shame, but this blog has become moribund (or worse).

The regular references to "Cardinal Pride" were the beginning of the end. And all that talk about what a great leader Rick Pitino was. Funny, that talk seems to have stopped. And not a single explanation about why.

Dean Chen squandered a good opportunity with his partisan contributions to this blog.

I'm all finished with it.

3/17/2010 5:17 PM  

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