To: Christine Rawak
Time: May 19, 9:00 am
Subject: Delaware Men’s Basketball Coaching Application
We are writing in regards to the men’s basketball coaching position at the University of Delaware. We realize our correspondence comes rather late, as the opening became available two months ago. However, given that you are now the only D-I team left without a head coach, we feel it safe to assume that the most obvious candidates have not worked out. Thus, please accept our application to be Delaware’s coaching staff for the 2016-17 season.
In case you missed it (what with the new job and all), an excellent book was released this month: The Only Rule Is It Has To Work. In that book, two online writers who specialize in statistical analysis were put in charge of personnel and strategy for an independent-league baseball team. They brought innovative research and tactics to their franchise, ultimately finishing in second place after leading their league until the final weekend. We believe we can do the same for Delaware basketball.
John will be our head coach and fearless leader, of course. Ray will be our top recruiter, hopping from gym to gym with Golden Bally in search of overlooked talent. Vinny and Ryan will round out the assistant coach slots, while I will enroll as a graduate assistant, turning film into shot charts until my eyes bleed.
What we lack in coaching experience, we make up for in creativity: Unlike coaches who come up the traditional ladder, we won’t be afraid to try brand-new things. With only four players under scholarship and most 2016 prospects off the market, your program will need some out-of-the-box strategies to succeed.
Here’s a sampling of our ideas:
Change the Recruiting Game: There are studies that show guards are much more ready to play than forwards or centers. Thanks to the “transfer epidemic” (which isn’t really one at all), there are lots of fifth-year transfers and regular transfers who might want to move up a level. Let’s take advantage of that: We’ll only recruit guards out of high school, filling our big man roles by acquiring veteran players through alternative means. -John
The Outlier Offense: Steph Curry made history this season by hitting more than half his shots from 30+ feet. We aren’t going to find another Steph Curry, but we can lure a top-tier shooter by giving him the ultimate green light: He’ll spot up 35 feet from the basket, guaranteeing wide-open looks, and the rest of our lineup will be filled with Quinnipiac-style rebounders. If our ace shoots just 25% and we rebound 40%+ of his misses, we’ll score at least a point per possession. When the defense eventually sends someone out to guard him, our team will have a huge experience advantage, having exclusively practiced offense 4-on-4. -Kevin
Need for Speed: Let’s bring old-school Loyola Marymount back! We’ll tweak it a little, but we’ll find undervalued guards who can shoot a little and just bomb away and pressure the crap out of the opponent, West Virginia-style. We’ll aim for 50 3-point attempts per game like the Sacramento State women, who have had remarkable improvement (even though it seemed to peak a little last year). You’d think a graduate transfer or someone overlooked that can shoot would love it. (Gotta shoot a little better than 29 percent, though.) -Ray
Above the Rim: We’ll scour the world for five 7’2″ guys, and have them pass the ball back and forth up the court for easy layups (hey, nobody says you have to dribble, right!?). And think of the rebounding numbers! -Vinny
Positionless Basketball: Plenty of guards who are excellent rebounders and defenders are undervalued because they’re not great shooters. We’ll pair them with big men who are great shooters, but are overlooked because they’re maybe a little skinny. By inverting the basketball court on offense, we’ll force uncomfortable matchups without giving up too much on the other end. -John
Disrupting Rhythm: Ivy League teams complain about shooting in cavernous Jadwin Gym, whose unique sightlines give Princeton a massive home-court advantage. By designing our arena with vision in mind, we can do even better. We’ll put optical illusions behind each basket and funhouse mirrors on the side walls. Our student section will use scientifically optimal distraction methods, not just for free throws but on all outside shots. We’ll even paint the out-of-bounds area to look like water, with sharks poking out to make players think twice about diving for loose balls. Our team will get used to the arena’s quirks by practicing there every day, but opponents won’t even know where they are. -Kevin
Consider this just a taste of the innovation we can bring to your program. Thanks for your time, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.
The Big Apple Buckets team