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Behind the Scenes: How Player Tracking and Data-Driven Performance Evaluation is Transforming Basketball at Furman University

As an abundance of statistics and technology infiltrates the daily vernacular of the sports industry, it can be challenging to bridge the gap between analysis and impact. At KINEXON, we strive to collaborate with partners on both the professional and collegiate level to not only collect data but to transform numbers into actions that enable a sport’s most valuable asset: the players on the court.

KINEXON Furman University NCAA College Basketball

Author: Gregory Bernstein

Led by fifth year seniors Mike Bothwell and Jalen Slawson, the time for the men’s basketball team at Furman University to take the next step is now. For a mid-major program battling in a one-bid league, the emphasis for the Paladins is on peaking at the Southern Conference tournament and being physically prepared to make the extra play that could earn them their first NCAA tournament bid since 1980

KINEXON and Player Tracking at Furman 

The journey for this group of players and coaching staff towards perfecting their preparation methodologies has been underway for several years. After a successful regular season in the 2019 – 20 campaign, Furman suffered a disappointing loss in the opening round of their conference tournament. 

In collaboration with head strength coach Matt Aldred, KINEXON analyzed both game and practice tracking data and identified that some of the season’s most strenuous work load had been sustained on the practice court in the days leading up to their final game. 

Armed with a full season of collected data to define expected work load ranges for both games and practice, Aldred and staff were able to make adjustments to practice plans beginning in the pre-season and continuing throughout conference play, helping their players peak for the games that mattered most. 

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Matt Strength & Conditioning Coach Furman College Basketball

We saw a massive difference from year 1 to year 2. After collecting data for a year, we were able to quantify in-play demands and what an easy, medium, or hard day should look like in terms of work load, which allowed us to tailor our practice schedule for the days leading up to a game. Coach (Bob Richey) would consider our input because we had the numbers to back up what everyone was seeing on the court.

Matt Aldred, Furman Basketball Head S&C Coach

After navigating the pandemic, Furman emerged as a top contender last season. Finishing second in the Southern Conference regular season, the Paladins were four seconds away from beating Chattanooga in the tournament finals before an overtime buzzer beater brought their season to an abrupt end. The moment was a reminder that there are small margins between winning and losing and any one play can make the difference. 

Which Metrics Can Make a Difference to Guide Players to Peak Performance 

The importance of making the extra effort is something Coach Bob Richey has instilled in the culture at Furman. The team acknowledges Energy Giving Behaviors (EGB’s) made by each player during a practice and game; although these behaviors don’t show up on the stat sheet through points or rebounds, they still significantly contribute to helping the team win. 

Richey places a constant emphasis on personal growth and giving best effort every time the players step on the court. With KINEXON’s IMU technology, we quantify the physical Exertions that go into this pursuit of best effort. 

Using our​“Exertions” metric, Furman trains and prepares their players to perform the power required for driving through a double team or the explosiveness needed to dive for a loose ball. In addition, the coaching staff relies on this metric to monitoring if players are approaching the hardest in-game demands with the appropriate frequencies in practice sessions.

In addition, KINEXON works with Furman to identify differences in physical output between offense and defense, challenging players to perform with the same level of intensity on both sides of the floor. 

Gregory Performance Data Scientist KINEXON

By quantifying in-game demands and contextualizing tracking data in terms of on-court performance, KINEXON helps players maximize their potential and gives your team a competitive edge.

Gregory Bernstein, Performance Data Scientist at KINEXON

Take a look behind the scenes of Furman Basketball and learn how KINEXON has helped to achieve measurable growth and make notable improvements

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