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By Paul Mesecke | Men's Rankings (PER) from U18 National Championships

After the great response from our PER rankings from the U20 Championships, we have decided that this might be just as useful for the U18 Championships (this tournament includes the best class of 2018-2020 talent in Australia) so we can track how they change over time, as these players move up into the U20 Championship. We feel that these PER rankings and commentary will provide value to players, coaches in the tournament, observers nationally and US College coaches looking to find Aussie talent.

We are aware of the sensitivity of naming a player under the age of 18 and as such we only name the top 20 players from the tournament, rather than data for all players. We are merely taking the stats for players already named on the BA website and applying what we consider to be a more balanced statistical analysis than scoring and rebounding titles.

Again, we are using a purely statistical analysis to avoid perceived bias bought about purely from opinion. We are using the same ranking system from the previous tournament, where the stats for everyone are weighted and then by the number of minutes each individual player has on the court. We think that this is the best method of avoiding some players being involved in more games, or as we have seen in this tournament, players missing large parts of a game due to early injury. This is then adjusted for each team’s individual pace of play.

Plus, as coaches ourselves, we wouldn’t want players focused on their stats, but rather on doing what their coach asks to help their team win. This can especially be true of isolated scoring titles being used as a basis of performance, which Basketball Australia provide through livestats. PER emphasises efficiency and can be adjusted for minutes played and pace of game and is negatively affected by those players taking and missing a lot of shots. It is very interesting that the top 3 teams also had the bulk of the highest-ranking players, showing that the players with the highest PER rankings contribute to WINNING.

Pictured: Winners of the tournament, Vic Metro, makeup the majority of players in the PER top 20.

One of the coaches in this tournament (Coach Janx) is a participating member of this site. As such we are again taking the exact same analysis method that we will use in all championships. Whilst Janx has raised some questions about how to provide this information due to the age of the athletes, we felt it important that he doesn’t have any input into the analysis of the PER data. Despite our combined concerns, we believe that this would provide value to the players, coaches and observers of the Championship.

Looking at those players who have made the top 20 for this tournament there are some trends that we can see developing. The U18 tournament has far more players and teams, and initially we believed that there would be a closer gap for those players in the top 20. What I have observed is that for this tournament, those players towards the top had a significantly higher PER than the next tier of players. In fact, the large majority of players in the tournament were in 5 – 15 range, showing the tournament had a balanced, deep contribution.

Having previously seen some of these players in action, we can hopefully say that those at the upper end in the top 20 are future high level players. Whilst they all logged significant minutes and had starring roles in their teams, they maintained their efficiency. Statistical analysis method reward those players who have a positive impact in all aspects of the game. They rebounded and scored well, but also had positive contributions from assists, blocks, steals etc.

Pictured: Kody Stattman dominated for the eventual runners up, Queensland North.

Pictured: Sam Froling paired with Stattman and both dominated for the eventual runners up, Queensland North.

The second tier of players where those who had a large impact but had one positive aspect generally missing. Either they scored well but didn’t rebound in great numbers. Or didn’t have the number of assists, block and steals of those above them. But the one thing all the top 20 did have in common was that they have a True Shooting percentage above 0.500, with 12 of them being above 0.600. True Shooting percentage is calculated by dividing total point by 2 x total number of field goals plus 0.44 x total number of free throws and widely considered by experts to be a better representation than shooting capability than raw FG%.

Those players in the middle tier between 5 and 15 PER often had something that they did very well, but did poorly in most other areas. We saw several players who scored very well, but their efficiency badly affected their overall PER. Taking a lot of shots will push your points per game numbers up, but this won’t benefit PER. Missing too many shots can negatively affect some individuals overall score.

One thing we did notice that was different at the U18 tournament that may have effected some individuals score were the nature of the pools. One pool looked to have been significantly deeper and more difficult that the other. This could have the potential to decrease the score of one side of the pool to the other, and while pace adjustments help, it may not have benefited all teams equally.

Hopefully over the next 2 or 3 years that these players are involved in tournaments we can see how they perform. But from looking at this tournaments numbers, we have some bright prospects in the works.

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