By Paul Mesecke | Top 20 women's ranking at the 2018 U20 Australian National Championships


PICTURED: Paul Mesecke, an Associate of www.highperformancehoopsnetwork.com, and supporting girl's basketball for our platform, provides PER rankings for U18 and U20 boys and girls National Championships in Australia. He is also currently the Head Coach for Fastbreak Basketball Club in Singapore. Formerly he has been Assistant Coach with the U23 National Men's team, Australian Institute of Sport Scholarship Assistant Coach and South Australian State Head Coach.

Preface....

Now we have had the dust settle from our men's U20 rankings. This time it is the U20 Women's turn. We have analysed, processed and compiled information from the U20 National Championships to formulate the top 20 PER Rankings from the championships on the Women's side of the competition.

Australian youth women's basketball is up there with the best in the world. The top athletes in the country consistently go to high major colleges or straight to professional ranks. The current crop of talent at this year's U20 National Championships could well be up there with some of the best we have had from Australia, if we look at the fact that they won gold at U17 World Champs last year.

Paul also provides new readers and audience insights on how these rankings are compiled. We even managed to catchup with star player, Jasmine Simmons, also the leader in the rankings, to get her thoughts on the championships and her bronze medal winning New South Wales team.

A great read for athletes, families and supporters of the championships. Coaches around Australia involved throughout our sporting pathways may also like to see how athletes they coached, or coached against, fared. For college and professional coaches looking to recruit these athletes it gives some better clarity and comparisons than standard statistics. Throughout these articles we hope to educate athletes and families throughout Australia on the importance of striving to represent their state at these championships,. We also will typically provide useful insights from the top players taking part on the kind of team values and mindset they have; how much they value their team mates, determination to succeed, overcoming adversity, their team success and hard work.

PICTURED: U17 World Championships Champions in 2017. The top 20 rankings include Jasmine Simmons, Rebecca Pizzey, Miela Goodchild, Jazmin Shelley, Kiera Rowe, Lara McSpadden, Cassidy Mclean all of whom played in this champion team. Pic source: FIBA

Over to Mesecke.....

As promised, here is the next edition of the PER Blog for national championships, and the first time we are doing one for the women’s competition. We will follow up with one for the U18 Girls tournament as well.

Being the first time, we are looking at the girls, with a potential new and different group of readers, it’s probably advisable to explain how our PER works and what the strengths and weaknesses are for players evaluation.

This process came about after we were discussing a method to better evaluate players without using the bias of individual coaches. As we are planning on doing this for all U20 and U18 tournaments, we wouldn’t have been able to have the same person at each tournament rank players and to get an accurate ranking. Plus, for National Championships, some games are played at different venues and/or at similar times. Whilst you can probably understand who the top 20 players are, ranking them in order would be very difficult and bound by individual opinion.

PICTURED: Australian National Championships. These Championships include a team from each state. Players are selected from across basketball programs in each state after an extensive trials process. Pic source: www.basketball.net.au

So, we started looking at the different stats which provided possible ranking for players, some such as the Hollinger PER are overly complex, and we would not be able to find all the stats. While real plus/minus stats are open to much static due to team strength and various line-up changes.

We came up with a rating system that weighted at statistical data, both positive and negative, and added these figures to come up with a singular number for each individual player. We noticed that those players with higher court time ended up having the higher numbers, so we then went and divided their number by their court time to adjust for opportunities during the tournament. They adjusted for court time and gave as a significantly more important number for each individual player. We call this number the uPER (unadjusted PER).

The linear weighted uPER for each individual player;

(FGM x 85.91 + Steals x 53.897 + 3PM x 51.757 + FTM x 46.845 + Blocks x 39.19 + O Reb x 39.19 + D Reb x 14.707 – FT missed x 20.091 – FG missed x 39.19 – T/O’s x 53.897) x 1 / Total Minutes Played

We then needed to adjust for each individual team and their pace. With some teams playing a quick tempo and other playing more half court basketball, there needed to be an adjustment for the number of possessions each team had over the tournament.

The linear aPER

2 x league PPG / (team PPG + opp PPG)

When we get the real Player Efficiency Rating (rPER) by

uPER x aPER

We are of the opinion, that given the available stats, and the nature of the tournament. rPER is the best statistic that we can come up with to rank all players from the tournament.

There are issues with this kind of analysis and the relatively small sample size of games. Obviously not all players have the same opportunities over the tournament nor similar roles. Some players are the focus of the team’s offence, and even the NBA still has trouble using stats to decide who is the best defender. Whilst some may argue that playing for a strong team could benefit your rPER, or playing more minutes could do the same, over the past three tournaments we’ve seen players with the highest rPER come from teams at different final positions and having played different amounts of court time.

For the 2018 U20 Women’s tournament, the top 20 had a much larger divergence in scores than for the boys. The top person had a PER of 27.88 and only finished top after adjusting for the pace of play for her team, while the 20th was at 12.87 and 5 players had negative rPER. Not unsurprisingly VIC who won the tournament had 8 of their players in the top 20 while the top 2 scores came from players in teams finishing with a medal where they obviously had large role, not dis-similar to the2018 U20 boy’s highest scorer. What we also noticed from looking at effective field goal percentage (eFG%) players with higher rates dominate the top 20 while some high scorers shot so poorly that their missed shots cost them a spot.

Whilst still not perfect, and only a score from an individual point in time, which doesn’t guarantee future success, we feel it is the best single way of comparing players over a tournament.

At www.highperformancehoopsnetwork.com we feel the PER leader this year is truly a world class elite prospect. Jasmine Simmons, this years U20 National Champs leader, has recently committed to Oregon State University in the Pac12. She was previously selected to FIBA's All Star 5 at the U17 World Championships, is ranked by ESPN as 7th best international recruit and the number 1 shooting guard in the class. She is a product of the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence at the Australian Institute of Sport, originally from the regional town of Broken Hill. She also spent a brief time playing in South Australia for Central Districts Lions.

When asked about her last National Championship before she begins the next part of her career at Oregon State University, Jasmine spoke fondly of her team mates and their team values as the major reasons for her team’s successful tournament.

“These nationals were a bit different as it marks the close on majority of our junior careers of representing our state, but that's what made it more special. As a group we played to our strengths, ran the floor hard and just enjoyed our time together. We collectively chose to play for each other and I think that was evident throughout the tournament. We had a crack at the Vic’s who we fell short to in OT, but I believe that fuelled our fire to go after the next best medal, the bronze, which we did successfully. The coaching staff was great. The individual investments they made really helped with confidence within the group which I think was the backbone to our success. We stuck by the goals and values we set, during the week and the lead up to, which is what made wearing the baby blue that little bit more monumental”

PICTURED: One of the best female prospects in the world in this age group, Jasmine Simmons, led the tournament in PER rankings. PIc Source: Oregon State University.

Congratulations to all those in the top 20 and especially to Jasmine Simmons and Miela Goodchild for outstanding tournaments.

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