Ever wonder how and who those sports writers are who vote and rank your all-conference selections?
Unless it’s a media vote that goes off the reservation and against the grain from an obvious player(s) choice, sports writers are usually invisible to the selection process.
This may or may not be the case here.
This week the Mountain West basketball virtual media days are Wednesday and Thursday (Oct. 20th - 21st) and this beat writer explains his high-tech selection method for his official 2021 pre-season Mountain West ballot submission – along with some not-so-high-tech methods to come up with selections.
Our writing team would always like to know anyone’s methodology in deriving these lists that end up being gospel to many and can actually influence others in some way shape or form.
The quick science
It consists of up to three processing platforms: a Macbook Pro, iPad and iPhone11 that could be used all in one place, but mostly separately in different parts of the domicile, if you can imagine those scenarios.
Of course, Google, Twitter, YouTube and NCAA statistics are the main applications used across the board.
From there, a few obvious data points are organized onto a quick-and-dirty excel document, where one can easily filter, sort and compare.
That’s it for the high-tech part. Sounds like a lot of work, but for the geeks-at-heart, it’s relatively quick, though it spans casually over a short period of time.
From the above, you have to take into consideration various intangibles from style of play, cumulative 2020 performance (and some of 2019), surrounding players, coaches, and yes, even other analysts’ assessments.
The thought process only looks complicated when written out.
Also, it’s about putting forth an honest effort. Call it personal pride or useless information or both, but seeing it altogether helps.
In the end, somehow, your selections mostly still end up looking like the others?! Sigh...
Now, admittedly, covering SJSU does slant my views, as you’ll see below. Though usually, my assessments have been mostly correct though the timing is early, as it’s been on the football side of things over the years.
The slight preface to state in this basketball case is the new head coach Tim Miles factor for the Spartans - rightly so, as his reputation, record and effect clearly precede him.
All conference pre-selections
Looking at the ol’ trusty excel sheet. this one seemed easier from the rest of the selections -Bam, bam - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
But what also stood out is no San Diego State players, which were right next in line. Luckily, it isn’t anything but a number for the Aztecs, who’ll certainly be in the running again this season.
Player-of-the-year pre-season selection
They say cream rises to the top. It was a bit difficult between Nevada’s Grant Sherfield and Colorado State’s David Roddy and you can’t seemingly go wrong between them, but Roddy’s size, strength, sturdiness, versatility and output speaks volumes.
Freshman-of-the-year pre-season selection
This selection had an added dimension of actually watching SJS Spartan freshman Alvaro Carenes Torre at practice.
Maybe it was also the Ricky Rubio-ness potential, since Torre is also from Spain. Or maybe it was his already having international playing experience through under-19 and Spain league play that would seem to give him an edge.
Newcomer-of-the-year pre-season selection
Some of you may recall Eddie House from the NBA who played on several teams. House had a good long career and was known for his tough, gutsy playing style.
His son Jaelen is at New Mexico and he has that same DNA. In this case, expect first, stellar defensive play from the younger House, This former Arizona State guard could also equally lead an offensive resurgence for the Lobos.
Order of finish
Typically, the top teams in the front row are easiest to plot out, as most of us would expect. The middle is kind of the mosh pit that takes some thought to parse out and faces the most subjectivity and variation from others.
Here too is the main SJS Miles effect that pushes the Spartans a couple notches above most voters. It ‘s such a huge day and night difference in many ways at SJS basketball-land that it would honestly be a surprise if they finish the same way they’ve done the last few years, even in Miles’ year one.
Here’s to a great 2021-2022 season where we can hopefully expect at least three births to the tourney.