Player Analysis – Stephen Zimmerman by Amit Tailor
This article was originally featured on BasketballOutliers.Blogspot.com.
Let me take a moment to preface this post with the definition of an outlier. According to Wikipedia (I know, not the best place to find accurate information, but this will do), an outlier is an observation point that is distant from other observations. It may be due to variability in the measurement or it may indicate experimental error; the latter are sometimes excluded from the data set.
So let’s go ahead and explore some parts of this definition. Firstly – ‘an observation point that is distant from other observations.‘ I think most of the guys covered on this blog are exactly that in a few ways. The fine young men that are the subjects of this blog are observation points distant from other observations. The Power 5 schools get so much attention in the media, to the point where their data and player tracking is far more advanced at places like CBS Sports and ESPN. Go ahead, look up some games of Power 5 schools on ESPN and you’ll see something that looks like this:
Nice isn’t it? Also makes mining this data so easy when the shot locations are embedded in there. Must be nice to have all that money and all those resources where you don’t just have a few old folks who manually enter play by play and box score information manually during the game. Now let’s contrast this with some of the guys who are represented on this blog.
Not as much information there. So not only is an outlier an observation point distant from others, but maybe it’s also a point where not much attention has been paid, which is where the next part comes into play.
The second part of Wikipedia’s definition says ‘It may be due to variability in the measurement or it may indicate experimental error; the latter are sometimes excluded from the data set.’ So if we take the variability in measurement and experimental error parts, it sounds like that is exactly a lack of attention paid to these places and players, and they are definitely excluded from the data set.
Sorry for the long introduction here, but I wanted to get that out of the way before I introduce today’s post on UNLV center, Stephen Zimmerman. Now it’s arguable that this guy is an outlier. His pre-college resume looks something like this:
One final note – Yes, I realize there is a book by Malcolm Gladwell called Outliers and his case studies were a major inspiration for the name. One of the things he covers, that this blog doesn’t is how these kids grew up, their cultures, environments, experiences, and so on. I cannot speak to those things for these guys, but I do know they are outliers in the sense that the attention and exposure of the world to them is low. Maybe not for long though.