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Drew Ellis covers Oakland University basketball for The Oakland Press. His news and notes keep you up to date with Golden Grizzlies men's basketball.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Greg Kampe matches ‘Moneyball’ with gut instinct

While Sabermetrics and other new-fangled stat interpretation consumes modern scouting and coaching strategies, Oakland coach Greg Kampe doesn’t bother himself with those. After more than 30 years of coaching, he goes by his gut instinct and a few tried-and-true statistics.
“I’m not into that. The only numbers that matter to me are our points per possession and our points given up per possession, and our turnover rate,” Kampe said on WXOU’s “The Greg Kampe Show” Jan. 17.
“I’ve got every game I’ve ever been a part of for 34 years in the business, and those stats usually ring pretty true.”
Kampe boasted he can calculate a team’s overall record with relative certainty based on those stats above.
“All that other stuff, I don’t really care about that,” he said.
Kampe added field goal percentage, which Oakland has much improved in its past four games to the tune of 45 percent, are key. He also noted rebounding margins play a factor. The Grizzlies’ is currently a lean -0.3 after the spoils of the Keith Benson-Will Hudson era.
“You can be the greatest defensive team in the world, but if you can’t rebound the ball,” Kampe said. “We’ve found, statistically, that most people shoot about 40 percent on the first shot. The second shot raises it to 60 percent and third to 80 percent.”
The 28-year Oakland coach said marketers of various statistic analysis programs try to lure him to the dark side.
“I don’t need shot charts to tell me what’s going on,” Kampe said. “All I have to do is look at that. … When I grab a stat sheet before I go talk to my team, I look at field goal percentage and rebounds. What I really pay attention to is minutes played. I want to study what I’ve done as a coach. Then I look to see what they’re doing. Your strategy is based on your players. I have a tendency to keep my best players on the floor probably longer than I should. It’s a bad tendency.“
The talk about statistical analysis came after the show’s hosts, Bryan Everson and Matt Pocket, asked Kampe about the Grizzlies’ program on Fox Sports Detroit, in which Kampe described his workaholic in-season schedule which doesn’t leave much, if any, time for sleep.
“When you’re in this business and the margin of victory is so slim, you want to know everything there is,” he said. “I’m just not a guy that, analytically, can look at all that stuff. I will sit there and see all that and it will weigh on me. ‘What does this mean?’ I’ll spend so much of my time  trying to figure it out and I’ll never be able to sleep.”
Kampe said he’s willing to listen to “new” info, but “I know if we’re scoring 1.07 points per possession, we ’aint gonna win.”
Numbers like that during the Grizzlies’ six-game skid led Kampe to diagnose their offense as the main culprit.

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