How do you beat a blue blood – even better, three in a row in the NCAA tournament? Obviously, Auburn University has provided the blueprint. They have powered their way into the final four in an unprecedented bracket breaker barrage, toppling three iconic blue bloods: KU, North Carolina, and Kentucky (the three winningest programs in NCAA D-1 history). Sure, skilled players, great coaching, and a little good fortune to get the opportunity help, but there are some objective intangibles that may provide deeper insight.
Auburn is this year’s NCAA Basketball Combine Champion. Okay, you may be asking: What is the NCAA Basketball Combine Championship? How did I miss this breaking news? This is the team that combines winning with the best athletic testing numbers.
Being the era of “big data rules,”, this is obviously just one factor, but an important one that helped. Let’s take a deeper look into how the champion is crowned.
The guardian of this objective measurement is BAMTesting (Basic Athletic Measurement) and the BAMScore. BAM’s clients include: the NBA, top tier D-1 teams (from all Power Five Conferences), International and elite AAU programs. For more than a decade, BAM has compiled the most extensive athletic database for youth, college, and professional basketball players (BAM has the largest standardized testing database for basketball in the world). All of this data goes into the algorithm to help athletes benchmark, compare, categorize, and in this case choose a champion.
“The goal is simple,” says Brett Brungardt, Co-Founder and creator of the BAM ProDay, “we administer standardized, reliable tests, using the latest technology.”
The combine uses specific tests to measure performance parameters:
Once tested the results are given a BAMScore. The BAMScore is a proprietary index for measuring and improving athletic performance. It is the "athletic SAT" score. BAM has leveraged proprietary technology with 30 years of coaching and research to give athletes, coaches, and trainers a truly objective, standardized method for assessing development and performance. NBA teams also mine this data to create their unique version of the secret sauce. In 2017 Auburn’s Basketball Strength and Conditioning Coach Damon Davis brought in BAMTesting “I was interested in BAM’s standardized testing and accessing their database” says Davis
To help us see the game through the lens of sports science, BAM uses the BAMScore to break down the numbers and explain why this Auburn team was a blue blood bully.
Data Breakdown: Auburn vs. The Rookie Combine
First Point: BAM is just the proctor, so at Auburn the credit for these numbers goes to the athletes and their Strength and Conditioning Coach Damon Davis. These athletes and their coach have spent on average 2.7 years developing these attributes which laid the foundation for their success. When comparing these numbers to a decade of NBA Rookie Combine Results it is clear that Auburn has developed a very athletic basketball team.
Vertical Jump BAMScore™
NBA draft class: 435
Approach vertical BAMScore™
NBA draft class: 439
¾ Court Spring BAMScore™
NBA draft class: 423
Reaction Shuttle BAMScore™
NBA draft class: 415
4-Way Agility Drill BAMScore™
NBA Draft Class: 403
NBA Draft Class: 2054
How to Watch the Game Like a Sports Scientist
With this data you can watch the game in a new way, noticing a player’s agility as he changes direction, or his reaction when he takes a charge. You can exclaim at the bar that you’re not surprised as the Auburn defense reacts and makes perfect defensive rotation, considering the athleticism displayed by the total BAMScore. Knowing the number can help you see the blending of game skills and the athleticism.
BAM will begin the 2019 NBA draft analysis at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament April 17, America’s oldest Combine. https://www.portsmouthinvitational.com/