Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

A small three-year-old company called Krossover is able to take basketball game film — digital video, really — and transform it into advanced metrics — for a couple thousand dollars a season, a price high-school teams can afford:

The company is the peculiar vision of Vasu Kulkarni, a 25-year-old computer whiz and basketball junkie from Bangalore, India, who developed a program that helps human analysts quickly break down game film. [...] His system works with a small army of 80 remote analysts scattered across the U.S., Europe and India.

He began showing up at coaching clinics and scholastic sports conventions in 2010 to pitch his product. After testing it with 50 teams during the 2010-11 season, he capped orders at 475 this season. “I swear I had people offering to bake me cookies if they could get on the system,” he said.

For the maximum rate of $2,000 per season, a sum that’s usually footed by parents and booster clubs through fund raising, Krossover sends back analyzed game film within 24 hours, plus breakdowns on a set number of films of their opponents. Other less-expensive packages are available.

When the report comes back, often the morning after a game, coaches can click on a player’s number and view video of every play he was involved in, as well as intimate measures of his performance that include a breakdown of where his assists were received: close to the rim, for instance, or in the paint or out near the three-point line.

For each unit of players, there is something called the pace of play, which is an estimate of how many possessions they’ll have per game. Another statistic Krossover compiles is effective field-goal percentage (or eFG%), a weighted formula that adjusts for the difficulty of the shots taken. “It’s just a massive time-saver,” said Patrick Geil, head coach of the boys basketball team at San Joaquin Memorial in Fresno, Calif.

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