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1926 Catholic University basketball team

For shame!

I must admit that I have been very distracted in regards to my blogging duties – but, fear not, as this is not indicative of my basketball research projects. Quiet the contrary!

I have continued my research into old, defunct leagues. Thanks to the phenomenal work at APBR.org and Total Basketball: The Ultimate Basketball Encyclopedia, I’ve discovered a list 90+ long of non-NBA leagues that operated in America from 1899 to the present day. That is a stats smorgasbord! Now, not every league comes with complete stats – or even complete standings – but there’s a surprising amount of data out there and it’s been a ridiculous amount of fun pouring through it all.

Just to be comprehensive, the leagues I have gone through to date now include the National Basket Ball League (1899-1904), Philadelphia Basket Ball League (1903-1909), New England Basketball League (1904), Western Massachusetts Basketball League (1904), Western Pennsylvania Basketball League (1904), New England Basketball Association (1905), Central Basket Ball League (1907-1912), Eastern Basket Ball League (1910-1918), Hudson River League (1910-1912), New England League (1947-1948), Pacific Coast Professional Basketball League (1947-1948), All-America Professional Basketball League (1948), and Southern Basketball League (1948-1949).

There’s still plenty more to go through – and I’m still not finished with what I’d like to do with the leagues I have researched. The next big get would be to find a copy of The Compendium of Professional Basketball by Robert D. Bradley – which looks to be yet another treasure trove of basketball data. I’ll update you all when I finally manage to get a copy (hopefully for way less than the $900 current asking price!).


  1. Math2
    Feb 11, 2013 @ 20:38:10

    Wow, that’s pretty ambitious….My 5 minute internet search churned up nothing as to where to find a cheaper copy of the book…I’ll keep my eye open tho


  2. Stan
    Feb 11, 2013 @ 23:57:40

    Ha thanks. I even roped in the author of the book to help me find a decent priced one!


  3. Math2
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 15:56:00

    Did you try the publisher too?


    • Stan
      Feb 26, 2013 @ 11:41:53

      Believe it or not, I got lucky and came across a copy. It should arrive any day now … very exciting news!


      • Math2
        Feb 26, 2013 @ 15:24:02

        Nice! Where’d you find it?


        • Stan
          Feb 26, 2013 @ 18:20:42

          Just worked with the author to find a copy. I was really sweating there for a while, though!


  4. Rich
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 21:07:38

    Hey Stan, been following your site for several months. After reading your Fight of the Decade posts, I wanted to let you know that I recently compiled a database for advanced stats on WhatIfSports and have started using them to find equivalents for players from statistically skewed eras. 52 Mikan is 91 Ewing, 53 Mikan is 96 Robinson and, in a little more of a stat stretch than the other two, 54 Mikan is 64 Chamberlain. This could allow the decade battles and other historical team matchups to be played using sub players with very similar advanced stats as well as adjusted eFG and Ast% stats. I already tested this with mismatched teams: 52 BAL vs 52 ROC and 52 FW vs 52 SYR 15 times each and the results seemed quite realistic. Let me know if you’re interested in hearing more about it.


    • Stan
      Feb 26, 2013 @ 11:43:16

      Rich, I’d love to hear more about your project! You can either post here in the comments, or can contact me directly through the “Contact Me” link on the right bar under the Categories links.


      • Rich
        Feb 26, 2013 @ 20:35:01

        Ok, I’ll start here in the comments. To determine the stat adjustments, I took FG% for eFG% before the 3-pt. era and dropped outlier seasons in eFG% and Ast% throughout the NBA. These outliers were mostly before 1970 for both stats. I came up with a compromise between mean and median of 48.9% eFG and .595 Ast/FG ratio. I determine the adjusted eFG and Ast stats for each player and plug it into a spreadsheet where I take the sum of the absolute values of the differences between Usage%, adjusted eFG%, adjusted Reb% and adjusted Ast%. This matches the adjusted player values of any player to the closest counterpart in the hardcoded WhatIfSports database.

        I try to match the starters as closely as I can, whereas reserves’ statistical counterparts can be tweaked a bit to achieve the overall values for each team, for example:

        52 Rochester Royals

        C: Arnie Risen–63 CHI Walt Bellamy
        PF: Jack Coleman–06 MIL Andrew Bogut
        SF: Arnie Johnson–81 BOS Cedric Maxwell
        SG: Bobby Wanzer–95 ORL Nick Anderson
        PG: Bob Davies–79 NJ Eric Money
        6th: SF Odie Spears–79 MIL Ernie Grunfeld
        PG Red Holzman–71 IND John Barnhill
        C Alex Hannum–88 SA Frank Brickowski
        PF Ray Ragelis–53 BOS John Mahnken(100 rating at PF)
        SG Sam Ranzino–92 ORL Jerry Reynolds

        I have my own simple pace-adjusted defensive PPG calculation which is used to set the value to reach for specific team defensive ratings. I don’t necessarily agree with WhatIfSports on all their individual defensive ratings, but it’s what we have to work with in this case. Another note: the Fight of the Decade teams don’t have to be restricted by WhatIf’s salaries anymore! I believe they give a salary bump based on minutes played, which gives a bias to players like Neil Johnston, who was a great center anyway, but playing 45 mins a game for a couple of seasons distorts his value to the upside. I’ll follow up with a post on the 2 matchups I’ve played through 15 times each.


  5. Rich
    Feb 26, 2013 @ 21:09:54

    The second team:

    52 Baltimore

    C: Stan Maisek–09 SAC Spencer Hawes
    PF: Don Barksdale–76 KEN Maurice Lucas
    SF: Frank Kudelka–81 SEA John Johnson
    SGs: Bill Calhoun–72 VIR Doug Moe
    Dave Minor–91 CHA Kelly Tripucka
    PG: Fred Scolari–72 FLO Mack Calvin
    PF Alex Hannum–78 PHI Joe Bryant
    SG Frank Saul–99 MIN Anthony Peeler
    PF/C Brady Walker–89 HOU Otis Thorpe
    PG Kevin O’Shea–06 HOU Luther Head
    SF Joe McNamee–57 SYR Earl Lloyd
    C Jim Slaughter–66 CIN Connie Dierking
    PG/SG Red Owens–05 WAS Larry Hughes
    SF Don Rehfeldt–76 NO Ron Behagen

    This was the one of the first two games played in the 1951-52 season, and I set the minutes as close to the players’ averages as possible, with preference given to the players with fewer games played on the team. Stats in next post.


  6. Rich
    Feb 27, 2013 @ 00:27:49

    52 BAL has an adjusted eFG of 45.6% and a defense value of 226 on a 150-400 scale.
    52 ROC has an adjusted eFG of 51.8% and a defense value of 250 on a 150-400 scale.

    After 15 simulations of 52 BAL @ 52 ROC…
    Avg. score: 52 BAL: 99.3 ppg, 52 ROC 112.3 ppg
    eFG%: 52 BAL: 46.6%, 52 ROC: 54.5%

    Player Min eFG% Reb Ast Pts
    Arnie Risen(Bellamy) 39.3 59.5 15.2 2.7 27.3
    Jack Coleman(Bogut) 38.2 56.0 9.9 3.7 15.5
    Arnie Johnson(Maxwell) 32.6 62.2 6.1 3.2 13.7
    Bobby Wanzer(Anderson) 35.9 59.5 4.0 4.5 15.9
    Bob Davies(Money) 35.3 53.4 2.5 7.1 17.6
    Odie Spears(Grunfeld) 23.0 51.6 5.5 2.6 10.3
    Red Holzman(Barnhill) 15.6 40.5 1.4 2.3 4.3
    Ray Ragelis(Mahnken) 8.5 27.3 2.9 0.9 2.0
    Sam Ranzino(Reynolds) 7.9 43.0 1.5 1.0 3.7

    Player Min eFG% Reb Ast Pts
    Stan Miasek(Hawes) 28.6 57.2 6.8 2.1 13.3
    Don Barksdale(Lucas) 15.0 50.7 4.9 1.4 5.5
    Frank Kudelka(Johnson) 25.7 45.1 3.5 2.9 9.2
    Bill Calhoun(Moe) 20.7 36.3 3.0 1.7 4.5
    Dave Minor(Tripucka) 17.6 39.4 2.7 1.5 6.3
    Fred Scolari(Calvin) 30.0 43.0 1.8 3.9 16.9
    Alex Hannum(Bryant) 23.2 48.7 5.3 2.1 8.6
    Brady Walker(Thorpe) 20.1 53.1 5.2 1.4 8.4
    Don Rehfeldt(Behagen) 24.3 48.0 7.5 2.1 11.2
    Frank Saul(Peeler) 17.8 35.3 2.0 1.3 5.1
    Red Owens(Hughes) 17.4 48.2 2.3 2.1 8.2

    BAL’s eFG% received a slight bump of 1% against ROC’s slightly below average defense. ROC had a significant 2.7% rise against BAL’s below average defense. The results are definitely a positive first test.


  7. Rich
    Feb 27, 2013 @ 00:34:41

    Last addition: 52 ROC won 13 of 15 over 52 BAL.


    Mar 25, 2013 @ 00:01:26

    I have been working on many projects that deal with nba 2k. I played a mythical 1970 National High School Tournament using NBA 2K10. I also played it on DK Sports, great sim, but boring to watch (Not visual). That was alot of fun, and very taxing. I found most of my stats and box scores on newspaper archives ($$$). I found many photos on classmates.com($$$). It was worth it! As we speak I have been putting rosters together of NBA players, and the team that they play on, is where they played High School Ball. Example: Wilt Chamberlain, Earl Monroe, Gene Banks, Guy Rodgers, for Philadelphia. I broke up NYC into several teams: Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Nassau County, the Bronx, to name a few. I easily filled all rosters with 12 – 15 players. I even had a Rahway team (Rahway Prison), all players had to have done time. Jayson Williams, Tony “Red” Bruin, Jay Vincent, to name a few. Each metro area in the country had a playground legends team. Harlem, Midwest (Chicago, Detroit). Your project got me thinking…. I decided to put together the best of each team of drafted players from 1958 – 1988. Dominique Wilkins playing for Utah with Stockton, Karl Malone, Darrel Griffith, and Mark Eaton. Not a bad lineup? How about Julius Erving playing with Kareem, in Milwaukee. Big O and Tiny, at Cincinnati. Wilt Chamberlain, Nate Thurmond, Rick Barry, at Golden State. I am a HUGE sim guy, not much into playing the game, but I love creating the teams, and watching to see who the best team is. Anyway, keep up the good work, and talk to you soon.


    • Stan
      Mar 25, 2013 @ 14:22:38

      Wow, Tim, very cool idea! How do you approximate the player’s different skills in NBA 2k10 player creator?

      You mention that you’re a huge sim guy. Have you used any other sim engines beside the NBA 2k series? If so, what have you used and what are your takeaways?

      Also … who won your tournament?


  9. Tim Grant
    Mar 29, 2013 @ 09:08:54

    A very well balanced team from Indiana – Roosevelt High from East Chicago, led by Jim Bradley. The Final Four in that tournament was Roosevelt vs. Eastern-Washington, DC, and Wheatley-Houston, TX., led by Dwight Jones vs. Helix High-La Mesa, CA. led by Bill Walton. Wheatley beat Helix 67-61, only to lose the final to Roosevelt 68 – 62. I used DK Sports for that sim, BORING. I received an email from a man that played for DuVal High in Maryland, loved the sim, but told me his team would have beaten Eastern, DC. His team lost 70 – 67 in OT to Eastern. He told me that it was great that they played at the Madison Square Garden. I tried to use EA Sports, never had a blow out, and I would put a team with a 60 rating against a 99 rating. The “99″ rated team would usually win by 7 – 10, only because they would make their foul shots at the end. I found that for pre-1974 NBA stats (Blocked Shots, Steals, etc.) go to What If Sports, and click on to a team, and they have approximations, but most look realistic. When I say “Sim”, I mean I plug in the info and let the game play (I have no influence in the outcome). It is GREAT to bring players back to life, I’m an older guy that loved and love basketball. I am partial to the 70s and 80s, after that, I lost some interest. I have a library of college and high school rosters and photos. If you ever need anything early photos (High School) photos of pro players let me know. When it comes to approximating players skills, I have a book that was created in 1972 (found it on ebay), and it has both NBA and ABA player ratings (Computerized) that was the word they used in 1972……. Computerized! It is very thorough, weighing different categories for each position. That is my baseline, and I rate others using that. I’ve done the same thing that you guys do, and I know it takes a long time, comparing stats of todays players with stats of yesterday. But, like anybody else, we research. Your league and website are GREAT. My High School-Pro League is still in it early stages. I think I have at least 60 teams. I hope I answered your questions, and once again, if you need any help with anything, don’t hesitate to contact me! – Tim Grant


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