Meet the ‘secret weapon’ in Alabama’s Final Four run: Analytics guru Michael Schwimer has many roles for Tide


PHOENIX — The dervish of Alabama basketball has no handle, no moves, no game, no rep, really. But the dervish of Alabama basketball also cannot be stopped. Michael Schwimer is all at once a floppy-haired, ball of energy, forward-thinking, idea man. Hanging around State Farm Stadium this week for the Final Four, you’ll notice him way before you know him.  

Just don’t try to name him. There are 14 assistant coaches and support staff listed on Alabama’s web site. You cannot find Schwimer’s designation on that list.

“He’s our secret weapon,” assistant coach Ryan Pannone said. “He’s a beautiful mind.” 

Analytics are as common in basketball as the stepback these days. Everyone has an angle, or thinks they do. references outnumber quotes in game stories. Small fortunes are spent subscribing to Synergy. 

But here’s the thing about analytics. Transferring them to the actions of the actual players in a game so instinctive like basketball is the challenge. NC State’s DJ Burns Jr wouldn’t dominate many weight rooms but his weight surely translates around the basket. 

Point being, not everyone has that angle. They might think they’ve cornered the market. At Alabama, coach Nate Oats, his assistants and players think Schwimer is the market, as the 38-year-old CEO of Big League Advantage, a East Coast-based sports analytics firm.

How many analytics guys run the numbers but also push out the scouting report, develop the recruiting strategy, basically assemble the roster, and also game plan?

“We finished the game, we’re eating dinner,” Pannone said describing Sunday’s postgame meal after the Elite Eight win vs Clemson. “Schwim says. ‘Do you want the [UConn] report tonight?’ I said, ‘You know I want it.’ This is 1 ½ hours after the game. The smile on his face was one of joy.”

Before revealing a sliver of that game plan (more on that below), consider Schwimer’s involvement is so deep,…

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Author : Dennis Dodd

Publish date : 2024-04-04 04:25:33

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