Dr. Jimmy Disch Hosts Sport Analytics Seminar with Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey

Dr. Jimmy Disch Hosts Sport Analytics Seminar with Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey

On the night of January 20th, 2016, Dr. Jimmy Disch of Rice University hosted a Sport Analytics Seminar at the Toyota Center prior to the Rockets’ game against the Detroit Pistons. Dr. Disch teaching Introduction to Sport Analytics at Rice University and has seen the impact it has had on basketball.

Data analytics is changing the way basketball is now played. Not only that, analytics is changing the way team decisions are now made and no team has embraced analytics more than General Manager Daryl Morey and the Houston Rockets.

Daryl Morey and Travis Stockbridge

On the night of the seminar, students from Rice University, University of Houston, and St. Thomas High School attended the seminar that exposed the students to the complex world of analytics. Dr. Disch, Daryl Morey, and Travis Stockbridge ’16 were the three main speakers of the seminar, giving insightful knowledge to the world of analytics and its impact in the NBA.

“The industry has exploded,” Disch said. Clark Haptonstall, myself and a couple students went to the first Sloan Conference which had about 300 people. I went last year and there was over 3,000 people. You need computer science skills, quantitative skills, and sports knowledge to be in this field.”

The growth of data analytics in sport has allowed teams to make more efficient and cost effective decisions in regards to player personnel, contract negotiations, and other business related matters. It is also changing the way the game itself is being played. Through deep data studies, the Rockets analytics team has found a more efficient way to play games. Morey has spearheaded these efforts to be as efficient as possible.

Many NBA teams have followed the Rockets’ model since becoming more analytics based in the late 2000’s. The Celtics, Spurs, Trail Blazers and many other teams now have an analytics team in place to better their decision making.

Rice students who attended the event found the night interesting and informative.

“I had no idea about the extent of how analytics-based stats that help teams win more games,” Conner Cella ‘16, who attended the seminar, said. “It was very cool to here Daryl Morey talk about all they do with the data sets.”

It was a special night for all who attended the seminar. Hearing from one of the most prominent general managers in the NBA about the significance of the use of sport analytics was only additional confirmation that the work Dr. Disch has been studying and teaching to his students at Rice is cutting edge and innovative.

Robby Wells ’17, from Katy, Texas, is double-majoring in Sport Management and Managerial Studies.

Toyota Center