Rice SMGT Students Attend NBA Hackathon in New York City, Compete in New Frontier of Basketball Analytics

Rice SMGT Students Attend NBA Hackathon in New York City, Compete in New Frontier of Basketball Analytics

Rice University’s Department of Sport Management sent four students to the National Basketball Association’s Basketball Analytics Hackathon in New York City in September 2016. Led by Dr. Jimmy Disch, the four students worked with top NBA talent in a search to find solutions to some of the NBA’s most significant analytics challenges as part of a unique partnership thanks to the Department of Sport Management and the Rice Center for Civic Leadership.

NBA Hackathon

The event, which included 60 other teams from colleges and universities across the United States, was the first ever offered by the NBA. Rice students had the opportunity to listen to NBA greats such as John Starks and Commissioner Adam Silver deliver inspiring messages about the importance of analytics in today’s NBA. The festivities were held at Terminal 23 in Manhattan, a facility created in partnership with NBA Hall of Fame player Michael Jordan.

"The Department of Sport Management does our very best to work with other Rice-affiliated partners in order to help our students succeed and try out different opportunities," Dr. Clark Haptonstall, Chair of the Department of Sport Management said. "Working here with the Center for Civic Leadership allowed our students to travel to New York City and be a part of an exciting new NBA-led experience."

The opportunity for Rice students Nick Fleder ‘17, Dillon Chai ‘17, Sergio Santamaria ‘18, and Jahid Adam ‘18 was paid for in part by Rice University’s Center for Civic Leadership. By partnering with other Rice organizations, the Department of Sport Management is able to provide their students with unconventional opportunities such as attending the Hackathon.

“We were delighted to be able to support the Department of Sport Management to send these four students to New York City,” Executive Director of the Rice University Center for Civic Leadership and Associate Dean Dr. Caroline Quenemoen said. “Encouraging students to venture outside of the walls of Rice in order to take advantage of the best possible opportunity offered to them is why the CCL works closely with the Department of Sport Management. I am thrilled to see that the students had a successful trip to the NBA Hackathon last October.”

In addition to the four students attending the event with Dr. Disch, Rice also was represented at the event by Senthil Natarajan ‘17, a computer and electrical engineering major, who joined with a student from Stanford in order to project the success for a prototypical expansion team to enter the NBA. Their team, Nylon Calculus, ultimately finished second at the event.

Overall, Rice students attending the Hackathon were given a unique opportunity to participate in a first-of-its-kind NBA event, and took advantage of their chance to learn more about the field of sport analytics.

NBA Hackathon 2

Martin Rather, a sophomore from New York, NY, is double-majoring in Sport Management and History.