The club’s long-time statisticians, Matt and Graeme Roberts, have recently become FIBA licensed statisticians, enabling them for selection to do international and European games as well as domestic (W)BBL finals for the next two years.
The pair attended the UK’s FIBA Statisticians Workshop in Leicester this weekend, having completed the FIBA e-learning material and exam. The workshop involved covering the updated statistic interpretations and a final exam, which they both passed.
The brothers have previous international experience prior to the introduction of the FIBA Statisticians License two years ago, including at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. They have covered a number of Great Britain home games over the years prior to the introduction of FIBA Licenses in 2016.
Matt commented about gaining the FIBA License: “Having personally been involved in the fight for many years for the introduction of a statisticians’ qualification, it was disappointing two years ago to have miss out on doing the FIBA stats License when it was introduced due to work commitments.
This is the first opportunity since then for us both to gain the FIBA License, so I’m pleased to finally get the opportunity and to pass the course and to be available for selection to do internationals again.”
Graeme commented on gaining the FIBA License, “I’m delighted to have achieved my FIBA stats qualification to allow me to work on international games for the next two years. The workshop in Leicester was intensive and engaging, covering the rules and interpretations across the range of statistical categories. Recording statistics requires considerable skill and concentration, as well as thorough knowledge of the game of basketball, so the testing process was rigorous and included two exams.”
They were both keen to stress that the group of statisticians across the country are working hard on improving the quality of data they produce to give players, coaches, the media and general public an accurate reflection of the game.
Graeme commented, “The growing group of statisticians across the country shows that basketball statistics are moving in the right direction in the UK under the tireless leadership of Sarah Booth. Around 15 statisticians from around the country attended the FIBA sessions and we’re very proud to be part of this elite core group.”
Matt added, “Having pushed for standards to be improved for many years it is great to see that statistics in the UK is heading in the right direction. Sarah [Booth] has led the way, in making the (W)BBL now one of the most accurately recorded leagues in Europe.
“We have a group of statistician who review two randomly selected games a week, myself included in that group. We go through every play to ensure it was recorded corrected and statisticians are then given feedback on their performance.
“Myself and Graeme were awarded the ‘Stats Superemos’ award at conference for having the highest accuracy average of 99%, with the league average now into the 90s, which is up there with the majority of European leagues, so that is something the group can be proud. The group are determined to keep working hard and to support each other to improve that average to be the best we can be as a group.
“We also were awarded the Eagle-eyed Spotters award for making the fewest mistaken identity errors, which is something that we both work on, so we are very pleased for us both to be recognised for that effort.”
The brothers are happy to be available for internationals once again, as Graeme explained, “It is particularly pleasing to have achieved an official licence six years after working on the London 2012 Olympic Games, which was the highlight of our careers as statisticians.
“Since then we have continued to serve our club in Manchester to the best of our capacity and have occasionally had the privilege of working on Great Britain games. With the new licences we hope to be able to work on more international games over the next two years.”
Matt added, “Although nothing will ever top the experience of working at the Olympics in London in 2012, it is always an honour to do international games. With the pool of FIBA licensed statisticians there is no guarantee that you’ll get selected for games, but with the new FIBA competition qualifying format it has increased the opportunities to work on Great Britain games on home soil.”