THINKING BEYOND BASKETBALL
Both cheered on their teams, but they were also at work. Harris and Brown were scouting, looking for the opposing team’s strengths and weaknesses. Brown explained the scouting information he and Harris gathered has proven to be invaluable to each team’s coaching staff.
“We look for who set what screen or what plays are called, turnovers,” explained Brown. “Just the small things that coaches want to look for and they want to see about other teams.”
Brown and Harris are part of a new program aimed at getting young men of color involved in all aspects of the game of basketball, even if they can’t play beyond high school. The program is called Technology Exposure and Access through Mentoring, or TEAM for short.
TEAM co-founders Anwar McQueen and Alexis Musante say the long term goal is to get more people of color into sports management positions by exposing the student scouts to the process early.
Their scouts film games, then edit the footage using specialized software known as Sportscode, the same software used by 29 out of 30 NBA teams.
Sportscode typically costs thousands of dollars to license, but the Nebraska-based parent company Hudl has offered it to TEAM students for free. So far, around 200 East Bay students have gone through TEAM’s Sportscode training.
“There are serious implications, we believe, for equity to access, to those various careers,” said Musante. “[The training is] exciting and unique because you don’t have to play, and even if you do play, there are still opportunities to engage in the sports space … in a really productive and exciting way … without having to put a jersey on.”
TEAM works in conjunction with The Hidden Genius Project, an East Bay non-profit run by Jefferson Award winner Brandon Nicholson. So far around 200 East Bay students have gone through TEAM’s Sportscode training.
The hope is to expand and attract professional team to offer internships to student scouts.