by Chloe Senatore | Blue Coats Broadcast Academy powered by Rowan Radio
The players and coaches aren’t the only Blue Coats participating in the NBA G League bubble.
Members of the team’s statistics crew – Zipu Zhang, Chris Asdourian and Dave Scott – were selected by league officials to operate the scorer’s table for not only Blue Coats games like usual, but for the entire league as well.
Zhang, Asdourian and Scott are responsible for a variety of the operations related to statistics and scoring games.
“There’s three jobs. There’s the caller—that’s the person watching the game, and just saying who shot the ball, who rebounded it, steals, assists,” says Scott, who is in his seventh season with the stats crew.
“Then there’s a primary inputter that’s putting in the basic information like who shot it and from where, and there’s the secondary person that puts in the descriptor: was it a jump shot, a layup, a dunk, which kind of foul was it and where did that happen? And then also if the primary misses something, [the secondary] tries to make sure he gets it in quick enough.”
Scott explains how this mechanism of recording statistics for games is important because of the stakeholders who rely on the immediacy of the game stats, including the team benches, broadcasters, among others.
“The NBA scouts are sitting upstairs, and they want the stats as fast as possible.”
Off the court, being confined to their hotels and the basketball arenas can feel a bit claustrophobic at times, Asdourian says, but Delaware’s crew is thrilled at the chance to contribute in this unique season.
“At the end of the day, I’m getting paid to watch basketball,” he says. “It’s fun to watch basketball all day long.
“We’re in a bubble but we’re not in the player bubble. So we don’t hang out with the players or anything like that, we’re not anywhere near them. We have our own little thing, our stat guys are together, we hang out together most of the time. It’s been a good time.”
It certainly has been a good start for the Blue Coats overall, who began the season as the sole unbeaten team left in the G League.
As one might expect, there are a lot of protocols involved to ensure they get the job done safely and effectively, including mandatory COVID-19 testing done every day.
“There is a pretty strict policy. You can’t go outside your room without a mask on. So anywhere on the property, even walking, exercising. The only place you can take it off is eating and in the pool,” Scott said. “My ears are killing me, been wearing a mask almost 18 hours a day.”
Zipu Zhang, the most veteran member of the team’s stats crew, says that despite the differences, working these games is as enjoyable as ever.
“I’ve been with the team since 2013 and these games have been fun. You get to meet a lot of staff from all over the country and then you get to see all the teams play,” Zhang said. “It’s been awesome.”
As the crew works hard to make sure this unusual season goes as smoothly as possible, they say that their jobs are made easier with the help of Ben Zirman, the G League’s head statistics supervisor.
“Ben handles travel, accommodations, food, schedules, feedback on our work and he tries to provide some fun activities during the long hours,” Scott said.
The Blue Coats stats crew has certainly proven that they are dedicated to their jobs, which are pivotal in making sure games run smoothly in this unusual season. And for three people who simply love the game of basketball, that gig isn’t bad at all.