User Interview: Tarheel1991

Q&A with noted SimLeague Basketball user Tarheel1991

We recently contacted SimLeague Basketball user, Tarheel1991, to discuss drafting teams, allocating minutes, using the waiver wire, Michael Jordan, Pete Sampras, George Lucas, UNC and Jessica Alba.

WIS

Who is Tarheel1991?

Tarheel1991

My name is Andy. Iím 22 and I just graduated from The University of North Carolina (Go Heels). Iím from North Carolina and about to move to Connecticut to take a job with ESPNís Data Group.

WIS

How did you learn about WhatIfSports.com?

Tarheel1991

A few years ago when I was in high school, a friend and I stumbled onto the site in the school library. I was hooked right from the start.

WIS

Which of our games have you played? And which do you prefer?

Tarheel1991

Iíve played at least one season of every game that WIS has to offer (although only one season each of HBD, CRD, and Simleague Hockey). Most of my time these days is spent on Gridiron Dynasty and Simleague basketball, and Iíd say those are my two favorites.

WIS

Besides simulation sports websites, what are some of your other interests and hobbies?

Tarheel1991

I play fantasy sports and real-life sports, whenever I get a chance, and collect sports cards. I also play poker and video games, and Iím an avid reader and a huge history buff. And, Iím a huge fan of both Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Donít tell anyone, but Iíve got a couple thousand Star Wars cards in my closet.

WIS

Who are some of your favorite coaches, players and teams of all-time?

Tarheel1991

Ray Lankford, Ozzie Smith, Albert Pujols, Michael Jordan, Darrell Green, Al MacInnis, Landon Donovan, Brian McBride, Andy Roddick, Pete Sampras, and Jawad Williams are some of my favorite athletes (as you can tell, I spread the love around a few different sports). Roy Williams, Phil Jackson, and Dean Smith are my favorite coaches. As for teamsÖIíll go with the UNC Womenís Soccer team (my sister is a keeper for the current squad), the 2005 UNC Basketball National Champs, MJís Bulls, the 2006 Cardinals World Series Champs, and any team that gives Duke a good smack down.

WIS

Did you play much basketball (or other sports) growing up?

Tarheel1991

I played basketball, baseball, soccer, and tennis from an early age, and played all of them at some point in high school. I was better at basketball and baseball when I was little, but soccer and tennis ended up being my best sports.

WIS

Which five people, past or present, sit at your dream roundtable?

Tarheel1991

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (Civil War figure), Michael Jordan, George Patton, George Lucas, and Jessica Alba (hope the old guys donít stare too much)

WIS

What players did you admire most growing up?

Tarheel1991

Cal Ripken Jr., and Ozzie Smith are the first two that come to mind. Neither put up the most overwhelming numbers, but both of those guys came to play and play hard every night. Plus, they were great to their fans, and the fans loved them for it. Not to mention, Ozzie did flips, and Iíve always wished I could do flips.

WIS

What is your favorite sports moment?

Tarheel1991

When UNC won the national championship in basketball in 2005, my freshman year of college. Iíve never been so overwhelmed with emotion before. I just ran out on Franklin Street and Chapel Hill and stood there for a minute or soÖthen joined 60,000 other people going absolutely nuts.

WIS

What is your favorite WIS moment?

Tarheel1991

Winning the national championship with Tulsa in GD World Rockne, a really long time ago. I was the first coach to win a national title in DIA.

WIS

As a fan of basketball, what are your thoughts on the current state of the game?

Tarheel1991

I love both college basketball and the NBA, although the NBA is only really fun to watch in the playoffs. I think the NBA is doing great; theyíve recovered well from the doldrums of the post-Jordan era and I think people are starting to notice that they play really good and genuinely entertaining basketball. The only thing I really have a problem with is the absurd age limit, which basically forces guys into college that have no desire to be there and no business in a classroom. Iíd kinda like to see the NBA and NCAA adopt a similar draft rule to baseball Ė you can be drafted right out of high school if you want, but if you go to college you have to stay for three years (maybe we can make it two years for basketball). Then guys would actually have to go to class for more than one semester, and genuinely be students. I think itíd help continuity in college basketball a lot. Then thereís the problem with recruiting, and money and jobs being spread around to AAU coaches and handlers and possesÖI donít even know how to deal with that.

WIS

What is the top sports related thing you want to do in life that you have not yet done?

Tarheel1991

Well, there are a lot of things, since Iím still pretty young. I think #1 on the list would be to watch a USA World Cup game in person. Watching an NBA Finals game courtside can be a close but unrealistic 2nd.

WIS

With SimLeague basketball, what is your general strategy for building teams?

Tarheel1991

I like to think that I can build a successful team several different ways. I usually try to build teams that have a very high efg%, high rebounds, and 2-3 players with defensive ratings over 85. Sometimes I have most of my minutes eaten up by my starting five and a bunch of scrubs on the bench; sometimes I have a seven or eight man rotation. I think finding different ways to build a team is one of the most fun parts of the game.

WIS

What is the most important thing to keep in mind while drafting?

Tarheel1991

Well, there are a lot of things to take into account when drafting, so itís hard to pick just one. I think the most important thing to do is pay attention to your total minutes. If youíre in an open league, or any league that has rookies, donít forget about them. You only need about 19700 minutes total, and rookies can usually handle around 1000 of them, so you donít need to draft more than about 18500-18900 minutes. If you do, youíre wasting money and putting yourself at a slight disadvantage. In leagues without rookies, the same is true Ė try to get your minutes as close to 19500-19700 as possible. If you get many more minutes than that, then youíre wasting money on minutes that could be spent on better quality.

WIS

Are there any players in specific that you feel consistently under or overachieve?

Tarheel1991

I donít know if he really overachieves, but Iíve seen and had Bill Russell on more successful teams than anyone. I also think Reggie Miller performs really well; the SIM must have a clutch factor built in. Guys who never seem to perform up to their price tag are Shaq and Tim Duncan, but maybe I just donít know how to use them very well. I think you can build a successful team around just about anybody in the SIM, if you can figure out the right supporting cast.

WIS

How do you go about setting your depth chart and allocating minutes?

Tarheel1991

Of course, it depends on the team you have. I usually set my depth chart by giving my starters (or rotation players, if I have a 7 or 8 man rotation) their full minutes, then filling in the rest with scrubs and/or rookies. If there are rookies, Iíll probably be switching guys in and out a lot; if not, my depth chart will usually stay about the same all year.

WIS

Do your game plans for offense and defense differ based on the team you have? What do you normally do with these settings?

Tarheel1991

I like to build up-tempo teams mostly, but I donít just make any team up-tempo Ė it has to be built correctly. Sometimes Iíll just run half-court offense, but Iíve never really had a slow-down team. Defensively, Iím almost always in the half court Ė never been able to press all that effectively.

WIS

How much emphasis do you put on scouting future opponents and double-teaming?

Tarheel1991

Honestly, not a whole lot. I probably should do it more now that there are the +/- settings for defending post- or perimeter-oriented teams. Usually, the only time Iíll double-team is if one guy is head and shoulders above his teammates in scoring (usually Wilt) and even then Iím not sure how effective it really is.

WIS

Do you make transactions (call-ups/demotions, waiver wire, etc.) during the season? Why or why not?

Tarheel1991

I never use the waiver wire; if you have to, youíre probably already in trouble. If there are rookies, Iím usually constantly calling up/down my bench players to make sure that they stay fresh.

WIS

What is your favorite aspect of SimLeague basketball?

Tarheel1991

Building teams. I think one of the great things about SL Basketball is that you can really give your team so many different kinds of character, and you have a pretty good amount of control over it if you know what youíre doing.

WIS

What is your least favorite aspect of SimLeague basketball?

Tarheel1991

Thereís not much I donít like. I do think the post-update defensive ratings are a little out of control, but itís still very hard to shut down teams defensively, so itís not a big deal. Iíd like to see the game become a little more intricate, especially in the game coaching area, although it would probably make me worse at the game. There were good steps towards that in the last update, and I hope it continues.

WIS

If you were in one of our games, which sport would you play? At which position? And, how much would you be worth?

Tarheel1991

I would be a SL Basketball player, 100% at SG and SF and not any higher than 80% elsewhere. I would have a FG% around 45% or so and a 3pt % around 37%, and I would take a lot of threes, so Iíd have a good efg%. Iíd be kind of bad at rebounding, decent assists, but defense around 30 and terrible stamina, so maybe 1200 minutes. I guess Iíd be worth somewhere around 1.5 million -2 million, and be a great bench addition for a good team!

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