Hoops Dynasty Player's Guide

Introduction

Welcome to the world of Hoops Dynasty, or HD for short. Here you have the opportunity of a lifetime - the chance to build a basketball program of your very own players, and challenge other coaches from around the world. Not only do you have the challenge of finding ways to win basketball games, but you also find yourself building friendships with conference mates and non-conference rivals alike. The majority of coaches join because they love the game of basketball, but virtually all coaches stay because of the coaches they compete against.

So without further adieu, here is the Player's Guide to Hoops Dynasty. Welcome to the addiction!

Choosing a World

The first step in taking control of a Hoops Dynasty team is selecting a world. While the most obvious difference is 1 game per day versus 2 games per day, there are more subtle differences between the worlds. While many coaches love playing 2 games per day instead of 1 (Worlds 8, 9 and 10), these worlds are more time-consuming than the other worlds, and therefore may not be the best option for those coaches without access to a computer throughout the day. If you find yourself choosing between the 1 game per day worlds, there are other factors to consider, as each world has a distinct personality. For instance, World Iba is well-known for the amount of DIII dynasties that have been established.

Choosing a world is similar to most things in Hoops Dynasty, in that it is a good idea to check in the forums before choosing a course of action. Using the forums is an excellent way to gauge how active the coaches are in each world.

Many worlds have non-conference challenges that you may choose to become involved in. Another tactic you may use is simply checking the worlds for openings. The more openings DIII has, the less humans there are in that particular world. The more coaches there are in a world, the more likely you are to be in an active conference, but with more humans comes added competition. While most veteran coaches prefer worlds that are nearly full, it may be advantageous for a new coach to join a relatively empty world. This allows a new coach to get his or her feet wet in a slightly less competitive atmosphere. Once you feel more comfortable with the game, there is always the option of acquiring a second team (or third or fourth!), or simply just switching worlds although anytime you switch worlds you must start over in that world. There is no correct answer when determining which world you would like to join. It is simply a decision of how competitive and how active you would like your conference to be. Once you've come to a decision on a world, it's time to pick your very own DIII college.

Choosing a Team

When choosing a school, there are many factors to consider. The first thing most coaches are likely to be concerned with is the returning talent on the roster. We'll cover how to examine the returning talent shortly, but for now we'll move on to other deciding factors.

It's important to remember that except in special circumstances (having a former non-qualifier on the roster) all Seniors from the roster will be graduating. Class balance can also be an important factor. Some teams will have balanced classes, allowing the team to remain competitive year after year. Other teams will have rosters loaded with players of the same class. These teams will struggle more while the players are young, but can be extremely difficult to compete against when these players become upperclassmen.

Another important factor could be conference affiliation. By sorting the open jobs by conference, you can see how many open schools there are in each conference, to help you make an informed decision on what kind of conference you are stepping into. This is another area where a trip to the forums can be helpful. Many of the top DIII conferences will advertise openings in the forums. These conferences will generally be very active, and this may even afford you the opportunity to get to know some of your conference-mates before you begin your HD career.

Location of the school should also be taken into consideration. Different locations present different challenges when recruiting. Generally, remote locations are considered more difficult jobs, so beginners may wish to find a team in a more heavily populated area. Recruit distribution is determined by number of schools in the state, along with square mileage of the state, and the number of bordering states. We'll cover recruiting strategies in detail in a later section. However, as far as location is concerned, the simple equation is that more schools means more recruits, which means more choices. Another consideration is prestige. While prestige is very fluid at the lower levels, it is still very useful to have a high prestige in your first recruiting season. By far the biggest benefit of having a high prestige in the lower levels is the level of recruit that is willing to accept your efforts. The higher your prestige, the higher level of "dropdown" you will be able to recruit. We'll cover recruiting and dropdowns later in the guide, but for now, simply know that it can be very beneficial to start with a high prestige.

One final consideration may be the most important. If you have any preference on which offensive and defensive set you would like to run, it's crucial to confirm that the team you're acquiring runs those sets. Three important things to consider here: First, none of the offensive or defensive sets are inherently superior to others, but most coaches develop preferences over time. If you're not sure which set you'd like to try, this isn't something you need to be concerned with. Also, if you're a coach that wants to change tempos from game to game, fastbreak is probably not your best option, as it is impossible to run slowdown. Second, while you have the power as the coach to change the offensive and defensive sets, this severely handicaps your team. Offensive and defensive IQ are crucial factors in the game, so by switching sets you virtually assure yourself at least one, and quite possibly two, very rough seasons. Third, make sure the team you are taking over fits the style that they play. If taking over a team that runs zone or press, it's important to make sure that the team has good speed and athleticism. When taking over a squad that runs man-to-man, it's crucial to have solid defensive ratings. It's also important to remember that when choosing a team, you'll see an offensive and defensive set listed with the team. This only means that this was the default for the school in the first season of that world. It is very possible that a coach has changed the sets. If you're considering a team, make sure to call up the team page, and check what sets the team have actually been running in recent years.

Also, if you're curious about what the strengths and weakness of the offensive and defensive sets, these are 2 links that should be exceedingly helpful:
http://whatifsports.com/hd/help/hoops101.aspx
http://whatifsports.com/forums/Posts.aspx?ForumID=30&TopicID=184523

Understanding Player Ratings

Understanding the player ratings is crucial in becoming an effective coach. Without at least some basic knowledge, it's difficult even to determine the best players on your own team. We'll begin with the basic definitions of each rating, as stated in a developers chat:

  • Athleticism (ath): refers to physical skills/strength. In HD, athleticism is used on both sides of the ball. On offense, it plays a role in rebounding, positioning inside and how players finish around the basket. On defense, it plays a role in defensive positioning (especially inside), rebounding and shot blocking.
  • Speed (spd): refers to a player's quickness. Like athleticism, speed is important on both sides of the ball and the importance of which varies by position on the court, e.g. it's much more important for guards to be quick than for post players. On offense, speed is important for perimeter players to effectively be able to get to the basket. On defense, quickness is vital for overall defense, especially against guards and forwards but can benefit big men by giving them the ability to cause turnovers and it helps with shot blocking.
  • Rebounding (reb): refers to a player's rebounding fundamentals and his desire to rebound. Very few ratings stand alone - rebounding is an example of that - I may have a high rebounding rating which may make me a good rebounder but if I'm not also a good athlete, I'll never be a great rebounder.
  • Defense (def): like rebounding, defense refers to a player's defensive fundamentals and their desire to play defense. Again, knowledge of the fundamentals and having the desire are great, but you also need the athleticism and speed to be a great defender.
  • Shot Block (blk): refers to a player's understanding of timing and positioning when blocking shots.
  • Low Post (lp): refers to a player's ability to score inside the paint.
  • Perimeter (pe): refers to a player's outside shooting ability. Applies to all positions on the floor with this skill carrying more weight for perimeter players (PG, SG, SF) but also plays a role for post players. The ability to score both inside and outside makes any player more difficult to stop. For example, I'd prefer a PF with 80 low post and 30 perimeter over a PF with 93 low post and 2 perimeter.
  • Passing (p): refers to a player's ability to know when and where to deliver the ball to their teammates. Applies to all positions on the floor but carries more weight as you move away from the basket.
  • Ballhandling (bh): refers to a player's ability take care of the ball. Like passing, applies to all positions on the floor but carries more weight as you move away from the basket. Ballhandling is important for players you want to be "slashers".
  • Work Ethic (we): work ethic impacts how hard a player works to improve.
  • Stamina (st): stamina refers to a player's endurance. The higher his stamina, the longer he can player without diminished skills.
  • Durability (du): refers to how a player deals with injuries - the higher a player's durability, the less likely they are to sustain a severe injury and when they do get injured, how quickly they'll be able to return.

The most important thing to remember with player ratings is that almost no rating stands alone. Simply having an elite Perimeter rating does not make an elite shooter. A player also needs the Ballhandling, Speed, and IQ to get and take good shots. A good coach is constantly striving to better understand how the ratings work together. While no coach in HD completely understands exactly how these ratings interact with one another, this is a crucial part of becoming a great coach.

One of the crucial areas in understanding player ratings is understanding how to improve them. Solid practice plans can make an enormous difference in a player over the course of 4 years, so here are some helpful tidbits for setting yours. First, abide by the rule of diminishing returns. Spend no more than 20 minutes on an individual skill, or no more than 25 minutes on an offense or defense (apiece, not combined) and you will begin to encounter diminishing returns. There are very few reasons for a coach to break these rules, none of which you are likely to encounter until DI. If a player has maxed out his potential in multiple areas, it may be the right decision to go above 20 in some categories, but these exceptions are very rare.

When setting your team practice (offensive and defensive sets) 20 minutes apiece is considered a fairly standard amount, but this can certainly be tweaked. If you have a very young team with very low IQ's, you may want to bump that number up to 25/25. Conversely, if you have a veteran squad with very high IQ's, you may want to bump it down to 15/15. IQ's improve very quickly when in the low ranges. Your players can get from an F to a C- or so rather quickly. However, as you start to climb the ladder, it gets harder and harder to improve.

For a better idea, take a look at Iguana1's BBIQ Practice Minute Chart, which is a very useful tool.

It's also important to understand the role that a player's potential has on improvement. The rate of improvement in any individual category will be based on a player's playing time, practice time, work ethic and how near/far a player is to reaching their potential. The further a player is from their potential, the larger the initial gains will be and vice versa. When you are recruiting, a recruit's potential will be available to you via scouting trips and/or if you have purchased the Future Stars Scouting Service coverage for that recruit's state. Regardless, you will receive an email from your assistant coach touching on areas of high and low upside for all of your players after exhibition games have begun. In addition, you'll receive notes from your assistant coach throughout the season to help guide your practice planning, e.g. "Coach, seriously, I just don't see Stewey Griffin getting any better at free throw shooting, you may want to think about having him focus on something else like ball handling."

The last thing we'll cover before moving on is Study Hall minutes. During the course of the season, you will receive 2 mid-term reports and 2 final grade E-mails regarding your players. The mid-term reports are simply giving you updates on how your players are performing in the classroom, giving you a chance to adjust minutes if need be. However, if any of your players fall below a 2.0 for his final grade, he will be declared academically ineligible. If this is the first semester, he will have the chance to come back just before the Conference Tournament begins, assuming he gets his grades up. If a player falls below 2.0 during the 2nd semester, he is done for the year. To avoid this, I've used this formula that I stole from Oldresorter. By allocating my Study Hall minutes this way, I've never had a player declared ineligible in 60 seasons of HD:

  • Freshman: 4.0 - HS GPA x 10
  • Sophomore: 3.6 - GPA x 10
  • Junior: 3.2 - GPA x 10
  • Senior: 2.8 - GPA x 10

While it takes experience and diligence to become proficient at understanding the player ratings, the developers chat is a very nice starting point. If you have any other questions on player ratings, look through this chat.

Recruiting Tips

The best advice a new coach can receive regarding recruiting can be summed up in one word: Patience. The most common mistake made by new coaches is to spend all of their recruiting budget too quickly. Of course, even if a coach is patient, it's still crucial to understand the type of player you're searching for.

A common mistake made by new coaches is to put too much emphasis on overall ratings. It's important to remember that a 450-rated player is not necessarily better than a 400-rated player. The key to determining how truly effective a player will be is by looking at what veterans have termed the "core ratings."

These core ratings are different for each position, and some are even different from coach to coach. However, there is a fairly standard definition of what the core ratings include.

  • Guards: Speed, Perimeter, Ballhandling, Passing
  • Posts: Athleticism, Rebounding, Low Post, Shot Blocking
  • Small forwards have core ratings that include all of the above. Many coaches are also much more concerned with the Work Ethic of SF's, since there are so many categories that need improvement.

Now that you have an idea of who your targets are, it's time to decide how to recruit these players. There are two broad strategies: shotgun approach, and rifle approach. The rifle approach is simply an approach of targeting few players with heavy recruitment. The shotgun approach is one in which a coach puts a small amount of effort into many different recruits. The advantage of this strategy is that it's difficult for other coaches to decipher your strategy, as you have a number of options in recruiting. This also gives you many backup options if you happen to lose a recruit to another school. Though many coaches do not advocate this strategy, it can be very effective if executed properly. However, I would consider this more of an advanced tactic, geared more towards DI recruiting, that only a veteran should experiment with.

One of the biggest weaknesses of the shotgun approach at the lower levels is that it's nearly impossible to shotgun "dropdowns. This is a term referring to players that begin on, for example, the DII search list, but eventually drop to the DIII search list if they receive no interest from DII teams. DI recruits also eventually drop to DII search lists.

At any time, you have the option to use the Future Stars Scouting Service. The service provides some extra helpful information about recruits regarding their potential for improvement, their favorite school, and their location preference. You'll get clues to those characteristics as part of your normal recruiting as well, but you may or may not get the big picture and it certainly would create more work without a recruiting service. Coverage can range from a single state up to all domestic recruits (Transfers and International players are not covered by the scouting service) at a discount of what each state would cost individually. The cost will vary based on how much coverage you want (coverage is based on the number of recruits in each state selected, so if you choose NY and Ohio, it would cost you more than if you chose Alaska, Wyoming, ND, SD, Utah, New Mexico, Idaho and Montana combined) as well as the current number of unsigned recruits in that state.

Once you have activated coverage for a state, any recruit from that state will have inside information about him in the Future Stars Notes tab on the recruit profile. The Future Stars Notes will provide the following information regarding the recruit:

  • Proximity Preference: does the recruit want to stay home, get away or is he indifferent with regards to how close/far a potential school is from his hometown?
  • Favorite School: all recruits will have a favorite school. Favorite schools will have a *slightly* easier time recruiting this player. The boost for being a favorite school is relatively minor so they can still be outrecruited.
  • Potential: notes regarding areas in which the recruit has the largest room for improvement as well as areas with in which the player doesn't look like he'll show significant improvement.
  • Word on the Street: daily updates as to who the player might be considering and how strongly.

In addition, Future Stars Scouting coverage provides you with the ability to search by the promimity preference and favorite schools and see the potential for improvement of recruits. This only applies to recruits in states where you have purchased the Future Stars Scouting Service coverage.

Unless you take over a school with very low prestige (around C) a coach should primarily build his class around dropdowns. Players drop down at different times for different teams, depending on prestige. Also, higher prestige teams may see dropdowns that lower prestige teams never see at all. An easy way of keeping track of players dropping down is to send the player, or player's coach, a phone call in an early cycle. If you receive a response suggesting that your school is a backup option, you will receive a follow-up when the recruit is willing to accept further recruitment. Players may drop down all the way into the final day of recruiting, so don't be afraid to be patient. Another strategy available is the "pull-down" method. This method involves a coach giving potential dropdowns lots of recruiting effort that cannot be rejected. The hope is that this will cause the recruit to drop to you before he drops to other coaches of a similar prestige. This is a very high risk/high reward strategy. A recruit may take thousands of dollars of effort, and possibly never drop. For this reason, this is probably a strategy best left for a coaches with some experience.

Now that you know how to recruit your targets, there are just a few general loose ends to tie up. First, at low levels, it is almost never a good idea to battle other coaches for recruits. There is generally a surplus of players with similar skill sets, and it simply is not worth it to battle for a particular player. Also, it's not usually a good idea to venture more than 500-1,000 miles away from home, but it can be done if executed properly. If you have multiple scholarships, and see that you can get a particular player without a battle, you may be able to venture far from home. However, long-distance recruiting makes it very difficult to put a great amount of effort into the recruit due to escalating recruiting costs. Use this strategy wisely. Finally, when attempting to determine where you stand with a particular recruit, ignore all correspondence that is not the "scholarship e-mail." You should get an E-mail referring to your scholarship offer any time the situation changes. This is how you may determine if you are in the lead, behind, or in a dead heat for the recruit. The other correspondence may tell a very different story, but don't concern yourself. The scholarship e-mail is what is important.

One other useful piece of information is understanding how a recruiting budget is determined. At the Division III level, you will receive $3,000 for each open scholarship, $5,000 in Division II, and $15,000 in Division I. (NOTE: there is a maximum recruiting budget which is the equivalent of the monies you would receive for having 6 open scholarships.) Each team has 12 scholarships for the roster. Supplementing this is carryover money (25% of unused money from last season, assuming all scholarships were filled) along with postseason money earned by your conference. This is determined by the following:


For the National Tournament:
  • In Division III, conferences will earn $3,000 per game played by one of it's members schools
  • In Division II, conferences will earn $5,000 per game played by one of it's members schools
  • In Division I, conferences will earn $20,000 per game played by one of it's members schools

For the PostSeason Invitational:
  • In Division III, conferences will earn $1,000 per game played by one of it's members schools
  • In Division II, conferences will earn $1,500 per game played by one of it's members schools
  • In Division I, conferences will earn $5,000 per game played by one of it's members schools

This is money for the entire conference. Therefore, the total given to each team will be the total earned the previous season divided by 12.

One more thing to cover before moving on is recruits that are listed as ineligible.

  • In DIII, this means nothing, as DIII recruits need only to have a 2.0 GPA to be eligible.
  • In DII, this means that the player will sit out his first year as a non-qualifier. He will be listed on your roster, and take up a scholarship, but he will not be allowed to practice with the team. After this season, the recruit will have 4 years of eligibility remaining.
  • The situation is the same in DI, with one exception. The player will receive his 4th year of eligibility only if he has achieved a 2.7 cumulative GPA going into his 4th eligible year.

Also, it's important to remember that you are taking another risk when recruiting non-qualifiers at DI and DII. These players may choose to attend a Junior College as opposed to sitting out a season. In this case, you would still be able to recruit this player again the following season, with a head-start due to your prior relationship, but you will be forced to take a walk-on.

If you have any other questions about recruiting, simply ask on the forums, or use these links:
http://www.whatifsports.com/devchat/devchat.asp?chatid=1
http://www.whatifsports.com/devchat/devchat.asp?chatid=20
http://www.whatifsports.com/devchat/devchat.asp?chatid=34

Scheduling

As soon as recruiting begins, you may begin scheduling next year's non-conference schedule, assuming you have purchased an additional season. It is critical to strike a balance between playing good teams and playing teams that you have a chance to beat. While scheduling takes experience to become proficient, there are a couple easy rules of thumb to live by. First, try to find teams that will have a similar number of Seniors that your squad will have next season. Experience is very important in HD, and one of the most accurate indicators of successful teams is the number of Seniors on the roster. Second, avoid teams that are coached by Sim AI. Sim coached teams are almost always less competitive than human coached teams. Even if you're not searching for an incredibly difficult schedule, the last thing you want is a Sim-coached, 300+ RPI squad dragging down your SOS. A very simple solution is to simply accept all challenges. If a coach is challenging you, it's a sign that he's taking his team seriously, and should at least be better than a sim-coached program.

There is also the home/away aspect to consider. In HD, when factoring games into your RPI, home wins count as 0.6 wins, while home losses count as 1.4 losses. Road victories are counted as 1.4 wins, while road losses are counted as 0.6 losses. Neutral court games simply count as 1. This gives a benefit to DII and DIII teams that play on the road, as homecourt advantage is not as severe on these levels. Also, some coaches subscribe to the theory that you should attempt to schedule all your toughest games at home, while scheduling weaker teams on the road. The theory behind this is that you get a boost for road victories by beating weaker teams, then have a better shot of beating your tougher opponents.

Finally, it's a good idea to try to remember teams and coaches that you have scheduled in the past. These coaches are generally far more likely to accept your challenge. This also gives you the ability to develop non-conference rivalries, which many coaches feel are some of their most enjoyable games.

Gameplanning

When gameplanning, there are many things a coach should look at to collect information on his next opponent. First, a team's statistics are an excellent place to start. Here you can find how deep a team's bench is, which players start, and how the minutes are distributed. Other important things to look for on this page are FT%, 3-point FG%, along with the number of 3's attempted. More useful information can be found in the boxscores of your next opponent. While much of this information is duplicated in team statistics, there are some unique statistics in the boxscores. Points in the paint, points off turnovers, and fastbreak points can be found in the boxscores. Combining your knowledge of 3-point shooting tendencies with points in the paint gives a coach a very good idea of how a coach attacks a defense.

The next place you may want to check is the Depth Chart. Here you have a depth chart for each position. Important to note is that when in late-game blowout situations, the sim will basically eliminate your starters, and sub from 2nd-string down. If you choose to use the target minutes system, you simply set the amount of minutes each player will play in a game. This is a particularly useful tool if you have promised minutes to particular players. This is easily the most effective way of fulfilling your promises. This method will occasionally leave players in for long stretches, however, leading to fatigue. If your main concern is keeping fresh players in the game at all times, the fatigue setting may be your preferred choice. Using this method, you simply choose how tired a player must become before being subbed out of the game. You may want to toy around with the settings a bit in exhibition and early games to get your players the minutes you want. For instance, if you want your starting SG to get more minutes, perhaps switch him from "Fairly Fresh" to "Getting Tired." A coach should definitely experiment with different combinations to find a rotation that he is comfortable with.

This page is also particularly useful for changing depth chart on a game-to-game basis. If you're running a man-to-man defense, you can use this page to put your best defenders against your opponents' best scorers. It's also a fairly common strategy to insert different players into the lineup against certain defenses, or to counter the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent. Doing these things on a regular basis makes you a much less predictable coach, and therefore much more difficult to gameplan against.

At this point you're finally ready for the main portion of the true gameplanning. Your team gameplan page contains many things that you will likely want to remain unchanged for the majority of the season. However, there are certain things you will want to consider on a game-to-game basis. Tempo, for one, should be evaluated after every game. While many factors must be taken into consideration, talent and depth should be the deciding factors in tempo. If you believe yourself to have the deeper, more talented team it is almost never a bad idea to play uptempo. While there are certainly basketball principles integrated into the game (slowdown generally leads to more assists, uptempo tends to struggle more against the press) it is important to remember that this is a numbers game as much as a basketball game. Every possession, there are a combination of probabilities at work that determine whether the possession is successful. The more possessions in a game, the closer the game will move to the average outcome. This obviously favors the more talented team, particularly if they have the depth to keep their players fresh. Now, of course, every coach will develop his own style as far as tempo goes. However, while you're feeling out your own style, it is generally a good idea to push tempo when you feel you have the advantage, and slow the game down when you feel you're overmatched.

Another area that needs to evaluated after every game is defensive positioning. This is where your knowledge of 3-point tendencies and points in the paint is very useful. You may position your players anywhere from +5 (take away perimeter) to -5 (take away inside) depending on where your opponent attempts to attack defenses. There are other effects of positioning, however.

For instance, playing a negative defense aids rebounding, but makes a team more likely to commit fouls. A positive defense has just the opposite effect, with less fouls but also less rebounding help. These factors, however, are generally considered secondary to the prime issue of where your opponent is shooting the ball.

One other area where a coach may wish to change on a nightly basis falls under the "Losing Late" tab. If a team is particularly adept at shooting FT's, you may want to be less aggressive in fouling late, hoping to simply play tough defense. Conversely, if a team struggle from the line, you may want to intentionally foul earlier in the game. Though depth may become a concern if you begin fouling too early, it is never a bad idea to put your opponent in situations where they do no excel.

We now move on to the Player Game Plan page. There are 3 columns to adjust on this page, and each can be set to different levels depending on the defense you are playing against. We'll discuss each column individually, followed by adjustments that might be made depending on defense. The first column is the distribution for each player. This is generally a hot-button issue, so let's begin with exactly what distribution is. Your distribution numbers determine the percentage of possessions a certain player has a play run specifically for him. Your total team distribution cannot go higher than 100, but does not have to reach 100 if you do not wish. It's also important to remember that these are relative numbers. For instance, if you set all 5 of your starters distributions at 20, all of your starters would have an equal number of plays run for them while they were on the floor together. If you then replaced a starter with a player with 0 distribution, the 4 remaining starters would now have 25% of the plays run for them, while the player at 0 would not have any plays run for him. The distributions are constantly evolving as players come in and out of the game. Also, giving a player the highest distribution on your team does not guarantee he will take the most shots on your team. Distribution does not take into account shots from offensive rebounds and steals. Simply running a play for a particular player also does not guarantee he will shoot. The player may be fouled, pass out of a doubleteam, turn the ball over, or simply be defended too well to get a good shot. In the end, it is nearly impossible to have a game where your distribution matches perfectly with your shots attempted. Distribution simply determines who your team will attempt to get shots for. It is certainly no guarantee that certain players will get a certain amount of shots.

Distribution may be left at 0, but this is not an advisable strategy. Some coaches mistakenly believe that leaving distribution at 0 lets the offense take what is given to them, but this is not the case. The opposite is actually true, as the sim decides who will take your shots based completely on your team's offensive capabilities, completely ignoring the settings of your opponents' defense. The only time when this is strategy is somewhat useful is during exhibition games. This strategy allows you to see which players the sim believes are your best offensive weapons. This can be useful information, as the sim likely understands what makes effective offensive players in the engine better than we do.

When changing distribution based on defenses, it's simply a matter of basic basketball principles. If your team is playing against a zone, you likely want to give a nudge to the distribution of your best perimeter shooters. If you are facing a man-to-man defenses, it is a nice idea to isolate matchups where your opponent has poor defenders, or perhaps someone simply too slow to cover your player. The press is a bit trickier, but a good general rule when playing a team that constantly traps is to keep the ball in the hands of the players best equipped to handle the pressure. This means running plays for players that have high ballhandling and passing ratings, along with players that have high IQ's. The more these players have the ball against the press, the less effective the press becomes.

The next column is your 3-point frequency. First, a quick rundown of what each setting means.

  • -2: A player will shoot a 3 only in desperation situations.
  • -1: A player will shoot a 3 when left open, but will generally look to take the ball inside.
  • 0: A player will shoot a 3 in the flow of the offense.
  • +1: A player will actively begin searching for opportunities to shoot 3's
  • +2: Think J.J. Redick. A player is constantly looking for the opportunity to shoot a 3.

Which setting you use for each player should be determined by a combination of perimeter, speed, ballhandling, and IQ. All of these things effect a player's ability to get good looks and convert them. When considering changes against different defenses, there is not an enormous amount of decision-making with this category. Against zone, you may want your perimeter shooters to be a bit more aggressive, particularly a 2-3 that does not extend with positive positioning. Against a man-to-man and press, decisions should likely be made depending on how you believe your opponent will position his defense. The more you believe he will extend, the more you should attempt to drive.

The next column is foul trouble. While this is a relatively new addition to the game at the time of this writing, this is not a complicated tool. Normal simply means that the sim engine will treat foul problems the same way it always has. If you are new to HD, and are not yet sure how the sim handles substitutions, you should probably leave it on normal until you've figured out how you would like to set yours up. More aggressive simply means you're willing to leave a player on the floor longer with foul trouble, less aggressive meaning that you want a player pulled more quickly with foul trouble. It's simply a decision of whether or not you want to risk not having a player at the end of the game with the hope that he can avoid fouls and play most of the game even with foul trouble.

As far as changing these settings from game to game, or based on defense, there are a few theories. One theory is that you treat it much like you do distribution, in a way. Against zone, be more aggressive with your shooters than you are with your other players. Against man to man, be aggressive with players who can take advantage of bad defenders. Against press, be more aggressive with players that can handle and pass the basketball. Another theory rests on the talent level of the teams. If playing a team that is superior to your own, you may need to take more risks with foul problems due to fear of falling out of the game with your backups in. It serves little purpose to have your best players at the end of the game if the game has already been decided. While there is simply not enough evidence at this point to have fine-tuned strategies with foul trouble, these are things to think about as you make your adjustments and develop your own strategy.

At the bottom of this page, you also have a doubleteam option. One note here is that if you are running a fullcourt press, you will constantly be doubleteaming the player with the basketball, and therefore have no control over doubleteam settings. However, if you are running a man-to-man defense, or a zone, you have the option of doubleteaming a player every time he touches the ball, or any time he receives the ball and is his team's leading scorer. This lends some flexibility, as you have the option of single-covering the player if he is not being as effective as you might have feared. If you choose to double in a man-to-man defense, your team will simply leave one player unguarded. In a zone, your team will slide into either a matchup zone, or a triangle and 2, depending on whether you are doubleateaming 1 or 2 players. For more information on these defenses, click here.

While doubleteaming can be an effective strategy for teams that rely heavily on 1 or 2 players, it is not a widely practiced strategy among many veteran coaches. Most veteran coaches believe that leaving players wide open outweigh the benefits of harassing a team's best player. A good rule of thumb is to only doubleteam if you feel you cannot defend a team in good conscience without doubling. For instance, if your opponent has a player averaging 50 points a game, taking 70% of a team's shots (which will happen from time to time in HD) it is certainly a good idea to doubleteam. However, in the end, this is a tool that is best used sparingly.

If you have any other questions on gameplanning, here are some other helpful links: http://www.whatifsports.com/devchat/devchat.asp?chatid=4 http://www.whatifsports.com/forums/Posts.aspx?forumID=59&TopicID=154519

Changing Jobs

When changing jobs, many of the same factors for selecting your first team will still apply. It is still important to look at a team's returning talent, offense/defense, location, prestige, and conference affiliation before jumping in. However, there are other factors when changing jobs. While looking at the available jobs, you will have advice from your agent. There are several different pieces of advice he can give you. For clarity's sake, we'll go over what each piece of advice means.

  • Not Qualified: Just what it says. You have not proven yourself enough to be eligible for this job. If you apply, you will be nearly instantly rejected.
  • Longshot: You have a very, very small chance at this job. In most coaches' experience, the chance is so miniscule it's hardly worth exploring, as you will almost always be instantly rejected.
  • Keep Looking: Basically the same as Longshot, though this also means the school is considered a Step Backwards, meaning you will incur a severe loyalty hit. (We'll cover loyalty hits momentarily)
  • Lateral: This is the advice you get when looking at jobs that are DII or DIII schools when already at that level. Again, this advice is a warning of a loyalty hit.
  • Qualified: This means that you have done enough to qualify for this job, and that your resume seems like a very good fit for the program. This does not guarantee you will be hired at this job, however, as another coach with a better resume could apply.
  • Step Backwards: This means that your agent believe you already have your program at a level higher than this particular team. While you will generally have a good chance of being hired in this case, you will receive a large loyalty hit.
  • Over Qualified: Generally reserved for when you are going to a lower division. (Stepping down from DI to DII or DIII, for example) This will merit an enormous loyalty drop.

While your agent's advice is crucial for knowing where to apply, it's important to remember that he is not working with the full body of information. Schools hire coaches based on 4 categories.

  1. Success
  2. Experience
  3. Loyalty
  4. Reputation

Your agent takes only the first 2 of these into account. Therefore, a school that you are qualified for, or perhaps even a school that is a considered a step backwards, may choose not to hire you due to concerns about your loyalty and reputation. Every school has different standards for all 4 categories, so the only sure way to know that you are eligible to be hired is to have an A+ in both loyalty and reputation.

Loyalty is determined simply by how loyal to your schools you have been during the course of your career. Your loyalty will begin at a B- with your first school. Every year that you remain at your current school, your loyalty rating will improve. Any time you leave your school, even for a program that is considered superior, your loyalty rating will take a hit. You will also receive a very minor loyalty hit for applying to jobs, even if you are not hired, but this will usually not be significant enough to change your letter grade. The amount that your loyalty drops depends largely on how long you have been at your current school, and if the school is considered a step up, a lateral move, or a step down. For point of reference, if you have been at a school long enough to achieve an A+ loyalty, and move to a school that is considered a step up, you will generally drop to an A- or B+. If you are stepping down a level, it is entirely possible that your loyalty will drop all the way to an F. If taking a job that is a step backwards, be sure you are prepared to stay there for a multitude of seasons.

Reputation is determined by factors related to recruiting. Namely, promises made to recruits and booster gifts. Your reputation rating will begin at an A+ with your first team. It will remain there unless you A:( promise minutes and/or starts to a recruit and do not fulfill that promise or B:( use booster gifts to lure recruits onto your team. Recently, changes have been made to the game, enforcing recruiting promise very strictly. At this point it is not wise to promise a recruit an amount of minutes unless you are absolutely certain he will average AT LEAST that many minutes. If a recruit falls below his promised minutes, he will usually send you an E-mail at some point during the season complaining about the situation. If the situation is not rectified, it is very possible that the recruit will transfer.

While some coaches use regularly use booster gifts as a recruiting strategy, the majority of veteran coaches advise against using them. Because of the damage that booster gifts can do to a program, DIII coaches are not allowed to use booster gifts, essentially protecting new coaches. While booster gifts can help you land that star recruit, they can also destroy your reputation, and get your program put on probation, or even banned from postseason play. One of the worst situations imaginable in this game is to have a team banned from postseason, and being unable to escape the situation due to poor reputation. Due to these risks, booster gifts are a very high risk strategy that is not recommended for most players. If you have any other questions about promotions, here is a good place to start.

Prizes

In Hoops Dynasty, there are prizes other than the obvious satisfaction of defeating rosters of imaginary basketball players with your own imaginary team. Each time you make the National Tournament, you earn credits or Reward Points (to use in the Rewards Center).

  • Lose opening round game: $3 in credits
  • Lose second round game: $5 in credits
  • Lose Sweet 16 game: $10 in credits
  • Lose Elite 8 game: $15 in credits
  • Lose Final Four game: $20 in credits
  • Lose Championship game: 4,000 reward points
  • National Champion: 6,000 reward points

Even if your team is shut out from the postseason, you still will not walk away from a season empty-handed. Every season that you do not reach the postseason, you will receive a discount on your next season purchased, generally around $1.