Basketball, like most sports is a game of numbers. Each season, it seems more emphasis is put on statistical data collection and usage. Whether it is used to calculate points per 48 minutes or a playerís efficiency rating, numbers play a critical role in basketball.
Weíre going to take a look at numbers that played a significant role in the 2011-2012 BayHawks season. Due to a record number of player transactions, it was a season of change for Erie, as the team was constantly evolving, even in the playoffs. A strong finish propelled the BayHawks to the overall fifth seed with a regular season record of 28-22. Waiting for Erie in the playoffs were the Austin Toros, the team that finished with the second best record in the regular season (33-17) and featured a starting five of players who all boasted NBA experience. In fact, nine of the ten starters in the series had spent time on an NBA roster, with BayHawks rookie D.J. Kennedy being the lone exception. Erie would eventually fall to Austin, two games to one, but they had a great run and here are some numbers to prove it.
1638: The total number of career NBA games played by members of the BayHawks roster. Mike James led the way with 537 games played in the association, followed by Devin Brownís 465. Joey Graham has appeared in 377 NBA contests and Keith McLeod has seen action in exactly 200 games. Devin Green, Jerome Jordan, Donald Sloan and Mychel Thompson also have NBA experience under their belts. The veteran leadership provided by these players played a critical role in Erieís charge to the playoffs in the final month of the season.
1000: On April 6, the first 1,000 fans through the doors received a free Kyle Goldcamp bobble head on Fan Appreciation Night, presented by Penelec. The figurine featured the Pittsburgh native in his BayHawks uniform, holding a Gannon University basketball. The local fan favorite had an illustrious career while playing for Gannon and helped lead them to a 30-4 record and a trip to the Elite Eight in his senior season.
629: Speaking of Goldcamp, he became the teamís all-time leading rebounder during the 2011-12 season, surpassing Erik Daniels (556). For the year, he pulled in 371 total rebounds, including a team record 141 offensive boards. He also finished the season with the team record for offensive rebounds (255).
130: Erieís highest scoring output on the season, recorded against the Reno Bighorns on March 9, 2012. The BayHawks were paced by 29 points from Donald Sloan, 23 from D.J. Kennedy and a season-high 21 from Jeremy Green. Kyle Goldcamp and Kyle Spain both pitched in with 17, Tyrone Brazelton scored 11 and Marvin Phillips added 10 to boost the BayHawks to victory. In his return to the Tullio Arena, former BayHawks guard Blake Ahearn led all scorers with 32 points and added seven assists.
89: The record setting number of three pointers made by forward Kyle Spain. Spain shot his way into the BayHawks record books this season by connecting on over 20 more three point shots than the next closest BayHawks player (Blake Ahearnís 68 in 2010-11). Spain also passed Ahearn for the teamís all-time three point mark, finishing the season with 130 career three pointers made.
54: Another record setting number, this time by the entire league. A total of 54 players received call-ups from NBA teams, doubling last yearís total and further enhancing the competitiveness of the league. The previous season high for call-ups was 40, set in the 2009-10 season. The 54 call-ups were shared amongst 39 different players, also a record for the D-League.
37.3: Erieís rookie guard, D.J. Kennedy ranked third in the league with 37.3 minutes played per game for the BayHawks. After missing the first five games of the season due to a knee injury from his college career, Kennedy became Erieís iron man. He steadily improved his statistics all season, capping off a terrific rookie campaign by posting a stat line of 15.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. In multiple games down the stretch, Kennedy flirted with a triple-double. Season highs for D.J. include 47 minutes, 29 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists and seven three pointers made.
34: Two players split the honor of the highest point total in a single game for Erie. In the teamís second game of the season, Donald Sloan exploded for 34 points against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. When the BayHawks visited the Springfield Armor on January 5, Devin Green recorded his 34 point performance. For the most part, Erie held a balanced scoring attack as eight of the players on the final roster averaged double-digits in the scoring column.
28: Perhaps it was the delayed start to the NBA season or just a testimony to the talent level in the D-League, but the BayHawks saw a few roster overhauls during the season. A total of 28 players suited up for the BayHawks during the season, by far the most in team history. In fact, only three players finished the season with the BayHawks after starting the season on the opening day roster. Two of those players, Kyle Goldcamp and Mychel Thompson both missed time during the season to participate in NBA training camps or games.
16: Erie saw itís best season in team history from behind the arc this year. One game in particular stands out as the BayHawks nailed a team high 16 three point shots against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on February 16. D.J. Kennedy led the team with seven shots from deep, Mychel Thompson added five, Kyle Spain connected twice and Keith McLeod and Jeremy Green both added a three pointer in the BayHawks victory. For the season, the BayHawks connected on 328 three point shots and shot 35.2% from behind the arc.
9: Erie contributed to the leagueís record number of call-ups with nine of their own. The nine call-ups from Erie led the league, followed by Los Angeles and Austin. Veteran guard Mike James received four call-ups, all by the Chicago Bulls. Donald Sloan was called-up a total of three times by the Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland also plucked Mychel Thompson from the BayHawks roster and the Charlotte Bobcats called-up BayHawks first round selection Cory Higgins at the beginning of the NBA season. While the call-ups may negatively impact the BayHawks roster for the immediate future, they ultimately show how well Coach Larranaga prepares his players for life in the NBA.
2: On January 19, the New York Knicks assigned two players to the D-League for the first time in team history. Those two players were center Jerome Jordan and a seldom used guard, Jeremy Lin. Jordan would wind up shuttling back and forth between Erie and New York a total of three times. While with the BayHawks, he averaged 18.0 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game in the regular season. The seven footer also played a key role in Erieís playoff series against Austin, averaging 19.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks against the Toros. Jordanís teammate on the Knicks brings us to our final numberÖ
1: One game. Perhaps the game that started the entire Linsanity craze. On Friday, March 20, Jeremy Lin suited up for his only game in a BayHawks uniform. He did not disappoint, scoring 28 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds in Erieís win over the Red Claws. He was scheduled to play in the second game of the series but had to sit out due to an injury. After being recalled to the Knicks, all Lin did was take the world by storm, instantly becoming an international superstar and the mediaís focal point. Anything and everything Lin-related flew off the shelves (click here for your BayHawks Lin merchandise!). The D-Leagueís most prominent alum was showing exactly why the league was put in place, to develop talent for the NBA. Linís instant rise to the top gives all players in the D-League hope that they too can have an impact on the league, even if itís not to the same extent.
The 2011-12 BayHawks season was like any other in the teamís history. As spring rolls into summer and summer falls into autumn, Coach Larranaga and Coach McDonald will once again put their plan together for another season of BayHawks basketball. A new season with new opportunities for players to collect wins, set records and perhaps become transnational superstars. Nobody knows whatís in store for next season, but weíre all anxious for it to start.