Editor's note: Coaches and players constantly search for an edge through the most modern ways. More and more teams focus on technology as a key to success.
What's happening at West Virginia University is a good example of what's happening across the country. This is the second part of a 5-part series.
MORGANTOWN -- It might just be that Wellington Smith's post-basketball career was meant to be spent manipulating numbers to frame the future.
After playing for West Virginia from 2007-10 and then briefly in Japan, Smith took a job at Emerald Financial Resources, a member of the Mass Mutual Financial Group. Among many duties, it helps clients with investment strategies, retirement savings and estate planning.
He's now the director of basketball marketing at GameChanger, a scorekeeping and statistics software company that's crunching numbers to completely change the way players, coaches and fans watch and evaluate games.
"You can't run away from the numbers," Smith said.
"When a parent sees their kid's numbers or when a kid sees his own numbers, that gives you a source of entitlement that makes you think, 'I don't want my numbers to be less than what they should be. I want to keep working.' With our basketball app, it's totally revolutionized those numbers and the way people keep stats."
The GameChanger basketball app is available for mobile devices and tablets and has free and premium versions (http://www.gamechanger.io/). It tracks more than two dozen statistics for more than 2,400 teams at various levels and essentially serves as an advanced box score. It takes the stats common to all games, but uses them in different ways to provide a more thorough explanation for the successes or failures of a team or a player.
A box score can show how many times a player shoots and misses. GameChanger does that, but also charts the location of those shots. That then gives the user a pretty clear idea of where a teammate or opponent likes to go to get good offense. Coaches can then use that information for game plans and scouting reports before games and for adjustments within games.
"You might see a player and say, 'Don't let that person go left. He's left-handed, so let's make him drive it right,'" Smith said. "But maybe that person wants to go right because he's not a particularly good shooter from the left side. With GameChanger, you could tell that he likes to go right and that he makes a lot of his shots when he pulls up for a shot.
"If a coach goes in at halftime, he can look at a box score and say, 'Geez, we're getting outrebounded. Our turnovers are crazy. Wells, you're shooting 80 percent from 3-point range,' " he added. "You can go inside the app and get all those stats, but you can also say, 'Wells, you've made all your 3s from the right and you haven't made any from the left.' You can't see that on a box score."