Over on FiveThirtyEight, Carl Bialik has an interesting article on how NCAA assist rates vary from court to court, since scorekeepers are given considerable leeway in deciding what counts as an assist and what doesn't. Ken Pomeroy tackled the same subject back in 2007, and both identified Sam Houston State as a particularly assist-friendly offender.
It's a good reminder that the "objective" stats at the core of a lot of analytics aren't really all that objective, and the effect isn't limited to the NCAA. Back in 2009, our own Tommy Craggs interviewed Alex, a former NBA scorekeeper, on his personal experiences cooking the books for the Vancouver Grizzlies.
As Alex remembers it now, Olajuwon had a double-double with nine blocks at some point during the fourth quarter. "Someone in management came to me and said, basically, Thou shalt give Hakeem Olajuwon a triple-double. Come hell or high water, he's getting a triple-double. I'm like, uh, OK."
Read the whole story below.