Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Picking of An All-Area Team

The publication of the All-Area teams always brings on the inevitable question:
How is the team picked?
Well, one of the reasons I wanted a blog was to explain something like this. Blogs aren't constricted by time or space. There is no deadline. And there are no rules. So let me unveil what goes on when picking an All-Area team.
Keep in mind - this is how I pick an All-Area team. I am not speaking for other writers. There are no hard and fast rules for throwing these teams together, so what works for me may not work for others, and vice versa. But this is how I do it.
I get stats from the coaches. Then I step back, pick a player of the year and a team.
There ya go. That's how we do it. No equations or formulas. No votes. We keep the coaches' input in mind, but ultiamtely, the decision rests with the writer picking the team.
When picking the player of the year, stats play a pivotal role. But it's not everyting. I often take a team's schedule into account, as well as how the player did against area teams. And if the player just so happens to be on the team that went the furthest, I ask myself if the team would have gone that far without that player.
Keep in mind - the player of the year doesn't always come from the best team. There was a girls basketball team that won a state championship while I was working for a paper in Pennsylvania, and we picked a player for another team. The state championship team, as good as it was, didn't have a standout player. So like I said, this is a formula-free process.
The hardest part of picking a team in this area, however, is we have nearly a dozen teams spread out over five classifications. Do we punish the kids who play for small schools? No. But at the same time, should we measure a player who faces Class 5A or 6A competition against someone who sees Class 1A and 2A teams?
So yes, stats from a Class 5A player are weighed against those from 1A and 2A schools. Face it - the competition at the higher level is tougher. That's not to say there isn't any talent at the lower levels. If there wasn't, there wouldn't be any Class 1A or 2A players on our teams, or wouldn't earn Player of the Year status, which as has happened quite frequently.
So that's how it's done. That's how the team is picked. We do our best to be fair, all the while knowing everybody won't be pleased. But keep this in mind - there are no biases. We don't play favorites. We put the most deserving players on the team, and go from there.
Will everybody agree?
But let's be honest. That's part of the fun.

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