WOLFVILLE, N.S. - A lifelong interest in sports and statistics has added up to a passion for Nick DeAdder, performance analyst for the Acadia men's basketball team.
DeAdder, who was born in Bridgewater, recalls developing an interest in both during his childhood years in Bridgewater.
"Growing up, my interests were always sports related," said DeAdder. "When living in Bridgewater we often didn't have cable, so I would spend time clipping the sports scores and stats from the news paper, and writing my own reviews for NHL and NBA games. I had a knack for remembering numbers so I used to be able to tell you how many points a particular player scored any given night, or players' birthdays, heights, weights, career statistics etc."
When his family did get cable, DeAdder would tape TSN's SportsCentre and do the same thing.
Today he puts that interest in statistics and sports into play for Kevin Duffie's Axemen.
DeAdder collects and uses statistics to provide evidence for a change to team concepts to increase team performance.
"The stats don't have to be complex or necessarily be traditional basketball statistics," he said.
"If there is something the head coach thinks is important, there should be a way to track that something such that we as staff can say we did that something well or we did that something poorly."
He also looks after scouting, using a computer program to tag everything that happens in a possession to find a team's tendencies and efficiency in everything they do.
Coaching staff can then use this information to make informed decisions about how to defend certain players or actions.
He said a simple example would be if a particular player shoots the ball well from the right corner.
" It would be my job to suggest to a coach that we should think about changing our offence such that this player finds himself in that corner more frequently. "
DeAdder said a more abstract example would be if the head coach said, "We play better when we are full of energy."
In this case his job would be to examine what does energy look like, or sound like.
Born in Bridgewater as Nicholas Demone, he and his mother, Kelli Zinck moved to the Valley in 1995. His mother later remarried and he became Nick DeAdder.
He began a lifelong love of basketball when he started playing with the Kings Minor Basketball Association back in the mid-1990s.
DeAdder attended Central Kings High School and played both basketball and soccer. He was recruited to Acadia and Cape Breton University to play soccer and opted for Acadia, a decision he said he has never regretted.
He played soccer for three years at Acadia before injuries ended his playing career.
He graduated with a bachelor of science with honours in biology in 2013.
It was while at Acadia that he became involved with coaching basketball. He took on the role of student manager with then head coach Steve Baur.
"I did all the things everyone else hates. Filled water bottles, tracked stats in practice and games, filmed practice, ran the score clock in practice, and organized team meals. Basically whatever was needed."
After a few years with the staff and doing the managerial work, Coach Baur gave DeAdder the performance analyst tag.
"He and I had several conversations around statistics and how they could be used to increase our performance as a team. I liked that, and thought it aligned with my interests with basketball statistics."
DeAdder said the current coaching lineup works as a cohesive team and as well as providing the stats, he has equal input to other coaches during the game and during timeouts.
He also works with Acadia's strength and conditioning team and is responsible for collecting rates of perceived exertion values from players following each practice. These values measure how hard the players perceive the practice to be.
"This gives us an idea of the load we are putting on our athletes, combined with the stresses of school and relationships outside of basketball. In the end we care about these players and their health is an important piece to us, both physically but also mentally."
DeAdder said he is internally motivated, driven by an innate competitiveness and love of winning that has pushed him to perform to the best of his ability.
He draws inspiration from his mother, who taught him to embrace challenges head on, "to stay outside my comfort zone and to do whatever I do with the utmost humility and respect."
His talent has also brought DeAdder opportunities on a world stage. He took on a performance analyst role with the women's national program in 2014.
"They had gotten some funding and wanted to put more of there resources into the analytics side of things and hence expanding that within the program."
His comfort with technology also helped him attract notice and he was one of three people selected to scout for the women's national team in advance of the 2015 Pan Am games in Toronto, and the 2015 FIBA Americas (Olympic qualifiers) in Edmonton.
"So I watched, tagged and clipped about 30 games. The women's national team obviously went on to win both of those which was super exciting because I felt like I had a part in it, albeit a small one, you still get the sense of accomplishment."
DeAdder then took on the head performance analyst role with the junior women's national team and travelled to Chile last summer for the FIBA Americas where Canada lost to the U.S. In the gold medal game.
This summer the team travels to Italy for the World Championships and DeAdder hopes to be along, which would be his first trip to Europe.
Meanwhile, DeAdder is working on his masters in kinesiology with a focus on the biomechanics of the lower limbs during athletic maneuvers as it relates to prevention of ACL injuries.
His long term plans would be acquiring a PhD in biomechancis and become a professor at Acadia. However, he welcomes the opportunity to be involved with the national women's team and an opportunity to be with them at the 2020 Olympics, which would put other plans on hold.
Source: Frank De Palma