Welcome back to the “Ask A Blogger” series in which I interview basketbloggers about the #bloglife and basketball. To see previous interviews, go here.
We had a little technical difficulty with the site today, so we’re coming in a little late with this one, but it was too good to push back. I talked with Ian Levy of Hickory High, Hardwood Paroxysm and Bleacher Report. Ian is a rarity in basketball twitter in that he lives in Vermont, but just because there’s no NBA team around, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know his stuff. So check out the interview, follow him on Twitter dot com (@HickoryHigh) and read the words he writes.
1. In just a few sentences, can you tell us who you write for/what your job is?
Well, at this point my job and who I write for are two separate things. I pay the bills as an elementary school teacher and basketball writing gets crammed into any open space I can find around that and family. I run Hickory-High.com, a site I started about four years ago, and write regularly at Hardwood Paroxysm andBleacher Report. I’ve also written for other sites over the past few years and occasionally will pop up with the some guest appearances, but right now it’s primarily the alphabet soup of H-H, HP and B/R.
2. How did you first get interested in/started with writing about basketball?
I’ve been a big basketball fan as long as I can remember and spent a lot of time reading blogs in the early days of the TrueHoop Network. That arena was my introduction to basketball analytics, something that’s really captured my interest. As I was exploring and figuring out how all these statistical pieces fit together I was obsessed with Troy Murphy, who was then “peaking” for the Pacers. Box score based metrics consistently rated him as one of the best players in the league but on/off based statistics usually had him near the bottom of the barrel. I didn’t have the expertise at that point to reconcile those two pieces and so I was constantly asking questions in the comment sections of different blogs and emailing writers who never wrote back. One afternoon at lunch I was frustrated enough with the lack of responses to go to WordPress and start my own site. I wrote a few things about the Pacers in the very early days of the site and Tom Lewis, of Indy Cornrows, invited me to become a contributor for him. From there things just sort of snowballed. And I’m happy to say that I now understand the Troy Murphy conundrum.
3. How does a normal day of blogging go for you?
I get up at 5:00 AM and work for about an hour before I leave for my day job. That time is usually split between working on my own projects and editing pieces for the rest of the writing staff at Hickory-High. Usually I’ll have a game on in the background, something from the night before I wasn’t able to watch live. From there I try to carve out as much time as I can to write at lunch. During the evenings I’m usually piecing things together around dinner and time with my wife and son. Everything pretty much comes in small, fractured chunks of time these days and I’m not often to watch full games live nearly as often as I’d like. This makes the DVR and video tools like Synergy and NBA.com/stats really important for me. Also, both H-H and HP have lively email daily email threads so there’s a lot of basketball discussion to interact with.
4. Switching to basketball things, what is one low-key thing in the league (player, team, set, etc.) that you really like watching right now that casual fans may not know about?
I’m a Pacers’ fan so this year has been like a dream. Everyone knows about Hibbert, Stephenson and George but I’ve been really enjoying George Hill. His shooting has been a little shaky of late and he’s usually pointed to as the weak link in their starting five, but I love the way he fills in all the cracks for them, offensively and defensively. He’s hugely important to the success of their schemes and I really enjoy watching him just go out and get things done.
5. We’re doing Anthony Davis week here on Saving the Skyhook, and one of the topics we’ve touched on was the possibility of him winning the MVP award. I’d like your thoughts on that, so briefly, does Anthony Davis win an MVP award, and if so, how long does it take him to get it?
Looking out at a player’s career and trying to project an NBA is such a crapshoot. It takes luck, health, success, complimentary teammates and of course a compelling narrative. Barring injury I think he’ll certainly have a 5-7 peak where he would be in the conversation every year, receiving some votes. Whether enough those variables will ever come together at the right time for him to actually win, I just don’t know.
So there you have it. Thanks again to Ian for taking the time to talk to us. Again, make sure to follow him on Twitter: @HickoryHigh.