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September 24, 2013

Hickory-High is entering its fourth full season of NBA coverage and over that time we’ve undergone considerable change, slowly morphing from a digital dumping ground from my mostly illegible thoughts about basketball to a full-fledged website with a staff of over fifteen writers. The tagline for the site has always been “Basketball Numerica and Esoterica” and we’ll continue to try and hit that along, with everything in between. We have lots of new faces this season and some exciting new projects lined up, including some new ways to get you, the readers, engaged and involved.

Hopefully, you’ll be back regularly and enjoy what you find. If you do, make sure to let us know. If you don’t, also make sure to let us know.

– Ian Levy

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As the site has grown and changed, this “About” page has become a living document. You can scroll down from here to find the two previous iterations.


November 9, 2011

Hickory-High was created in February 2010, a project born of my frustration that no one was paying attention to Troy Murphy. Many parts of me wish that was a joke. At that time, I was just a passionate Pacers’ fan with a curiousity about advanced statistics. I found myself paralyzed by confusion with the way Murphy was viewed as one of the most productive players in the league by systems like Win Shares and Wins Produced, yet viewed as so incredibly counter-productive by Adjusted Plus-Minus. When Henry Abbott understandably ignored my repeated emails on the subject, I began looking for another outlet.Hickory-High began as a way for me to explore and learn about basketball. I’m happy to say I’ve resolved my confusion on Troy Murphy, although a post on the subject never materialized. I write because it helps me understand. Of course this means I have a lot more writing to do. Although you’ll find plenty of statistics-based analysis here, there are rambling rants as well. I’d like to think there’s something for everyone.

Since I started out I’ve been incredibly lucky and had the opportunity to contribute at several other wonderful websites. In addition to my regular work here at Hickory-High, you can now find my unique brand of nonsense at Indy Cornrows, The Two Man Game and HoopSpeak U. The best part of this hobby is the discussion that goes with it. Please share your thoughts in the comments to any of my pieces. You can also find me on Twitter @HickoryHigh, Facebook, or send me a long winded diatribe by email,

The rest of this page is my original Statement of Purpose, the very first thing I wrote at Hickory-High. Although some of it is out-of-date, I’ve left it up as reminder to myself (and readers) of where I started.


February 24, 2010


        Let me begin by saying that I recognize and freely admit the self-indulgent nature of this undertaking. To my knowledge, no one has ever expressed the slightest desire to hear or read any of my opinions about basketball. Despite being a passionate fan, I am utterly unqualified as a basketball analyst. Despite my bachelor’s degree I am a barely proficient writer.

Now that my shortcomings are out of the way, let me talk briefly about my strengths. I love basketball. I watch as much as I can, while balancing the commitments of being a husband and 3rd grade teacher. I read as much as I can about basketball. I actively work to deepen my understanding of the many aspects of this wonderful game. I have many thoughts and opinions. I have a burgeoning desire to put those thoughts and opinions into writing.


         This blog will be a place for me to add my own thoughts, admittedly simple and unqualified, about the world of basketball to the vast cacophany of opinions expressed over the internet and other media forms. In all likelihood, I will be the only person reading or discussing these opinions for the forseeable future. As I don’t anticipate having much in the way of readership, this blog will serve first and foremost as a vehicle for me to analyze, codify and expand my own opinions and understandings of the world of basketball, through the use of the written word.


          To begin, I am setting a modest goal of at least one post per week. At first these posts may take a myriad number of forms. I hope that as I become more proficient as a blogger and a basketball thinker a structure to my opinions and discussions will emerge, which will guide the nature of future posts.

*All aspects are subject to revision!

  • Bluejohn

    I haven’t read one post yet, followed the link over from I love your premise and appreciate your honesty. As the experts prove themselves incapable of meaningfully writing about anything more than the top 8-10 teams your opinions and analysis is just as likely to be as good or better than the talking heads over at ESPN and the like.

    • ilevy

      Thanks for your kind words. I hope you enjoy the rest of my work here as much as this!

  • Vijay

    Very impressive blog you’ve put together. I like how you’re able to manipulate existing stats into analytics that are way more useful, and you clearly understand the game beyond numbers.

    Your vision and overall passion bears a striking resemblance to that of mine. Like you, nobody in my entire network of friends loves basketball as much as I do. So, I recently started blogging about the NBA myself – at the advice of David Thorpe himself (he was nice enough to respond when I decided to take a long-shot at asking him how landing an NBA gig would be possible). I’m an engineer at NASA, so obviously I have been immersed in a career path that would expose me to the sports world at all. It seems as though you’ve broken through that barrier and have had great success.

    Anyway, I’m going to link to your blog, both on my “Favorite Links” list and on specific posts of yours. If you have a minute, please take a look at my blog at Let me know what you think.


  • Shane

    “I am a barely proficient writer.” — Thats quite a modest statement. Your writing is extremely mature and expressive. Don’t sell yourself short.

    • ilevy

      Thanks Shane! I wrote this Statement of Purpose just over a year ago when I started the blog. I’d like to say I was just trying to keep expectations low with some self-deprecating humor. I certainly had that in mind, but the truth is that plugging away and writing nearly every day for such a long span of time has done a lot for my skill level. If you went back ten or eleven months into my archives, I’m not sure mature and expressive would be the first words to pop into your head. Still, I’m glad the improvement is apparent and I truly appreciate the compliment. Feel free to leave many, many more.

  • Tanner

    I love your work. It is fascinating to read.

    I am not sure how your Troy Murphy “crisis” worked out, but I have been telling my friends for at least three years that the “+/-” is the single dumbest statistic out there; though I have long questioned 3pt attempts being a part of the overall FG%, and not a completely separate, and stand-alone, statistic.

    Have you ever done anything that would illustrates how the reliance on the 3-pointer affects certain players? Specifically, those like LBJ, Westbrook, Rose, etc., who are so much more efficient when going to the hoop?

    Either way, thank you for all the work, and I look forward to reading your columns.

  • Tanner

    …and as soon as I asked!

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