It’s MONEYBALL TIME!!!! Ok, if somehow you don’t know what this is, let me explain. First off, it is NOT the concept that used statistics to revolutionize baseball (and essentially every other sport forever). Moneyball is the annual basketball scoring palooza that has revolutionized the doldrums of the summer heat in the state of Michigan.
This year marks the 18th edition of the pro-am basketball league. The event - and apparel company it is named for - are named after the AAU era nickname of its founder Desmond Ferguson. Ferguson is a local product who starred at Everett High School before playing collegiate and professional basketball.
The event became required viewing for most Michigan State fans during the Miles Bridges era. Now, each team features at least one current Michigan State player.
The event’s rules require “all players must have graduated high school and currently playing, have played, or about to play college basketball.” The event specifically features current college basketball players as well as professionals.
NCAA rules limit each team in a pro-am league like this to only two current members of any current collegiate roster. That means the Spartan players have been paired up and distributed across the league into the following teams:
Team Faygo: Xavier Booker and AJ Hoggard
Team 5 Star Zone: Coen Carr and Gehrig Normand
Team Snipes: Jaden Akins and Mady Sissoko
Team Goodfellas: Tyson Walker and Carson Cooper
Team Snipback: Tre Holloman and Jaxon Kohler
Team Nano Magic: Jeremy Fears
Notably, Fears will be without a Michigan State partner, as Malik Hall is not taking part this summer while he recovers from foot surgery.
The games kick off this Thursday, June 29th and are every Tuesday and Friday through the end of July. The playoffs are the first week of August. Even better, every game is free to the public. And if past years are any indication - they are a scene. (Full schedule at the end of this article)
What to Watch at Moneyball:
How the new freshman look
This will be a GREAT opportunity to see Coen Carr do more than highlight reel dunks - though its a pretty safe bet there will be a LOT of those. Watching all four of the new freshman, Booker, Car, Normand and Fears take on collegiate and professional level talent will be fun for sure.
The progression of key young guys like Holloman, Kohler and Cooper
These three guys played significant minutes during this past year, and are looking to expand their roles in the coming season. Getting more of a feel for their shot at the collegiate level will be key for all of them as they struggled to shoot (Holloman), finish (Kohler), or be consistent offensively (Cooper) for long stretches of last season.
Watch Akins and Hoggard put on a show
These two players pulled their names out of the NBA Draft and they want to show the world they belong in a world of professionals. A healthy summertime Akins should be especially fun to watch, as he has the physical gifts to play this type of open floor offensive from the rafters.
The friendly disclaimer on Moneyball: The results are not necessarily predictive
This is a super fun summer event. It is an opportunity to watch incredibly talented players cut loose and score with abandon. For some guys, it is an incredible development opportunity, where you can see things come together (example: Cooper looked less lost than anyone expected at this event last year, giving a small glimpse of the role he would grow into during his first year).
That said, there is ALWAYS the Pierre Brooks element (in fact, this disclaimer should probably be named for him). Brooks was the tournament MVP of the 2022 Moneyball scoring just over 40 points a game. A glance at his productivity during the actual 2022-2023 season should be all the reminder you need to take the results of Moneyball with a GIGANTIC grain of salt.
Still, it is super fun.
Here is the full Moneyball Pro-Am 2023 Schedule:
Thursday, June 29
6 p.m.: Nano Magic vs. Faygo
7 p.m.: Goodfellas vs. Snipback
8 p.m.: 5 Star vs. Snipes
Thursday, July 6
6 p.m.: Snipes vs. Snipback
7 p.m.: Goodfellas vs. Faygo
8 p.m.: Nano Magic vs. 5 Star
Tuesday, July 11
6 p.m.: Goodfellas vs. 5 Star
7 p.m.: Snipes vs. Nano Magic
8 p.m.: Faygo vs. Snipback
Thursday, July 13
6 p.m.: Nano Magic vs. Snipback
7 p.m.: Faygo vs. 5 Star
8 p.m.: Goodfellas vs. Snipes
Tuesday, July 18
6 p.m.: Faygo vs. Snipes
7 p.m.: Snipback vs. 5 Star
8 p.m.: Goodfellas vs. Nano Magic
Thursday, July 20
6 p.m.: 5 Star vs. Nano Magic
7 p.m.: Faygo vs. Goodfellas
8 p.m.: Snipback vs. Snipes
Tuesday, July 25
6 p.m.: Snipback vs. Faygo
7 p.m.: 5 Star vs. Goodfellas
8 p.m.: Nano Magic vs. Snipes
Thursday, July 27
6 p.m.: Snipes vs. 5 Star
7 p.m.: Faygo vs. Nano Magic
8 p.m.: Snipback vs. Goodfellas
Tuesday, Aug. 1 (Playoffs)
6 p.m.: 3 seed vs. 4 seed
7 p.m.: 1 seed vs. 6 seed
8 p.m.: 2 seed vs. 5 seed
Thursday, Aug. 3 (Playoffs)
6 p.m.: Winner of 3/4 seed vs. Winner 2/5 seed (semis)
7 p.m.: Moneyball 3-point contest
8 p.m.: Winner 1/6 seed vs. 6 p.m. winner (championship)