Moreyball Right on the Money

Willie Weinbaum’s article on Houston Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey [“Moreyball,” spring 2014] hit several nails on the head. Yes, they call Morey a stats guy, but he’s more than that. As the article pointed out, Bill James, the king of the numbers crunchers, says that Daryl Morey has taken his Pythagorean theorem to another level. That’s because basketball is 100 times harder to quantify than baseball — the easiest of all sports to analyze with stats. Baseball is a static game; basketball is a fluid game, with a constant flow between offense and defense.
Anyone can identify stars like Dwight Howard and James Harden. It’s the rest of the pieces that determine the team. And that’s where Daryl Morey is ahead of the pack: He knows how to find the right role players, he knows how to build a team, and he knows the human equation.
Dan Peterson ‘58, ’99 P

Canada and Qatar Overlooked

I was a little miffed that the “Cat Tracks” map [Campus Life, page 10, spring 2014] omitted counts for current students from Canada, Africa and South America.
As a graduate student in the old Transportation Center in 1971–72, I completed a master’s thesis in collaboration with Indonesian and Ethiopian colleagues.  Subsequently, I had the good fortune to visit my colleagues in their homelands in conjunction with a management assignment at Zambia Railways.
“Cat Tracks” are global.
Derek Wilson ’73 MA/MS
Port Moody, British Columbia

Am I to understand from your “Cat Tracks” chart that at the present moment there is not a single Canadian attending Northwestern among those 8,449 undergraduate students? Or do we not count? I ask because there is a tendency among Americans, meaning no offence (Canadian spelling), to be unaware that a country exists north of the 49th parallel.
Here in Toronto we have a large and active alumni club. We’ve even had visits from at least the past three University presidents and are regularly asked for donations, so someone knows we exist.
Sam Levene ’58, ’62 MS

You highlighted Istanbul, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and not your neighbours to the north — a far closer “corner” than any of those. I, for one, would be interested to know how many other Canadians are calling Northwestern and Evanston their temporary home besides my daughter, and from where in our great country they hail.
Jan Roser ’15 P
Hamilton, Ontario

Editor’s note: Istanbul, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore were highlighted because they are currently among the 100 cities that send the most undergraduate students to Northwestern’s Evanston campus. According to the Office of the Registrar, 28 students have an address in Canada, including 14 from the Vancouver area and nine from the Toronto area.

Your “Cat Tracks” graphic of current undergraduates made no mention of students at Northwestern University in Qatar. The total number of current students at NU-Q is 157, and they represent 28 countries, including 68 students who are specifically from Qatar. Based on student passports on file, the other top countries that NU-Q students hail from include the United States (17), Pakistan (13), Canada (8), Jordan (7), Egypt (7) and other Middle East and North Africa countries (11).
Paul F. Reilly
Northwestern University in Qatar
Doha, Qatar

Marijuana Study Biased

I was bothered by the politically conservative tone of the article “Memory Goes Up in Smoke” [Campus Life, page 13, spring 2014]. I don’t think any state that is in favor of  decriminalizing marijuana has ever supported or allowed for the use of the drug by minors. Minors shouldn’t binge drink every day, either. Should we bring back Prohibition? It should be obvious to anyone that the overuse or abuse of any substance, whether alcohol, aspirin or Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, can be detrimental.
John Schauer ’70, ’71 MMus

Football Players’ Union

A big cheer for and vote of thanks to the Northwestern football team for seeking recognition to organize collectively in protection of players’ rights, futures and, even in this age of increasing serious sports injuries, their health. America’s likely smartest football team is surely today also its wisest! May all U.S. college athletes follow their example.
Michael Blim ’69

As an alumnus it was disappointing to see the University’s recent action opposing [unionization of] its football players. Surely, this cannot be the action of a respected institute of higher learning. This action lacks compassion, courage and vision. 
Proactively supporting the students would have been a great opportunity for the University to demonstrate leadership. Simply standing silent would have been a mediocre approach, perhaps worthy of a grade of “C.” We all know that this issue is far larger than just Northwestern’s players. The real bully on the playground is the NCAA, and it is well past time to stand up to the bully. The Northwestern that I thought I knew would have the moral courage to stand up to the bully along with its students.
Thomas P. Hillstrom ’66, ’77 MMGT
Norton Shores, Mich.

Correction: In “Applications Add Up in Record Year,” [Campus Life, page 9, spring 2014], the target size for the incoming class of 2018 is 2,025, not 2,205.

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