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Sports Equipment Technology

Duke Implements SportVU Tracking System

October 11, 2013


Duke is one of the first universities to use SportVU. SportVU is a player tracking camera system that is revolutionizing the way that some data is analyzed by NBA teams.

Duke became aware of the system when, according to the Wall Street Journal:

“Duke was intrigued by SportVU last spring, when a former team manager who works at Stats showed off some of Duke’s geo-spatial statistics from its 2013 NCAA tournament games in Philadelphia, and Stats senior vice president Brian Kopp pitched Duke’s staff at a June meeting in Durham, N.C., that included Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski. The only difference between the six SportVU cameras installed last month in Cameron and those in NBA venues is that Duke’s tiny arena required smaller lenses with wider angles.”

The SportVU system records the coordinates of the players, the referees and the ball 25 times per second to spit out data. The system records data on things as simple as the exact number of touches a player gets and how many potential assists he has. It also records more complicated data like how quickly a player accelerates or how fast he can change direction. 

SportVU is used in every NBA arena. This upcoming basketball season it will be used at the college level for the first time.

Two colleges implemented the system this summer Duke and Marquette.

At the college level there is a limited time to gather data. In the NBA teams play 82 regular season games and Duke will host 17 home games. Duke will be using the system during practices as well.

Kevin Cullen, Duke’s director of information technology, says, “You add 75 or 100 practices when the quality of your opponent is the same every day, and you can get a much better picture of who a player is. With its emphasis on practice data, we hope that SportVU is as much a tool for its training and medical staff as it is for the basketball coaches.”

Duke will use the system for the first time when it opens its season at home on Nov. 8. This will not be the first college game that the system has recorded data for. SportVU was used during last year’s Big Ten tournament.

Edited by Alisen Downey