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The Belmont case: interactions and chemistry

Belmont University of the Atlantic Sun division is the nation leader in academic success since 2001. In the 2002-2003 season, they had the number 3 in the nation for rebounding with Adam Sonn 6-8. They had a two time most efficient NCAA scorer in Adam Mark, 67% also 6-8. Mark is a three time first team Academic All American. They also had the best free throw shooter in the nation, 95,1 % in PG and academic All American, Steve Drabyn. Belmont was also one of the better 3 point shooting teams. Belmont has the excellent coach Rick Byrd.
In 2003-2004, Belmont faced the loss of the graduated All American and fifth year senior Adam Sonn. Sonn was also the best passer per minute and the top scorer of Belmont.
Adam Sonn was replaced in minutes by shooting guard Josh Goodwin 6-3.
In 2003-2004, Belmont without Sonn was much smaller, but much better than expected.
The team spread the rebounding a little more, most of the interactions worked positively.
Was the passing skill of Sonn so good because there was Mark inside and good perimeter shooting outside, or was Mark and the perimeter good because of the passing of Sonn?

You can not subtract the 12.1 rebounds a game and also subtract a lot of assists and points of a team and just say: this team is becoming much weaker. The negative effects of the loss of Sonn were here clearly melting away in the team balance and team chemistry of Belmont in 2004. You have to balance and to spread the effects of the different interactions to evaluate the performance.
In 2004 Belmont had their highest Sagarin rating with 76.43, they were 20-9 and they also had the best Sagarin ranking with 108 in their short first division history. In 2003, they had a ranking of 155 and were16-14. In 2005, they were 14-16 and had a ranking of 215.
We do not say that Sonn is a Rodman. We never say that Chicago 1996 without Rodman can be a 72-10 team.
Belmont was a team of specialists, Chicago 1996 was also a team of really special players. Top scorer Jordan, top rebounder Rodman, top 3pointer Kerr, Pippen and Kukoc were special too.

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