We asked the Hoops Dynasty community for a User Interview candidate and the people have spoken. HD player alblack56 was kind enough to take questions from WhatIfSports.com. He even fields a few inquiries from fellow Hoops Dynasty players.
alblack56 Hoops Dynasty Overall Records
|Game||Seasons||Record||Conf. Champs||Ntl. Champs|
|Hoops Dynasty||312||6,639-2,793 (70.4%)||154||9|
alblack56 Hoops Dynasty World Records
|World||Current School||Overall Record||Conf. Record||NT Record||Ntl. Champs|
|Naismith||Drew||1,134-544 (67.6%)||603-277 (68.5%)||69-32 (68.3%)||3|
|Wooden||Mars Hill||1,195-447 (72.8%)||698-166 (80.8%)||51-47 (52.0%)||0|
|Rupp||Bowie St.||1,175-469 (71.5%)||674-190 (78.0%)||62-41 (60.2%)||3|
|Smith||Kentucky St.||1,249-451 (73.5%)||719-167 (81.2%)||72-40 (64.3%)||2|
|Iba||Transylvania||1,186-483 (71.1%)||622-244 (71.8%)||69-46 (60.0%)||1|
|Crum||Drury||649-337 (65.8%)||347-165 (67.8%)||38-24 (61.3%)||0|
WIS: Who is alblack56?
alblack56: I'm a native of Greenville, KY, a full-time dentist and part-time sign language interpreter. My name is actually Al Black and I live in Cold Spring, KY, near Cincinnati.
WIS: How did you find out about WhatIfSports.com?
alblack56: From Lance McAllister's radio program.
WIS: Besides simulation sports websites, what are some of your other interests and hobbies?
alblack56: I recently graduated with an associate's degree in Sign Language Interpreting. That's required a lot of time. I'm a HUGE Kentucky Wildcat fan. I also follow Xavier, DII Kentucky Wesleyan, and my alma mater NAIA's Georgetown (KY) College.
Before sign language, I taught country line dancing for 10 years.
I enjoy figure skating and have attended the U.S. National Championships 13 times and the World Championships twice.
I also collect lighted Christmas villages and won a national contest for my display.
WIS: Which five people, past or present, sit at your dream roundtable discussion?
alblack56: Being a former stand-up comic, I admire Ellen DeGeneres' quick wit. I'd include Eleanor Roosevelt because of her compassion for others. I'd invite Booker T. Washington, the advocate of self-help for black Americans. I'd include my 82-year old mother, Carolyn, because she's 'the rose garden in my life' and would be thrilled to meet Mrs. Roosevelt. Finally, I'd want John Calipari even though the rest of us wouldn't get to talk much.
WIS: Did you play any sports growing up?
alblack56: I played basketball for two years in junior high and scored one basket.
WIS: Who are your favorite all-time players?
alblack56: My parents are avid UK fans. My Mom taught me how to keep a box score when I was 7 years old. As a kid I worshipped UK's 1966 'Rupp's Runts' with their 6'5" center. When they trailed Tennessee, I ran to my room during every timeout and prayed for them to win. Then I'd cry until the next timeout and pray some more. They lost anyway.
In college, I saw Kyle Macy play every game at UK.
WIS: Do you have any sports-related items on your bucket list that you have not yet done?
alblack56: I would like to go to the Winter Olympics.
WIS: What is your favorite WIS moment?
alblack56: My first championship with Transylvania (Iba).
WIS: You currently coach six HD teams. Is there any significance behind the schools you coach?
alblack56: IBA- I attended Georgetown, an NAIA school. Transylvania, in Lexington, KY is only 12 miles from Georgetown so I picked them as my Iba school. I've been their only coach.
SMITH- I wanted DII Kentucky Wesleyan but they rejected me. Kentucky State was my second choice.
CRUM- I'm from Muhlenberg County, KY. So, at DIII, I picked Muhlenberg (PA). My pals moved up to the Heartland Conference and convinced me to join them at Drury.
NAISMITH- I was at Delaware Valley for many seasons. When the coach at Drew was permanently banned from the game, I made an inter-conference switch.
WOODEN & RUPP- No significance to my teams.
WIS: Of your six teams, four are at the D-II level (Mars Hill in Wooden, Bowie St. in Rupp, Kentucky St. in Smith and Drury in Crum) and two are at the D-III level (Drew in Naismith and Transylvania in Iba). Have you coached a D-I team in the past? Why do you prefer D-II and D-III schools?
alblack56: I've never applied to a DI school. Some of the coaches I've admired, like Big House Gaines (Winston-Salem) and Jim Phelan (Mt. St. Mary) went to a small school and never left. I model my 'career' after them.
WIS: Your dynasty rankings are very popular among the HD community. What is the dynasty ranking, how did it begin, and what attributes carry the most weight in your calculation?
alblack56: In the early years, someone had posted a random list of the most successful DIII schools in Iba. I decided to quantify it and post the rankings. I now post rankings for every world that I'm in.
The Dynasty rankings rate the most successful programs for the past 5 seasons. The only criterion is post-season success. The most recent seasons count more.
WIS: What is your strategy for recruiting?
alblack56: I download prospects into Excel, estimate their final ratings, and then rank the top 15 for each position. I value speed, defense, and PER/LP more than the other attributes.
WIS: What is your strategy for game planning?
alblack56: I never use up-tempo. If my team is superior to the opponent, I use normal tempo. If my team is inferior, or much slower, I slow it down. I assign distribution based on the current stats, not the player ratings. Often, my best player 'on paper' doesn't produce as well as a lesser talent. I base my defensive settings on the opponents' tendencies. I change my settings daily, based on the opponent and their talent.
WIS: Do you have any favorite players from any of your HD teams?
alblack56: With my first Naismith team, Delaware Valley, I decided to use slow tempo exclusively and, thus, didn't need to recruit speed. I forgot that I needed speed on defense, too! LOL I had at least 6 players with speed ratings of '1'. One of them had a PER of 84 and could shoot the lights out. But he was a '1' on ATH, SP, and DEF. He just stood around and waited for his man to dribble over to him so he could be guarded. I can't remember his name but he was my favorite player.
WIS: How much time do you spend on your Hoops Dynasty teams? How much do you think is necessary to be competitive?
alblack56: I average about 1 1/2 hours/day. I've always been an early riser so I do my gameplanning at 4 a.m. If I had just one team, I could gameplan in less than 10 minutes and be successful. Recruiting, however, takes 2-3 hours of prep work, depending on my needs.
WIS: If you were to give one piece of advice to a new user, what would it be?
alblack56: Be patient! The game isn't like RL so don't expect it to be. With each season you'll learn more tips which will help in the future. And don't be afraid to ask questions.
WIS: What is your favorite aspect of Hoops Dynasty?
alblack56: I enjoy the camaraderie and friends that I've made through the years. I'm a trivia buff and have a 100-page Word document of trivia about the teams in my conferences. I post an interesting tidbit about each team before I play them.
WIS: Least favorite?
alblack56: The prestige formula puts too much emphasis on the most recent season.
WIS: What is one feature you want to see implemented in a future update?
alblack56: I was a staunch opponent of potential but, now that we have it, I enjoy it even though it's tripled my recruiting time. If we had additional features, I fear they'd require even more time.
WIS: Who are the users you respect and/or enjoy the most?
alblack56: Since I've been at some of my schools for 50+ seasons, I go way back with some of the coaches. My closest coaching friend is commish118 at Manchester in Iba. We've coached together for many seasons in two worlds. When I was out of the country, he coached my Bowie team to a national title!
I often trash talk in the Forums and I enjoy the coaches with a good sense of humor. My favorites include rockindock, barretchap, paland, spottratz, kap the cub, gymshoe6640, whunt1, barjaz, spasticity, gopokes, mottnj, z0601, and devonsage. Also my new buddy redbeard385, although I refuse to mentor him anymore since he's defeated me twice.
WIS: If you were in one of our games, what sport would you play, at what position, and what would you be rated?
alblack56: I'm only 5'7" but have two years of PG experience from junior high. I'm too old and slow now, though. I'd be a '1' at almost everything except WE (100) and Passing (80). My GPA would be 4.0.
WIS: What would coaches be surprised to learn about you?
alblack56: 1) I was selected from the audience to appear on Broadway in "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." I missed on my 4th word, xerophthalmia.*
2) In the '80s I won $700 and 'lovely parting gifts' on a TV game show, "Sale of the Century." I still use one of the gifts, a KFC thermos.
*Editor's Note: Xe-roph-thal-mia [zeer-of-thal-mee-uh] – noun – is a medical condition associated with extreme dryness of the eye and often caused by vitamin A deficiency.
Caesari: What offense/defense combo do you think is most effective?
alblack56: I currently use motion/man (2 teams), motion/press (3 teams) and flex/man (1 team). I don't think there's much difference between triangle/motion/press but I'm not a fan of the fastbreak. As for defense, I used the zone for one team but switched. I think the press and man-to-man are equally effective.
Jeffdrayer: Cost/benefit ratio of implants vs. bridges on lower premolars?
alblack56: If the adjacent teeth are heavily filled, the bridge is the better option. Otherwise, I recommend the implant.
WIS: Thanks to alblack56 for your time and contributions to the Hoops Dynasty community. Also special thanks to all HD players that provided interview nominations and questions.