The Kobe Bryant of Bangalore, India arrived in the United States in the mid-2000s with thoughts of playing college basketball.
And for a year with the University of Pennsylvania’s Junior Varsity team, Vasu Kulkarni did just that. Yet following his senior season in 2008, Kulkarni knew he wasn’t slated for a career in the NBA.
Despite coming to the realization, Kulkarni recognized how he could continue his involvement in basketball. During his college playing days, he noticed the lengthy process college coaches went through in breaking down game film.
“Every game the team was supplied with a Powerpoint deck that would show them the numbers, what to look for, whatever their scouting report was for the next game,” Kulkarni said. “(The coaches) would spend an absurd amount of time doing that.”
“There had be to be a better of doing it,” the computer engineer major added.
The solution? An out-sourced film service named Krossover that broke down games and quickly returned findings to head coaches in basketball, lacrosse, and football. Kulkarni noticed that similar companies failed in many areas and were geared toward professional franchises along with higher tier collegiate teams. He saw a gap in the marketplace and a larger audience of lower tier Division I, II, and III teams that could be targeted.
Like some start-up business ventures, though, there was a degree of skepticism from the general public.
“The general comment was, ‘You gotta be shitting me’,” said Kulkarni.
For Kulkarni and Krossover, they first needed a guinea pig. In 2010, that team came in the form of King Phillip High School in Boston, Massachusetts, a team who hadn’t won a game in two and a half seasons. After out-sourcing services to Krossover, the high school made its way to the State semi-finals the following year. Granted, the wins weren’t necessarily solely based on utilizing Krossover’s services, but teams using the sports technology company typically average 1 to 2 more wins than the previous year.
“There is something here, that if you prepare better and smarter, use the numbers — we can’t guarantee you a state championship, but we can definitely make a dent in the way you play,” Kulkarni said.
Krossover’s been used by the likes of Cornell University and Northwestern University in addition to smaller schools like Onondaga Community College, a team that has won seven lacrosse NJCAA National Championships since 2006.
Onondaga head coach, Chuck Wilbur, first started using the sports technology a few years ago, and in that time, the video service has “simplified” things for Onondaga; the team can now gain a sense of its opponents’ tendencies along with what improvements its players can make as well.
“We are making highlight films of ourselves after games of the teaching points we need to look at as well as making highlight films of our opponents to just watch the clips we need to see,” Wilbur said. “We watch film now for 30 mins a session rather than two hours. Much easier for the players as well as the coaching staff.”
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