The inspirational story of Davyeon Ross is just one of the many reasons why ShotTracker, the company he co-founded in 2013, has reached amazing heights in technology and sports.
Ross, who was born and raised in Trinidad and Tibago, became an All-American basketball player at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.
Ross joined SportsJam host Doug Doyle to talk about ShotTracker, his business and tech saavy, his basketball career and the importance of family and faith in his life.
ShotTracker is a revolutionary sensor-based system that delivers statistics and analytics to teams, fans and broadcast networks instantly, enhancing the experience of the game, both on and off the court.
ShotTracker is already a game-changer in college basketball with the likes of Bill Self of Kansas, Tom Izzo of Michigan State and Mike Brey of Notre Dame stressing the importance of the system that gives their clubs real-time game information.
Davyeon Ross not only brought his background in computer science but also his basketball sense to ShotTracker.
"My co-founder (Bruce Ianni) and I, he was actually shooting in the back with his son. He had a tech background too, a chemistry background. If you're in business, you can't really improve what you don't measure. Well it's the same in sports. How are you going to know that you're getting better if you're not measuring. So when we came out with our product it was more of a consumer-based product that you use in the backyard. What we found out was that coaches were using it for practice, but it wasn't designed for that. So we picked up the phone and got all these coaches and got feedback. It translated into us changing the architecture and technology. Instead of being one person-one ball-one hoop to be multiple players-multiple balls-multiple hoops and building the technology in a way that's dynamic enough you didn't have to appear with one ball. Doug can shoot it, I can grab the rebound and the system is smart enough to know who shot the ball."
Ross says ShotTracker has three components a sensor which goes on the player, a sensor that goes on the ball and then they put sensors in the arena.
"What the sensor in the arenas do, they actually create this three-dementional object of the court and we're able to track the location of the player and the ball within two to four centimeters. When we capture that data we have algorithms that can juxtapose the location of the ball's sensor, who has the ball, to create an automated boxscore or advanced analytics like paint touches, number of passe, pick and roll."
ShotTracker got an even bigger financial boost in January of 2021 after announcing an $11 M USD funding round led by Evertz Technologies Limited and Verizon Ventures. ShotTracker will use the funds to accelerate its deployment across NCAA Division I Power 6 Basketball Conferences, expanding hiring and further key partnerships and enhance sensor capabilities and data capture.
"I feel like I'm in a unique positition because of the intersection of two things I'm passionate about, technology and sports. I'm a technologist. I love problem-solving. I'm an entrepreneur. There's always a better way is the mantra that we live by. And when you add sports to that mix, I feel really fortunate and blessed to be in this position."
The basketball coach at Benedictine College took a chance on a 6'8 kid from Trinidad and Tobago who never watched him play. Although Ross missed his family, it eventually turned out to be a great place for the visionary to grow and prosper.
"Benedictine was a special place. School was tough. It took a lot of persistance and grit."
Ross became emotional in this episode of SportsJam when talking about how faith and his parents have played a major role in his life.
"My parents are amazing. I have two brothers and a sister and they've done everything for us. So I feel just so fortunate be where I am today and they've played a really significant role. It's crazy. I still have a 'What's Up?' with my entire family that we literally talk every single day. And then with COVID we haven't been able to see each other so that's been tough. Everything they've instilled in us, work ethic. I mean my dad didn't even graduate from high school and ended up being the inspector of police in Trinidad. My parents don't have college degrees, but education in our house was probably one of the most important things from where they came from. So I feel real blessed and grateful."
It's family first for Ross who says his wife and kids are also extremely important to him. When giving advice to youngsters, Ross adds if you can't put God first, he feelsl like that's been a critical piece for his life.
With regards to tech, Ross is just as passionate.
"You don't score if you don't shoot. So if you get an opportunity to take a chance, takes some risks, if you don't put the shot up you will never score."
Ross also believes ShotTracker will become instrumental in football and other sports and the world of sports gambling.
You can see the entire chat here.
Click at the top of the page to hear the entire SportsJam conversation with Davyeon Ross.