Elijah Thomas boosts Clemson with versatility in third season

first_imgElijah Thomas positioned himself atop the 3-point arc with his feet pointed toward the rim. Standing at 6-foot-9, ESPN ranked him as the eighth best center in his recruiting class. Back at Lancaster (Texas) High School, Thomas’ head coach Ferrin Douglas said no one could guard Thomas down low. But, in Lancaster’s state title game, Thomas stood behind the 3-point line and swished the jumper. “When you’re a basketball player and you don’t allow yourself under a position,” Thomas said, ”You’re able to put so many player’s aspects into your game, and that’s what makes me versatile.”Pacing Clemson (10-4, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) in rebounds per game (7.4), blocks per game (1.6) and tied for second in points per game (13.6), Thomas doesn’t like to think of himself in one position. The senior has established himself as a potent, multi-tooled force in the paint. His effective field goal percentage of 67.3 ranks 36th in the nation, and it will lead the Tigers into the Carrier Dome on Wednesday night to play Syracuse (10-4, 1-0).Thomas began his career at Texas A&M in 2015. Thomas had struggled with health in the preseason with a foot injury and concussion, according to a CBS Sports report. That December, after playing just eight games, Thomas knew he needed a change. Before the transfer, he averaged 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in just 9.9 minutes per game. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhen Thomas looked at Clemson, he saw a rising program that could utilize his multifaceted talent. He joined the team for the 2016-17 season when he made nine starts. But by the next season, Thomas blossomed. On Nov. 16 against Ohio last season, he recorded 17 points and 15 rebounds — the first Clemson player to hit 15 and 15 in nine years. About a week later, on Nov. 24, he posted 26 points and 16 rebounds against Texas Southern. In that game Thomas made 10 field goals, showing his prowess for shooting. The once-recruited center is listed now as a forward.“It was a chance I took, and I love it here,” Thomas said.In January of last year, Thomas was thrust into a larger role when senior big man Donte Grantham suffered a season-ending knee injury. Grantham was a premier source of points (14.2), rebounds (6.9) and blocks (0.9). Thomas’ minutes per game increased two minutes to 26 per game to help cover all those areas.Thomas adapted and finished the season averaging 25 minutes per game with 10.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. His 2.3 blocks per game earned him ACC All-Defensive Team honors. The Tigers made a run to the Sweet 16 with Thomas in the middle.When Thomas faced off against Syracuse last March, he found success, tallying 18 points and six rebounds. He went 5-for-5 from the field. Despite being smaller than 7-foot-2 Paschal Chukwu and 6-foot-10 Bourama Sidibe, Thomas dominated the matchup. Chukwu tallied just two points (both on free throws) and Sidibe didn’t score.“He gives us a really good inside and outside balance,” Tim Bourret, Clemson’s 40-year radio broadcaster said. “He’s a guy every night that’s capable of getting a double-double if he can stay out of foul trouble.”Foul trouble has often been a problem with Thomas’ post play. In Clemson’s 14 games, the undersized big totaled four or more fouls in half of them. But Bourret said Thomas has the chance to become a top-10 Clemson big man, placed among Tree Rollins, Elden Campbell, Larry Nance Sr., and Horace Grant. Thomas has distinguished himself through his play style, the same versatility that has brought him to the ACC. Douglas, who also coached former NBA all-star Chris Bosh in high school, knew Thomas was different as a freshman in high school. Something that allows Thomas to play the way he does is his ability to shoot with both hands. Douglas remembers his surprise when he found out Thomas was a natural righty, having seen him take the majority of his shots left-handed. He could shoot just as well with the right.“Eli can play all five positions,” Douglas said. “He’s special, man.” Comments Published on January 8, 2019 at 5:07 pm Contact Eric: estorms@syr.edu Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

5 Best Practices to Remove Bias in Your Sales Hiring

first_imgIt’s not you, it’s your unconscious psychological biasesThe definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. By definition, my sales hiring practices used to be insane. Whether we’d like to admit it or not, most of our past hiring practices were flimsy at best. I know this first hand. At my last company we had to scale our sales team very quickly. The year is 2010. We have no benchmark, no structured interview process and quite honestly, no idea how to hire for our team. We would actually hire two reps at once, praying one would work out. We were using pure “gut feel” to hire.Today, I could write a book about everything wrong with that approach. The biases that slip through, the lack of standardization, the “educated” guessing… the list goes on. Fast forward to 2016. We have more tools and knowledge about sales hiring than ever before.It’s no longer OK to rely on gut feel, especially since there are so many companies out there to help businesses bring objectivity to their hiring practices.These 5 Best Practices will allow you to remove bias in your sales hiring, in a sane way.1. Use structured interviewsAs fun as an unstructured interview may be, evidence from thousands of interviews tell us that a structured interview is more reliable, valid, and less discriminatory. What is the difference?An unstructured interview may ask “soft” questions, with very little standardization from candidate to candidate. Examples: What’s your biggest weakness? If you could have one superpower, what would it be?A structured interview asks questions specifically designed to assess job-related skills, is the same for each candidate and rates every answer using a quantitative rating scale. Examples: Describe a situation where you’ve encouraged someone to advocate for themselves. Describe a situation in the past where you’ve participated in a team assessment process. What was your role?Structured interviews reduce error by reducing both interviewer bias and the likelihood of fake answers from candidates.2. Blind sourcing and interviewingUnconscious biases in hiring have gotten a lot of press lately, and for good reason. Companies are trying to tackle internal biases any way they can.The most common blind sourcing method being tested is to remove the candidate’s name from their resume. This is basically blind hiring 101. The theory behind removing the candidate’s name from his or her application is that it encourages decisions free from unconscious biases of the candidate’s race and gender.Blind hiring 102 extends the “blind resume” concept into the interview. Companies are implementing blind interviews by removing the candidate’s name, graduation year, college, and even address from their application and getting them to anonymously answer job-related questions.Blind interviewing makes a lot of sense in sales, especially inside sales. Since so much of the inside sales process is conducted through email and over the phone, judging sales candidates’ on their ability to verbally communicate is top priority.3. Use an assessmentAn assessment uses objective data provided by you. Instead of relying on someone’s subjective judgment, the data used to match candidates to jobs is statistically correlated with future job performance. How do you collect this data? There are a few ways.You can find out a lot by assessing self-rated characteristics such as a candidates personality traits, interests, and company cultural fit (Barrick & Mount, 1991; Kristof-Brown, Zimmerman, & Johnson, 2005; Schmidt & Hunter, 1998); as well as other relevant information from your public social profiles like LinkedIn, Facebook or Klout.Companies that use an assessment for their sales hiring enjoy on average, a 20.7% increase sales productivity per candidate. This number is absolutely huge and shows just how quickly an assessment process can pay for itself.4. Use a job-matching algorithmPut the statistical odds in your favor. Instead of using a keyword count search (which is easy to game), more companies are opting to use a job-matching algorithm. This technology combines human insights with algorithmic technology. Staggering research featured in the Harvard Business Review demonstrated that this combination results in a 50% higher accuracy rate for identifying productive employees.SAP has a very interesting case study on the topic:“After SAP opened up their university recruitment, they received more than 50,000 applications for sales positions. Even if a recruiter spent only 6 seconds per resume, that’s still more than 83 hours spent just on resume pre-screening. Yet SAP saved more than $370,000 in costs a year with their new recruitment system. How? By replacing manual pre-screening of resumes with automated online assessments and saving their recruiters hundreds of wasted hours. Before you think eliminating manual pre-screening of resumes is a bad thing, consider that Google – a company that receives 50,000+ resumes a week – admits that a person’s resume doesn’t predict his or her future job performance.”– Ji-A Min, How An Algorithm Can Replace a Recruiter (And How It Can’t)If SAP’s case study wasn’t proof enough, research featured in the Harvard Business Review found that compared to using “expert” human judgment, an algorithm increased the accuracy of choosing successful job candidates by more than 50%.5. Practice collaborative interviewingAfter using a job-matching algorithm and assessment, collaborative interviewing is something we really like to emphasize at Ideal. A collaborative hiring process checks our biases and blind spots.Collaborative hiring requires using multiple people to hire from different levels and departments within a company. This helps to safeguard employers from two things, unconscious biases and human error.Some of these biases include:Confirmation bias: The tendency for people to seek out information that aligns with their views.Selective perception: The process of perceiving what we want to while intaking information, ignoring certain stimuli.Similarity bias: When we select people that are more similar to us, as opposed to people who appear more different.Changing the Way We HireIt is not a trivial task to change the way you hire. Especially within companies with long-running hiring processes. However, I believe that we as business owners, sales managers and HR representatives have an obligation to improve our sales hiring. Talking about biases is not anyone’s favorite thing to do; but by taking small, calculated steps we can get the ball rolling. Wherever you stand within your organization I hope you are able to bring the topic to the table. Most people can learn a lot from just a few explanations of the concept, I know I have.Are you looking to prevent hiring bias? Using Ideal.com‘s AI technology can eliminate bias and increase diversity on your team! Learn more.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThislast_img read more