How Important is it to Watch Prospects Live?

For decades there has been a debate about watching games live versus on video. The truth is, both are very important. Watching live is absolutely necessary. You cannot watch video and never see a player live while producing an accurate evaluation whereas you can watch a player live and not watch video and come out with a fair evaluation. Using both resources to produce a final evaluation is the best process in trying to get the most accurate assessment.

Watching player's live gives scouts a clearer picture of a players body type, movements, body language, interaction with teammates & coaches. Maybe most importantly, how a player reads the game. There are also elements of pre-game, halftime, post-game interactions, and routine/habits. Watching/evaluating a prospect before a game often times can give a great indication of a players seriousness of his or her craft, focus, as well as how their overall approach is to the game itself.

Evaluators can get a feel for shooting release, pre-game routine, teammate qualities, leadership abilities, etc. During a live game evaluators have the ability to see speed/quickness or lack thereof, athleticism, starts & stops, much easier than on video. Video can most certainly give an evaluator material and data to help the evaluation however it can also trick the same evaluator by not seeing the actual speed, size, reads that a person can pick up easier when watching live.

Attendees of the Scouting Experience evaluating NBA prospects live at the Charleston Classic.

Attendees of the Scouting Experience evaluating NBA prospects live at the Charleston Classic.

In our Scouting Experiences & Virtual Scout School program we share 15 characteristics per position that translate to the NBA. Many of those mentioned above highly weighed in the NBA at certain positions. For example, having the ability to “get in the lane” is a premium, making the little guards more common in the NBA at the moment. If you have a combination of speed, shooting, athleticism, toughness/competitiveness, feel & pick n roll ability… you are probably an NBA All-Star PG. Without seeing these prospects live you cant easily compare their speed/quickness, size and athleticism.

As a scouting staff compiles their rankings in the draft process they begin to put these players in NBA evaluation “future” categories. All-Star, Starter, Rotation, Fringe. All players have a “bucket” or category that they are currently in and will eventually peak at. The art of scouting is determining which category the player will end up in or play the majority of their career in. The more accurate you can predict, the better off you and your team will be in terms of roster makeup, balance, and consistency.

Attendees of the Scouting Experience evaluating NBA prospects live at the Charleston Classic.

Be very careful when saying “he can’t play” or “he’s a future star” too early in the process. For example, an NBA game is 48 minutes. Having a bench is very important. Rotation players are essential to an NBA teams’ success. If you say “he can’t play” in the month of Nov/Dec you may be too definitive too early. Many mistakes are made this way. Having patience, watching multiple times, trying to figure out which “bucket” or category they belong in will be very helpful. This goes back to our point of the complexity of evaluating talent and the need to see players live and see them multiple times to make a clear evaluation.

Bottom line is that the best and safest way to evaluate is to see a player live 2-4 times and then watch many games & situations on video. The great thing about video is that you can pause, rewind and re-watch situations. After seeing a player live and getting a foundation, evaluating video is a great resource to confirm some of the things that you have seen live or even search for some of the potential question marks you may have had from the live evaluation. 

At our Scouting Experience’s we provide hands-on basketball scouting training from actual NBA executives. Each presenter will share presentations on talent evaluation and intricacies of NBA scouting. You will also scout NBA prospects during live college games and discuss your evaluations. This provides attendees a look into how NBA scouts watch a game and attain information for a prospects full evaluation.

Learn More at

10 Things to Know About an NBA Scouting Career

By: TPG Sports Group

  1. Sacrifice – In order to do your job the right way you must sacrifice family, friends, a significant other and fun. You will be on the road anywhere from 100 to 230 days per year. Your job is not only on the road, it is planning the trip and making appropriate calls. It entails a lot of Internet research and calls to people in the inner circle of the player (coaches, trainers, video coordinator, media, AD, etc). When you return from a trip, you are spending a lot of time writing reports, watching TV games, making phone calls, and doing research. You must have an understanding inner circle, friends & family. You are essentially “present” 50-100 days per year. You will miss many family experiences and other leisure activities due to this job. There are not many exceptions. Many entry-level and assistant positions on the basketball side do not earn much of salary. Unless you make it to the director or GM level (which is incredibly difficult), you will be earning a significantly low salary. The sacrifice is real. These are the types of things to be taken into consideration before deciding on this career path. It’s wonderful to be in the league for a few reasons – working at the highest level of your sport with the brightest minds, new opportunities, as well as many perks. However, the financial component is not very good for the sacrifices that have to be made. 
  2. Relationships – It is essential to have trusting relationships in this business. You have to be able to get good information. Without healthy relationships it will be difficult to execute at the level your GM/Team expect you to. You often see former coaches hired as scouts. Former coaches have many relationships within basketball where they can get information efficiently. Good relationships with agents, media, coaches and anybody involved with the sport of basketball can have a huge impact on your career. The more relationships you have, the deeper the information you will be able to get. The more genuine the relationship you have, the easier it becomes to get good information. If you don’t have dozens of coaches and/or agents, media in your cell phones as contacts, then you have a very slim chance of being taken seriously.
  3. Travel – This is a very underrated part of the job and can be very taxing. Most of your travel will not be first class. Teams don’t budget for this (generally) unless you are a veteran scout or in upper management. You have to establish status on an airline in order to get occasional upgrades. If you have a ten-day scouting trip scheduled and you have a flight cancelation on day two, this could affect the rest of your trip. There are many moving parts to the travel part of the job. You will spend many days alone on the road. Occasionally, you get comfortable/become friends with other NBA scouts and can meet on the road. Be cautious of how you treat your body and take care of yourself. You will often being eating late after games and traveling early in the morning. Collect points on all travel (airlines, hotels, rental cars). This will help with bypassing long lines and making travel more efficient. Learn how to improvise when travel setbacks occur. There will be times when the travel coordinator will not be available to help. Know your way around travel shortcuts and options.
  4. Reports – This is a very time consuming process. You will end up writing reports on players that never play in the NBA. You must “cover your ass” and write-up any talent that is in the game in case the prospect starts to develop into a potential NBA player you have previous notes on him. Writing a report can average anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minutes for one player. Of course this depends on the amount of information you have or how much you were able to capture while scouting him. If you write up an average of 5 players per game, these reports can take hours. Add this to the travel, scheduling, phone calls, emails, research, etc., and you are looking at a lot of time on this job. Reports are different on each NBA team. I worked for three NBA teams and all three had a different system. Be careful always writing what a player can’t do and try to focus on what a player can do. Try to figure out what translates. Our league has a different set of rules/spacing therefore different things translate.
  5. Stay in your lane – The NBA has a hierarchy that is very specific. There are unwritten rules to your role and appropriate behavior. The obvious is to greatly respect the staff members that are in a more senior position than you; however, your colleagues that you are in the trenches with must be treated with the utmost respect. The people that struggle to stay in their lane don’t last long in the NBA. An example can be when someone tries to get a meeting with the GM or even team owner without being asked. This will disrupt staff chemistry. Going above or around your direct report will reflect very poorly. If colleagues notice this, it is a good way to cause friction or lose trust. Do your job, do it well. Report to who the appropriate staff member and stay in your lane. 
  6. Be Organized – In the world of travel it is very easy to find yourself unorganized. The pace in which NBA scouts & executives travel is very fast. You are constantly multitasking with phone calls, emails, reports, travel schedules, and, of course, your personal/home life. Letting one slip affects the other in a big way. Management is always evaluating the depth and level of your reports/information. Once you slip it is easy to play catch up with bad reports. Make lists. Finish your list each day. You will have setbacks. Be prepared and expect setbacks. You will find yourself taking notes in many different areas: notebook, iPad, iPhone, scrap paper etc. Be sure to condense or try and choose one method of note taking. 
  7. Good information wins – There is information and there is good information. The ability to get “real” information is something that GM’s value greatly. It is easier to get “good” information if your relationships are healthy and genuine. You have to be able to give good information to also receive it. Be smart and never give up information about your own team or business. The NBA community is very small. This can be looked at as dishonest or sharing inside information, which is extremely frowned upon. Even if you may not think you are giving up sensitive info, it is not your place to assume. Stay loyal to your organization. Develop relationships with coaches (college, pro, INTL), agents, media, other scouts in the NBA, AAU coaches etc.  These relationships will help in one of the most important areas of scouting: “Background Info”. Having the ability to get real background information and to find out how the prospect is wired or who he surrounds himself with, how he treats people, habits good/bad, etc, are extremely valuable to an organization. You can eventually learn how to share information with each other. This information becomes extremely valuable during draft week and free agency. If your GM can get great information from you that helps him make a clearer, more efficient decision, this will show well on your behalf. 
  8. Time Management – In order to operate efficiently and at the highest level possible you must master the art of time management. You will balance many things while being an NBA executive. Most will tell you that the hardest thing to do is balance work with home/personal life. Many nights you are bringing work home. Sports are 24-7. Calls, games, research, emergency situations etc. Keep a very detailed notepad or note section in a device, (iPad/iPhone/one note). Roughly 8-10 new things will come at you unexpectedly during an average day during the NBA season. Be ready to be a great crisis manager. Have an understanding spouse/family. Falling behind often puts pressure on family, bills, deadlines, projects, reports and life in general. Be prepared to be prepared. 
  9. Play the game – Understand how to navigate through the NBA and how to treat people the right way. Treating your equals in the NBA is very important. You will end up seeing many people on the road in airports, hotels, restaurants, games, media rooms etc. The secret ingredient to staying in the NBA a long time is having good relationships. The probability that you work for only one team for your entire career is very slim. It is important to develop trusting relationships. Within your own organization it is essential to treat everyone with respect, stay in your lane, do not try to climb, do not throw colleagues under the bus and above all, be early/stay late
  10. Trust – Unfortunately scouts aren’t hired on merit. They are usually hired from someone they know. This is how it is and probably will not change for a long time. “Attaching” is part of the business. Surround yourself with good people that are smart. People that do things the right way. It’s challenging enough to have a stable, long career in the NBA. Having talent is very important in the NBA as an executive but having a skill or talent that adds tremendous value will help the greatness attach back to you. Be genuine; let your GM know that you have his back and that you are loyal. At the end of the day he is going to evaluate you on 3 things: 1) Your talent 2) Your work ethic 3) Your loyalty. There are many other things that he will evaluate such as chemistry with staff, what you are consistently bringing to the table and your dedication to the franchise. The importance of attaching to greatness is a good way to prevent a short career. Establishing trusting relationships is a big part of your scouting career. 
A Look Back at Pro Scout School 2017

7/31/2017- The fourth annual Pro Scout School wrapped up a little over two weeks ago and we are still riding a high from the event. The knowledge, the passion, the experience of over 400 collective years among our talented speakers guided the attendees as they explore different avenues of their careers. Over 250 people gathered at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for two days full of learning. Over the course of those two days, attendees heard from our esteemed panels of speakers regarding scouting, talent evaluation, coaching, player development, basketball at the international level and much more.

Attendees began lining up shortly before 10 A.M.—a solid two hours before the event began. They were ready to get things started and to make the most of their experience. Sponsors anxiously waited for everyone to get in so they could start demonstrating their companies and materials. You walked into the room and you could barely move—it was at capacity. You could see Peak Influence and Pure Sweat talking with attendees in the corner. Adam Filippi was showing off his books and engaging with attendees and Onnit Labs, Playsight, Lean Analytics, SweepStick and Krossover were demonstrating their materials to the rest of the room. It was great to see the interactions between our sponsors and the attendees. You could tell they connected well with each other and that each sponsor brought something different to the table. Partnering with such a diverse group of sponsors worked well because the attendees were able to grasp so many different concepts and ideas and the sponsors were able to market to each and every person in a different way.

The clock struck noon and the lights dimmed down. ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla got his notecards ready to go and Scout School was underway. It was awesome for a distinguished member of the basketball world to be standing right in front of them making casual conversation! As a moderator, Fran offered up curiosity and personality. He was personable and engaging with the speakers and kept them on their toes. It was never boring and you could tell that the audience was locked in during each panel.

We began the day with the Scouting 360 panel with Irving Thomas from the LA Lakers, Mike Born from the Charlotte Hornets, and Pat Knight from the Indiana Pacers. Each scout was able to share his own experiences and all three had very different experiences in the industry. They each said they were grateful to be a part of the event and would love to return next year! The second panel, Player Development: The Experts, consisted of Bob MacKinnon from the Texas Legends, Drew Hanlen of Pure Sweat, and Adam Filippi of the Charlotte Hornets. This was a crowd favorite and everyone seemed to engage very well with the panel—a head coach, a skills development coach, and a global scout. We enjoyed the diversity between each of the speakers and they were each able to relay personal anecdotes and experiences to the attendees. After two interesting panels, we moved straight into the Q&A—try and get the audience engaged. It proved to be useful as the attendees asked insightful questions and were eager to dive into these speakers’ minds and go that much further into their worlds. As a spectator you could tell that the speakers appreciated the attendees’ curious and passionate minds.

Fran Fraschilla (ESPN) leads the Player Development Panel with Bob Mackinnon (Texas Legends), Adam Fillipi (Charlotte Hornets) & Drew Hanlen (Pure Sweat)

The second half of Day 1 went wonderfully. Fred Hoiberg of the Chicago Bulls, Stephen Silas of the Charlotte Hornets, and John Welch of the LA Clippers gave very real and honest portrayals of their coaching experiences in the NBA. The Coaches Guide panel was interesting because the attendees got to learn about the coaching side of basketball where as in the other two panels its all about an eye for talent with scouting and player development. These panelists provide different perspectives that help the attendees gain insight into the various aspects of the industry. Now, if you were fortunate enough to be a part of either the Draft Room or the GM Experience then you got either an inside look at the Draft Room or an inside look at what it takes to be a General Manager in the NBA.

Led by Pete Philo, Tony Ronzone, and Wes Wilcox, the Draft Room Experience allowed its attendees to dive deep into the different avenues of “the draft room.” By watching film, studying this year’s NBA Draft, and doing a trade scenario for an NBA team, the Draft Room Experience attendees were able to test their knowledge and also have access to material that very few receive in their lifetime.

An experience that was also offered was the General Manager Experience. 25 selected attendees were given the chance to learn from two NBA Executives, Ryan McDonough and Kevin Pritchard. Along with activities, the part that was most important (for the attendees) was the chance to network with these two GMs. Each attendee was given 90 seconds to sit down and connect with Kevin and Ryan separately and have a chance to talk with them about their aspirations and motivations and future careers. This is really a once in a lifetime opportunity for these guys and there is no doubt they left an impression on Kevin and Ryan. The 25 candidates bonded over their drive and motivation and they all came together to share this experience with each other. When so many of them are working in a front office someday, they will look back on their time at Pro Scout School and be grateful for the opportunities they were given that one summer.

“You’re not going to find this kind of exposure anywhere else. The ability to network and connect with the GM’s is a rare opportunity and it’s a great way to get to the next level of your career.” –GM Experience Attendee

“The people who are here as attendees are here because they want to be. They are driven and motivated. This event is great for networking and getting guys like myself and Kevin Pritchard out here meeting people and putting faces with resumes helps us distinguish between the good and the bad. The candidates were very well prepared with lots of interesting questions. They were hand selected from over 100 applicants and so these guys were kind of the best of the best.” –Ryan McDonough, GM Phoenix Suns

Kevin Pritchard (President, Indiana Pacers) & Ryan McDonough (GM, Phoenix Suns) share with our GM Experience attendees

To cap the night off after a long day, if you were a part of the experiences you had a chance to network with all our speakers at our social at Bandito in Las Vegas. It was a great way for everyone to unwind after the day and to make conversation in a more casual environment. 

With everyone reeling from Day 1, Day 2 got off to a great start. We began the day with our international panel consisting of Bob Donewald of the Jilin Tigers (China), Fotis Katsikaris of Hapoel Jerusalem (Israel), and Thomas Stoll of Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany). This panel was a popular one among the attendees, mostly because a lot of people didn’t know a lot about the world of basketball outside of the United States (the NBA). Rules and regulations vary between the two entities and coaching in a foreign country is much more challenging, even aside from the obvious language barriers. We were lucky to have three talented speakers with vast knowledge on the subject.

Following the international panel, Scout School was then broken into 3 sections for our Breakout sessions: “Evaluating Talent, Trained Eyes” led by Tony Ronzone and Pete Philo, “An Inside Look at Player Development” led by Rich Czeslawski and Drew Hanlen, and “CBA 101: Understanding the NBA Salary Cap” led by Bobby Marks. With three very different sessions, knowledge and experience poured out of the speakers. The attendees intensely took notes and nuggets, scribbled down key information so fast so they wouldn’t miss anything. To get this kind of exposure is so rare, so of course the attendees were taking advantage of this opportunity for a more intimate session. That was the best part about the event—everyone’s thirst for knowledge. Everyone was so eager to learn—some even asked to extend Scout School to a third day!

Bobby Marks (NBA Insider, ESPN) speaks with attendees of Pro Scout School

To cap off the event attendees were treated to an inspiring Keynote from Alan Stein Jr. on “What the Best of the Best Do During Unseen Hours”. Alan left the group energized and hungry to put the new information they had gained to work.

This event brings together people of all ages, men and women from all around the world—people with the same desires and ambitions. It’s a rare opportunity for you to be in the same room as someone you strive to be like and one conversation could change your life. That’s what we’re trying to do here. We are trying to show you that whatever you put your mind to you can do. You have to work hard and be vulnerable. Put yourself out there. We invite you to come back to Pro Scout School next year and grow your knowledge even further.

The biggest thing we stress is the importance of building relationships and growing and cultivating those same relationships. That is what is going to lead to an opportunity in this industry. You get promoted based on your performance but you get the job based on the relationships you build. At Pro Scout School you get the exposure, the interaction and the opportunity to network and build a relationship. But we can only place you at the door. It’s your job to put your foot in the door and walk through it. Once you do, you’ll see a world of opportunities at your feet.

***Notable nuggets from Pro Scout School:

If You Want to Be in the Basketball Business, Never Pass Up a Basketball Opportunity. Work For Free A Lot! (After Having A Lot of Success He Still Does Not Charge His Players a Set Amount, He Asks Them to Pay Him What They Think He is Worth) – Drew Hanlen, Pure Sweat Basketball

Every Player Needs to Pass the Eyes, Ears and Numbers Test. What Do You See, What Do People Say and Do the Numbers Back It? – Mike Born, Charlotte Hornets

Three Things That Never Fail (If a Player Has Them All) Talent, Competitiveness and Hard Working. You Can’t Go Wrong With Those Guys – Pete Philo, TPG Sports Group

A Look Ahead to Pro Scout School 2017

6/7/2017- In just a little over one month we will be heading out to Las Vegas for our trademark event of the summer—Pro Scout School 2017. We could not be more excited to welcome hundreds of attendees and NBA executives and coaches to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino for this fantastic 2-day event. Attendees will hear varied perspectives on the games hottest topics related to scouting and coaching from the most well respected names in the game of basketball. A total of 394 years of basketball experience will be represented at Scout School.

Here at TPG, we are always looking to provide new fresh content and create innovative ways to introduce individuals to the basketball industry. In the past, sessions including “Analytics” with Dean Oliver and Kevin Pelton as well as “Technology in Scouting” with Brian Kopp of SportsVu and CATAPULT were huge hits at the event. This variety of interactive experiences gives attendees insight into all factors of talent evaluation at the highest level.

We are excited to announce new additions to this year’s event. To kick off Scout School this year, there will be a Meet & Greet for all the attendees. They will also be able to quickly get acquainted with fellow attendees, executives and our innovative partners that are in attendance. This will be a great way to start off the event!

Two new breakout sessions that will be available to the attendees this year include “CBA 101: Understanding the NBA Salary Cap” hosted by expert Bobby Marks of Yahoo Sports the Vertical. Bobby Marks spent 20 years in an NBA Front Office with the Brooklyn Nets and will walk attendees through the nuances of the NBA’s very complex CBA and salary cap structure. Knowledge of the salary cap is one of the quickest ways to get your foot in the door of an NBA Front Office.

The second breakout room added is “An Inside Look at NBA Player Development” hosted by expert Drew Hanlen, Rich Czeslawksi and Pure Sweat Basketball. Drew is the top NBA Skills trainer in the world working with guys like Andrew Wiggins, Bradley Beal and Joel Embiid to name a few. The guys at Pure Sweat are world class teachers that will share their system of strategic skill development. These two sessions are great ways for the attendees to broaden their horizons and gain new insight and perspectives into the world of basketball.

Perhaps the biggest development for 2017 Pro Scout School is the addition of “Draft Room Experience”, an interactive experience that provides the 20 selected individuals with a chance to learn directly from NBA Executives about what goes into the NBA draft process, preparation and draft night. This experience will provide insight into how teams evaluate prospects and manage the draft.

Pete Philo, President of TPG Sports Group is thrilled about this new addition to Scout School. “We are really excited to be able to offer “The Draft Room Experience” to the 2017 edition of Pro Scout School. The draft room is a place that many people are curious about. We will have two days of intense debates on players, share draft strategies, trade scenarios, how players are ranked, the medical flag system and much more. We will also simulate draft day and how it unfolds in real time. It’s a can’t miss for the basketball junkie.”

With all of these new additions, it is proof that Scout School is a must attend event for anyone wanting to start their career in an NBA front office. You can learn more about the event at Don’t miss out on this awesome opportunity!

Proud to announce Peak Influence as the presenting sponsor for Pro Scout School

6/5/2017- Peak Influence, a company that utilizes DISC behavior assessments to help you and your company more effectively understand behaviors, while improving communication, motivation, and leadership is the presenting sponsor of the 2017 Pro Scout School in Las Vegas, NV on July 10-July 11. The team at Peak Influence will showcase their expertise and opportunities for both self and organizational improvement with Pro Scout School attendees.

Ryan Stock, founder of Peak Influence, possesses a variety of certifications from providing DISC Assessments, to leadership training, to executive coaching. Peak Influence empowers all facets in and around a sports organization. No matter what your profession may be within the highest levels of sport, Peak Influence will help their clients to first raise their own self-awareness. With this raised self-awareness individuals are then going to be more effective in understanding their co-workers behaviors, and how to communicate and motivate them more effectively. Ryan assures his audience that “whatever training, advising, or leadership package you have chosen that you and your team will be investing in the highest level of certifications available in the world.”

“When TPG Sports reached out to us here at Peak Influence we jumped at the opportunity to power their event. Both of our companies are aligned in making sure we are adding value to those that attend the event not only in the days they attend, but in the months and years after they leave,” Stock said. “Understanding our behaviors and the behaviors of those around us, having greater self-awareness, communicating more effectively, all the things we help NBA organizations with here at Peak Influence will also help all of the eager participants who attend Pro Scout School. We are extremely excited for our partnership, and our relationship with TPG Sports Group moving forward.”

TPG Sports Group President Pete Philo added, “After taking the DISC Assessment through Peak Influence I was blown away with the detail, efficiency and results breakdown. I have taken every form of personality test and behavior assessment being in the NBA as an executive, and I can honestly say that Peak Influence was far and away more informative. They were able to explain behaviors, as well as how to communicate and motivate more effectively, in a way that I know every NBA team will find of great use.” 

By combining their DISC behavior assessments to understand how to lead, communicate, and motivate more effectively, combined with their military immersion pieces, Ryan will help companies and individuals grow and add value to one another. At Scout School, Ryan will be able to provide coaches and athletes several options for growth and increased self-awareness both as individuals, and within their organizations. We are very excited to welcome Peak Influence as the presenting sponsor of the 2017 Pro Scout School.


5/24/2017- As we take a look at Pro Scout School in years’ past, you’ll see that this event is a phenomenal way to connect and network with the best executives and coaches in professional basketball from across the world, hear varied perspectives on the games hottest topics related to scouting and coaching, and learn cutting edge ideas from the most well respected names in the game. This experience will immeasurably enhance the opportunity to further your career in the industry.

“Attending Pro Scout School literally changed my career trajectory. During the International Scout Panel, Tony Ronzone announced that the NBA was looking for coaches to go to India and conduct clinics. I sent him my resume and 3 months later I was in India working my first professional job. Pro Scout School allowed me a window into the inter workings of NBA basketball and access to current NBA professional working at all levels of the League. The variety of information and personnel were things I would’ve never been able to have access to otherwise. The live-scout and feedback were particularly helpful. TPG put together an incredible amount of information and insight into two days. Pro Scout School is essential to anyone seeking to work in basketball at any level. And Coach Fraschilla was awesome!” Nick Plosser (Director of Basketball Operations, Long Beach State University—2016 GM Experience)

Each year we look for ways to bring attendees the most unique and useful information for their careers. 2015 was a large stepping-stone for Pro Scout School as we added “Breakout Sessions” to the event. In addition to panel discussions, the breakout sessions were created to provide each attendee more interaction and intimate learning experience with our speakers. Last year’s “Breakout Sessions” were two of the most talked-about sessions in Scout School history.

  • Talent Evaluation, where NBA Scouts used film to show traits that do and don’t translate to NBA success.
  • Advance Scouting, where Cleveland Cavaliers Advance Scout, Stephen Giles, detailed the planning and scouting that went in the NBA Finals, specifically Game 7.

We expanded the program by adding the GM Experience—an exclusive session for 20 selected attendees who have the rarest opportunity to learn from and interact with General Managers in the NBA, including Kevin Pritchard (Indiana Pacers). The impact that this experience had on each attendee was remarkable. These GM’s candidly discuss topics such as draft preparation, free agency, trade deadline, relationships with ownership, coaching staff, and crisis management.

The GM Experience was something that continued into 2016 and was just as successful. Let’s take a look at some of the comments from past attendees in the GM Experience:

“ I would like to thank Pete Philo and the TPG staff for inspiring me to follow my dreams. After attending the 2016 General Manager Experience, I became heavily involved with the Atlanta Entertainment Basketball League and secured a Manager position with the Arizona Men’s Basketball team. This exclusive experience laid out a foundation for the type of success I am looking to achieve in my life through basketball. I will forever cherish the connections I made and the knowledge I learned throughout the weekend.” –Max Goldstein (Men’s Basketball Manager, University of Arizona—2016 GM Experience)

“The knowledge gained and relationships made from my experiences both attending and volunteering at PSS have been invaluable as I started and continue my career in professional basketball. It helped me get my first NBA internship, and I lean on lessons from PSS every time I watch a game. Pete Philo puts on a phenomenal event that will always teach you something new, and I recommend it to anyone interested in scouting, regardless of experience level.”—Ford Higgins (Game Reviewer, NBA—2016 GM Experience)

So you see, regardless of your experience level, PSS puts you in a position for success! If you are seeking a career in the NBA, we recommend that you get your foot in the door today by understanding how a front office works. Then you will need to develop the relationships—that’s where Scout School is most beneficial!

The professionals in the industry have had nothing but great things to say about Scout School. It truly is a place for the professionals and the attendees to find a common ground and provide an interactive experience that is unlike any other in the world.

“Pete and I have traveled the world scouting players together and one thing I can say for certain is that he has an exceptional eye for talent. One of the best I have seen in all my years in the NBA.” –Kevin Pritchard (General Manager, Indiana Pacers—Speaker, 2015 & 2016 Pro Scout School)

“I’ve known Pete for many years both as an agent and as an NBA executive. He has a unique ability to connect with people and his relationships around the world are unparalleled.” –Justin Zanik (Assistant General Manager, Milwaukee Bucks—Speaker, 2016 Pro Scout School)

By looking at the growth of this event, we can see the monumental impact this has on its attendees. For the 2017 Pro Scout School conference, we are excited to bring new additions and content to new and returning attendees. With the lineup of speakers and panelists at the event this summer, it is going to be unmatched by any other program like this in the world (374 years of basketball experience combined among the speakers). From a global standpoint, Pro Scout School is the premier basketball networking and scouting event in the world. We hope that you will make the right decision and join us in Las Vegas for the event of the summer. You won’t regret it! Don’t pass up an opportunity like this!

2016 Pro Scout School Infographic


Pro Scout School Returns with More Exclusive Opportunities

TPG’s premier basketball event is back! Pro Scout School is returning to Las Vegas on July 11-12th at the Westgate Resort & Casino.

In 2015, we expanded Pro Scout School by adding the GM Experience. An exclusive session for 20 selected attendees, the GM Experience provided a rare opportunity to learn from and interact with NBA General Manager’s Kevin Pritchard (GM, Indiana Pacers) and Chad Buchanan (Asst. GM, Charlotte Hornets). The impact this session had on each attendee was tremendous. They were able to listen to NBA GM’s candidly discuss topics such as relationships with ownership and coaching staff, budget management, crisis management, travel, and draft preparation. Each attendee even got the opportunity for a one-on-one sit down with Pritchard and Buchanan.

2016 looks to build on the success of the GM Experience by providing additional exclusive sessions in other fields. In addition to the GM Experience, TPG will offer the President/CEO Experience, Sales & Marketing Experience and Media & Broadcasting Experience.

The four Experiences will be comprised of 20 attendees and feature multiple experts in each of the aforementioned segments.

The 20 attendees will receive the following:

  • (2) Exclusive Sessions in addition to Pro Scout School
  • Private Networking Social
  • (2) Nights Hotel Stay at the Westgate Resort & Casino
  • Unparalleled Access to Top Executives
  • Expert Industry Career Advice
  • 2-Day Pro Scout School Ticket
  • Session Materials & Swag Bag

2016 Experience speakers include:

  • GM Experience
    • Kevin Pritchard – General Manager, Indiana Pacers
    • Rich Cho – General Manager, Charlotte Hornets
  • President/CEO Experience
    • Scott O’Neil – CEO, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils, Prudential Center
    • Ryan Tanke – Sr. VP & Chief Revenue Officer, Minnesota Timberwolves
    • Michael Zavodsky – Executive VP of Global Partnerships, Brooklyn Nets
  • Sales & Marketing Experience
    • Bob Hamer – President, Sports Business Solutions
    • Marc Jackson – VP of Ticket Sales, Charlotte Hornets
    • Meka White – Director of Sales OWO, Legends
  • Media & Broadcasting Experience
    • Fran Fraschilla – Broadcast Analyst, ESPN
    • Chris Farrow – Coordinating Producer, ESPNU

If you are serious about pursuing a career in the basketball industry, attending Pro Scout School is a must. Additionally, the “Experiences” vastly enhance the opportunity to further your career in the industry. The education that will be provided, relationships developed and network assembled is unrivaled. No matter what your passion is, the journey into the basketball world starts at Pro Scout School. Follow your dreams and learn from the best in the industry!

The Art of Developing Relationships

By: TPG Sports Group

Every professional conference and event stresses the importance of networking with industry leaders. While this is true, there is a component of networking that is often overlooked – developing the relationship and cultivating that connection. It is great to meet someone who is in a position that you aspire to be in, but it is highly unlikely much will come from an introduction or five minute conversation. Here are five keys to developing strong professional relationships.

Whether it is a mutual connection you share or an impressive elevator pitch, give him or her a reason to remember you.TPG Sports Group
The Introduction…and the Follow Up

When meeting a professional in any industry, it is necessary to distinguish yourself in some way. Whether it is a mutual connection you share or an impressive elevator pitch, give him or her a reason to remember you. Offer to trade business cards and respectfully ask if it would be okay to reach out in the future. If they say yes, do not let too much time pass before reconnecting. A handwritten note is a great way to follow up with someone and it may separate you from other people he or she met. Letters do not get lost in e-mail inboxes and show that you care enough to take the time to write and send a letter. E-mails are still the fastest method of communication and a great way to interact. Mention something about the conversation you had and ask a thoughtful question. Show a willingness to learn, and listen to the advice that is given. Both approaches are important and should be executed the right way.

Be Aware

Being aware of what is going on in the industry and, more specifically, in a connection’s professional life, is very important. A great way to start a conversation via e-mail with a new connection could be when they get a new job or promotion, on their birthday or any other noteworthy achievements. Sending them a message about an achievement is something they will always appreciate. LinkedIn has become a great way to congratulate and comment on a connection’s promotions or job changes. Other ways to connect include asking for career advice and information about the industry, or offering to assist them in any way possible. Make sure to respect their time and space by not bombarding them with message after message.

Give Back

Do not allow the relationship to be one sided. Rarely will you develop a great relationship by just expecting to receive guidance and assistance from your connections without anything in return. Relationships go both ways no matter your level of experience. Always offer something in return even if you think it will means nothing to them. Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone, said it best, “It’s better to give before you receive. And never keep score. If your interactions are ruled by generosity, your rewards will follow suit.” People will notice when you go out of your way to help, while not expecting anything in return.

Three Key Traits: Be Genuine, Trustworthy and Available

Experienced professionals and executives can quickly evaluate if they would hire someone or not. According to a survey done by the HR Firm, Come Recommended, 33% of hiring professionals know if they would hire a person within the first 90 seconds of meeting them. You must make a great first impression in your initial meeting and maintain a high level of professionalism and respect during each interaction. Genuinely appreciate their time and advice while remembering that building relationships takes time. Rarely do opportunities come from an initial meeting but making that impression is important. It is essential to develop that relationship because there may be opportunities to connect in the future.

Being able to trust someone may be the most important trait in any relationship. If you show that you can be counted on to come through in any situation, people take notice and will look to you when important things need to be done. Author and businessman Stephen Covey said, “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” The foundation of trust is not built after a single interaction; it grows throughout multiple experiences.

Availability is a huge characteristic every aspiring professional needs to have. Making yourself available goes a long way in building a relationship. Whether it is being where industry leaders are or giving someone your time, this can have a major impact. You can put yourself in situations to advance your career by attending conferences and social gatherings where professionals are present. When you give your time, you are giving a portion of your life that you will never get back and that makes an impression.

Always Remember Who Helped

As time passes and the relationship strengthens, it is important to maintain a level of loyalty and appreciation for that person. Down the road, you may be in a position to help them in a specific career situation. Never lose sight of how this person helped you and what kind of mentor he or she was. Relationships are meant to last and no matter what position you attain in your career, never forget who helped you get there. Remain genuine, trustworthy and available as we mentioned in the previous section. Be willing to pay it forward and do the same thing for someone else when they reach out for help. Having strong relationships is essential to progressing your career forward.


Why Should You Attend Conferences and Events? Here are 6 Reasons

Most people have attended at least one conference or event before. Whether it is for their employer or for personal interest, conferences have become one of the best ways for people to learn about certain subjects while simultaneously growing their network. In fact, in 2012, there were over 284,000 conferences and events in the US with a total of 87 million attendees, according to a study “The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy, Pricewaterhouse Coopers”

Even still, there are people that question whether it is worth their time and money to attend a conference or event. Of course it’s always smart to extensively research the conference prior to attending and figure out if your ROI (Return on Investment) will be worth it. Once you’ve done your due diligence, you really have two choices: attend or don’t attend. Here are six reasons why the former could advance your career and your life.

1. Learn something

Regardless of whether you are an expert in your industry or simply trying to break into it, there’s always more to learn. There is only so much you can learn from studying a certain subject. At some point, you need to take action and get firsthand experience. Listening and interacting with industry experts can open your eyes to new concepts and open doors for your career path. The best conferences have Q&A sessions for you to ask questions and get advice from speakers as well.

2. Inspiration

Attending a conference or event is one of the best ways to get inspired. Being surrounded by like-minded individuals and meeting top executives in your field can spark that fire within you to succeed or reignite a flame if things have become stagnant. Having the opportunity to not only listen and learn from speakers, but also meet and connect with them can motivate you to work hard and obtain that same type of success. Conferences with networking socials, like TPG Sports Group’s Pro Scout School, make these types of connections much easier.

3. Keep up to date with new trends

Most industries are constantly changing and it is hard for a lot of people to keep up. Frequently attending conferences or events pertaining to your industry helps keep you up-to-date and on top of the cutting-edge trends. The best conferences will usually reveal a new idea or piece of information that will put you ahead of everyone in your industry that chose not to attend. Sometimes you will even learn about a new concept outside of your industry that may spark an idea or translate into something useful for you. Continuing to learn and utilize new industry trends is always a good idea for staying ahead of the game.

4. Networking opportunities

One of the most beneficial reasons to attend conferences and events is to meet new people and build your network. You can learn all you want about a subject, but you’re still going to need the right connections to get to where you want to go. “Networking is great but making a ‘connection’ is most important,” said TPG President and Director of International Scouting for the Indiana Pacers, Pete Philo. Conferences afford you the opportunity to meet and connect with many like-minded individuals who are either pursuing the same path you are or just wanting to get better. “The real value at networking socials is the ratio of attendees to speakers and companies. At TPG, we strive to keep the attendee/speaker ratio at 4:1 to ensure attendees are getting the most out of our events.” Meeting and networking with speakers and industry professionals is an obvious benefit of attending a conference, but befriending your peers at the conference could prove to be just as valuable.

5. Meet experts in the industry

Conferences are primarily about learning, but it’s also smart to come prepared since you never know whom you might end up meeting. Getting in front of the right person and presenting your ideas could be your chance to shine. There’s a great quote from Pat Zipfel, Advance Scout for the Chicago Bulls, from the 2014 Pro Scout School conference that illustrates the benefit of getting your name and face out there. “Everyone always says it’s about who you know. I would say it’s more about who knows you.” Being able to meet, ask questions, get feedback and gain advice from the people you look up to in your field is invaluable. For example, the 2015 Pro Scout School lineup of speakers can’t be beat if you’re looking to become a basketball scout, coach, general manager or are simply a basketball enthusiast.

6. Show off your work

Every conference is a little different but in addition to having networking socials, the best ones allow attendees to exhibit their knowledge and talent as well. This could be through a Q&A session, intimate breakout rooms, reviewed scouting reports, etc. There are many creative ways for a conference to allow attendees to express themselves and impress their role models. Using Pro Scout School as another example, TPG utilizes several methods to involve attendees. We have a Q&A session where attendees can ask any panelist questions. There are smaller breakout rooms on the second day of the conference so that attendees can have a better learning experience centered on their interests. Attendees can submit reports to professionals and get constructive criticism. We even offer a ‘GM Experience’ this year where 20 attendees will have the opportunity to connect with NBA general managers and possibly jumpstart their career. Implementing these types of things into an event makes the ROI even greater for attendees. It’s up to you to take advantage of these types of events and conferences and be prepared.

So, now you know what to look for in a conference or event and exactly why you should be attending them. When you think about the alternative, it really makes sense to be in attendance.

RealGM Radio:

In this episode, host Daniel Leroux (@DannyLeroux) talks with Pete Philo, the Director of International Scouting for the Indiana Pacers and the President of TPG Sports Group.

The two discuss his role with the Pacers, the challenges in NBA personnel scouting and the TPG Sports Group’s Pro Scout School, which is coming to Las Vegas in July.

Click here to listen or download

Grantland: My Trip to NBA Scout School

A writer enrolls in a two-day seminar during NBA summer league and learns you have to be absolutely, insanely in love with basketball to survive the rigors of life as a professional scout