User Interview: tianyi7886 From WhatIfSports.com image

User Interview: tianyi7886

Q&A with tianyi7886

Few have an all-around resume to match tianyi7886. He claims three championships in SimLeague Baseball, five in SimLeague Basketball and one in Gridiron Dynasty. But it's in Hoops Dynasty that tianyi7886 has made his mark, winning 13 titles. We pick the brain of this HD expert.

tianyi7886 Hoops Dynasty Overall Records
Game Seasons Record Conf. Champs Ntl. Champs
Hoops Dynasty2134,909-1,603 (.754)10813

tianyi7886 Hoops Dynasty World Records
World Current School Overall Record Conf. Record NT Record Ntl. Champs
WoodenClemson587-152 (.794)311-73 (.810)29-18 (.617)1
RuppTulsa646-202 (.762)312-120 (.722)56-23 (.709)2
AllenValparaiso378-255 (.597)167-168 (.499)33-14 (.702)1
TarkanianMemphis1,064-308 (.776)547-157 (.777)85-29 (.746)4
KnightDuke727-221 (.767)384-112 (.774)25-25 (.500)0
PhelanVirginia Tech981-343 (.741)482-201 (.706)69-29 (.704)2

WIS: Who is tianyi7886?

tianyi7886: I'm 27 years old, grew up in NJ, went to Williams College for undergrad, and moved to NYC after graduation. Used to work in investment banking, now work in fashion, while doing odd jobs on the side.

WIS: How did you find out about WhatIfSports.com?

tianyi7886: I began playing SimLeague basketball either in 2005 or 2006, and it went from there. I don't quite remember how I discovered WhatIfSports.

WIS: What are some of your interests and hobbies?

tianyi7886: I spend most of my weekday evenings in the gym, lifting and doing cardio. I also aspire to be an opera singer and have spent the past four years slowly honing my craft.

Nikola Tesla Tianyi7886's dream roundtable discussion may look something like this, with Nikola Tesla running the show.

WIS: Which five people, past or present, sit at your dream roundtable discussion?

tianyi7886: I would like to assemble the great historical minds and have them talk about the current social and economic environment. The list would include:

  • Thomas Jefferson, one of the great thinkers in history. JFK once remarked at a gathering of Nobel Prize Winners that "this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."
  • John Maynard Keynes, father of Keynesian Economics.
  • Karl Marx, the great German philosopher, economics, etc. that had a profound impact on the events of the 20th and 21st century.
  • Hyman Minsky, the American Economist; the Minsky Moment is named after him.
  • Nikola Tesla. Let's have him at this meeting of the political minds to watch the philosophers argue for 3 days, while he comes up with some ingenuous invention that solves every problem in the world.

WIS: Did you play any sports growing up?

tianyi7886: I played basketball, volleyball, and ran long distance track in high school. I also rowed for a couple of seasons in college.

WIS: Who are your favorite all-time players?

tianyi7886: I like the players during the 90s because they were the guys I grew up watching. My favorite would be Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, and Curtis Martin.

WIS: Do you have any sports-related items on your bucket list that you have not yet done?

tianyi7886: I want to do stuff that involves freefall, like sky diving, base jumping, etc. Just haven't gotten to it yet.

WIS: What is your favorite WIS moment?

tianyi7886: Winning back-to-back D1 titles at Virginia Tech. I didn't think I would win a D1 title for a while and then I won two within 4 weeks.

WIS: Your resume includes a number of seasons on SimLeague Baseball, SimLeague Basketball and Gridiron Dynasty. What about Hoops Dynasty makes it the game you've stuck with?

tianyi7886: SimLeague Baseball and SimLeague Basketball got boring after roughly 2 years. There were cookie cutter builds (SimLeague Basketball more so than SimLeague Baseball) that guarantee you can make it deep into the playoffs, and every successful team had the same core group of players. Gridiron Dynasty was a great game when I played but they had a large diminishing return in the rewards system; I was getting a couple of hundred points for a championship and that's when I stopped. Hoops Dynasty has enough variety and a good reward system to keep drawing me back.

WIS: Each of your six teams are Division I. Did you ever stick around in DII or DIII for a while, or was DI always your destination?

tianyi7886: It's a natural progression because building D2 and D3 programs became formulaic. I probably did the same thing for every round of recruiting and had great results, with most of my teams going into the championship game every 2-3 seasons; the game wasn't challenging anymore. D1 is a completely different game and offers new challenges.

WIS: Prior to your arrival at Clemson in the Wooden world, the team won a total of 17 games during the previous four seasons while under Sim AI control. What drew you to the Clemson rebuild? Do you prefer rebuilding programs rather than taking schools that are ready to win right away? Any suggestions for building a team from scratch?

tianyi7886: I chose Clemson because it was the only BCS team I was qualified for. As for rebuilding a program, my advice is to stack classes and overvalue IQ. The kind of low end BCS teams and non BCS teams that make S16 runs in D1 are generally SR heavy, with a bunch of guys having A+ IQ. Best way to get over the hump is to stack your classes so you can get to 6 seniors and 6 juniors to make that push.

WIS: Of your six current schools, three are in the ACC, two are in the CUSA and one is in the Summit League. Is it possible to lead Tulsa, Memphis or Valparaiso to a national championship? What additional challenges do you face?

tianyi7886: Girt25 has demonstrated that one can win with a non-BCS team, as he did with Marshall in Rupp. I hope I can win a national championship with Valparaiso because that is one of the things that has not been accomplished in recent memory, winning a D1 title with a D baseline school.

WIS: What is your strategy for recruiting? Do you utilize any recruiting tools? Do you use a certain mix of phone calls, campus visits, etc. to acquire targets?

tianyi7886: Since I don't play D3 and D2 anymore, I might as well give out this piece of info. I used to routinely scout all 50 states in D2 and D3. D2 and D3 players are mostly interchangeable so your goal should be to field a team of 10-11 players that are very much above average, with one or two guys in the elite category. The best way to field this kind of team is to scout more states to increase your pool of dropdowns. As for phone calls, hv, cv, etc., I'm pretty sure everyone has a pretty good feel about cost efficiency so there's no need to expound on these points.

WIS: Do you prefer some offenses, defenses or team game plan settings over others?

tianyi7886: D3 I like Motion/FCP, D2/D1 I like Motion/M2M. FCP is advantageous in D3 because it allows you to forgo almost every other category and simply recruit for ath/spd/def. Many have said stamina is a core for FCP but I disagree due to the way I construct my teams. I don't remember ever taking a walk-on in D3 so I always ran 12 deep. If my team was indeed deficient in stamina, I can always run slowdown to address the problem.

WIS: Do you have any favorite players from any of your HD teams?

Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing Two of tianyi7886's favorite players, Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing, had a heated rivalry throughout the 1980s and 90s.

tianyi7886: Thomas Cox from my Catawba team in D2 Rupp. He was a PG and had 90s in spd/per/bh/p, and was drafted in the first round. I would probably start him on most of my D1 teams.

WIS: How much time do you spend on your Hoops Dynasty teams? How much do you think is necessary to be competitive?

tianyi7886: I spend roughly two hours during recruiting and 15 min setting up depth chart and game plans before the season starts. Once the season starts, I'll change defensive positioning before each game and that's about it. Success in this game is roughly 80% recruiting, 10% scheduling, 10% game planning, assuming you are not purposely sabotaging your team (100% distro on your worst player).

WIS: If you were to give one piece of advice to a new user, what would it be?

tianyi7886: Keep it simple in D2/D3, recruit ath/spd/def and if you can be top 10 in these categories, you have a team that is a lock for the tournament; if you have a team that is top 3 in these categories, you are one of the favorites in winning a championship.

WIS: What is your favorite aspect of Hoops Dynasty?

tianyi7886: Recruiting, and specifically, the cycle right before signing in D1, when you are faced with the decision of either to jump someone (some people call this poaching) or stay put to defend against a jump.

WIS: Least favorite?

tianyi7886: There is a lot of down time between the end of the national tournament and the next recruiting cycle.

WIS: What is one feature you want to see implemented in a future update?

tianyi7886: The option to choose defensive matchups. We are currently locked in on defense with the PG guarding the PG, SF guarding SF, C guarding C. I would like to have the option of assigning my SG to guard the SF and the PF to guard the C. It would create better defensive schemes.

WIS: Who are the users you respect and/or enjoy the most?

tianyi7886: Girt25 is definitely one of the best D1 coaches in the game. Watching how he recruits is a good way to learn D1.

WIS: If you were in one of our games, what sport would you play, at what position, and what would you be rated?

tianyi7886: I would play basketball but I can't figure out my position. I played Center back in middle school and early on in high school, because I was 5'10 in the 7th grade. I was taught to post up, use the baby hook, and just muscle my way to the basket. I stopped growing and was only 6'1 in high school, so I had to extend my range by adding an 18 foot jumper and the occasional three off a high screen. Unfortunately, I never learned to dribble the ball properly so I don't have a real position.

If I had to label myself, I would say I'm a 6'2 SF rated around 500 overall, with terrible skills across the board.

WIS: Thanks to tianyi7886 for taking the time to share with WhatIfSports.com and the HD community.


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