Trinity basketball alum lectures on sports analytics in the NBA


The basketball operations analyst talked to current Trinity students about combining their interests in sports and math. Photo by Allison Wolff

What do you get when you combine a love for sports, math and economics? Potentially, a career in Sports Analytics.

That’s what Dwight Lutz, class of 2009, did. While at Trinity, Lutz played for the men’s basketball team and earned a double major in mathematics and economics. After going on to get his master’s degree in statistics, Lutz submitted some of his work to the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference and was picked up by the NBA. He recently relocated to Minnesota and works as one of the basketball operations analysts for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

This Tuesday, Sept. 5, Lutz met with several students interested in sports analysis and gave a math seminar lecture on the ‘big data’ revolution happening in basketball. He talked to students about everything ranging from his daily tasks at work to his opinions on NBA to life as a student athlete at Trinity a few years back.

“About 80 percent of the job is behind the desk, but it’s also going to practices and talking with coaches and players. We’re constantly collecting data on everything. There’s a saying in the industry that goes, ‘You work for everyone,’ because everyone at the NBA wants something from you, whether it’s doctors or the business people,” Lutz said.

Lutz mentioned that having a love for the sport makes the job a lot easier on days when it’s hard.

“Sometimes it does take some of the fun out basketball, but overall I feel like the experience of being a part of it is worth it. Knowing that the end result is that I’m doing something I love makes it much easier. And my office is just down the hall from the court, so I can go and shoot there in my spare time,” Lutz said.

The mathematics department hosted the event. Eduardo Cabral Balreira, assistant professor of mathematics, brought Lutz, who incidentally was a student of Balreira during his time at Trinity. He thought the experience could be helpful for students.

“Students can see how abstract ideas from the classroom actually develop in real life. It is a valuable lesson to see how their education will prepare them for any jobs. It is important to show our students that their education, even if it appears unrelated to their current goals, will let them adapt and learn new skills to be successful in anything they want to do,” Balreira said.

Students enjoyed speaking to Lutz because they could learn about a potential career option.

“Mainly I’m interested in Sports analytics because I’m a soccer player so it’s been part of my life and I’ve grown up watching sports. I’m a business analytics major so combining the two just seemed like a no-brainer. Meeting Dwight was super cool just because he was a student athlete at Trinity and just learning about how he got from Trinity to where he is now is good knowledge to know,” said Jordan Bethea, senior business analytics and technology major and defender on the Trinity women’s soccer team.

Lutz also spoke about the lack of school spirit related to Division III sports that’s often seen at academics-focused schools like Trinity.

“Why do people play DIII sports? It’s the love of the game. You know, there’s actually ton of NBA execs that played at the DIII level, like I did. It’s kind of a joke in the industry that DIII is taking over the NBA, but really you see a lot of people that maybe don’t have the skill to play, but still do what it takes to get involved in the sport,” Lutz said. “You see a lot of school spirit with schools in small towns. Trinity’s involvement in the city of San Antonio is great, but it means people don’t care as much about sports when there are other things to do.”

This event was sponsored by the Lecturers and Visiting Scholars Committee. For more information on major-related lectures, talk to your department or advisor.