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Move over Wonderlic: Inside look at new exam the NBA’s using.

The NBA will hold its annual draft Thursday at Barclays Center, and many of the selections — including the one made by the Knicks with the ninth-overall pick — could be influenced by a relatively new intelligence test being used by several professional leagues. The Athletic Intelligence Quotient, or AIQ, was administered to the top...
Time: 23:08     Date: 20.06.2018
Last US Sport News: Move over Wonderlic: Inside look at new exam the NBA’s using. NY Post 24 - US News

The Athletic Intelligence Quotient, or AIQ, was administered to the top 50 prospects during the 2018 NBA Draft Combine last month, with the goal of measuring their cognitive ability.

“It was playing with your mind mentally, trying to remember spots and patterns and stuff like that,” said Villanova forward Mikal Bridges, who could be available when the Knicks are on the clock. “It was a little different. It was cool though for sure.”

After 15 years of research and development by co-creators Scott Goldman and Jim Bowman, the AIQ debuted at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2012 and now has a database of more than 4,000 elite athletes from the NBA, NFL, MLB and elite amateur athletes.

The test can be specific to any sport based on the tasks administered on a touch screen. The AIQ does not have written questions to answer like a traditional IQ test, but offers a more dynamic assessment — using 10 sub-tests that involve visual spatial processing, reaction time, decision-making and learning efficiency.

It’s part puzzle solving and part video game. A score of 100 is considered average and a score of 115 is superior. There is no reading requirement as the tests are non-verbal.

“The most complicated words they might need to read are ‘Next’ or ‘Yes’ or ‘No,’ ” Bowman said. “It’s more about being able to receive objects in space and being able to locate targets in a field or reaction time tests and accuracy.”

The Giants have administered AIQ tests to assess draft prospects for the past two seasons. Former vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross had lobbied for a more extensive use of AIQ before being dismissed in December along with GM Jerry Reese and coach Ben McAdoo.

“We used it not as much as I would have liked to use it, but for certain guys,” Ross said. “It’s more football specific and position specific in the things that they test for. It’s not just a board stroke of random questions that aren’t related to what players actually do on the field. … I’ve been in this for 20 years and seen 10 different, what they term, psychological tests. This was the most football specific of the ones I’ve seen.”

A question on the AIQ testAIQ sample sub test

The 35-minute test is an updated option to the Wonderlic test, which has been utilized at the NFL combine for decades and is still used in sports and corporate circles. It consists of 50 multiple-choice questions that must be answered in 12 minutes.

“The Wonderlic was based on a theory of intelligence from 1934,” Goldman said. “It’s about logic reasoning. We thought it missed the mark in really measuring or assessing cognitive abilities that are more relevant.

“The Wonderlic might ask: ‘What’s one-half of one-fourth?’ What we want to know is: ‘How does someone scan the playing field and look for the most relevant details?’ We felt that kind of identification for details was of greater importance.”

Bowman earned his master’s degree in psychology from St. John’s University and has been licensed in New York since 2007, working extensively with children and adolescents. Goldman, who earned his masters and doctorate degrees in clinical and school psychology from Hofstra, is the director of performance psychology at Michigan. They began developing the test in 1998 after wondering why quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf were viewed as near equals going into the NFL draft but had such drastically different NFL careers.

“We were curious about how to measure the intangibles,” Goldman said.

Over the next 15 years they studied occupations with high-pressure tasks like firefighters, police officers and airline pilots to see how they reacted to things that were constantly evolving. They also researched existing theories on intelligence and consulted with experts in the field of intellectual ability assessment and sports psychology. In addition, they interviewed coaches and elite athletes.

Once a solid foundation was established, the tests were constantly tweaked to keep from being too long, too challenging or too easy. It also had be free of cultural, economic and language bias.

“Anyone from anywhere can take our test and has just as good of a shot to score well as anyone else from anywhere else,” Goldman said.

Goldman and Bowman strive to maintain the anonymity of their clients and the test resultsof those who take the test. But a recent Sports Illustrated story revealed that during the 2018 NFL combine, Baker Mayfield earned the second highest score of 63 quarterbacks who have taken the test since 2012. He was subsequently drafted No. 1 overall by the Browns. Goldman confirmed the story about Mayfield was accurate.

“If someone scores high on our test, that’s great,” Goldman said. “If someone scores low, that’s great. It’s about helping coaches and players to understand an athlete’s strengths and developing ways to negotiate the deficits.”

Ross said results of tests are a factor in making a selection in the draft.

“It’s part of the equation — maybe 5 or 10 percent,” he said. “You want everything to match up with the information the scouts gave you in the fall and your interview with the players.”

Six NBA teams are clients, along with five NFL teams and five MLB teams. Teams in the MLS and NHL and several major college programs also use AIQ. In six years, the database has grown to the point that test scores offer a statistical correlation with on-field performance — whether it’s rushing yards, interceptions, batting average, slugging percentage, scoring average or steals in basketball.

“We’re comparing apples to apples not apples to oranges,” Bowman said. “If you score well on our tests, it’s something that’s notable and something that’s special.”

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