He was part of the Sixers organization and had a hand in “The Process” that led to the team’s 52-30 regular-season mark and second-round appearance in the NBA playoffs this season.
Now, two years removed from being the club’s vice president of strategy, Ben Falk has taken over as the head boys’ basketball coach at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy. The co-educational school in Bryn Mawr has an enrollment of about 400 students in grades six through 12.
The 30-year-old, who was a volunteer assistant with the Cougars in 2016-17, is thrilled about his new position.
“At Barrack, you get to focus on teaching kids that love the sport of basketball,” Falk said. “Outside of the X’s and O’s, I like that it’s an opportunity for me to teach life lessons.”
Justin Cooper, Barrack’s athletic director, said, “Ben brings such a wealth of experience with him. Our kids know his background, and they’re excited about picking his brain. I’m sure they’ll feed off his energy.”
Before he became one of Sam Hinkie’s right-hand men in April 2014, Falk was the basketball analytics manager for the Portland Trail Blazers for five years.
“It was an unbelievable experience,” he said. “It was important that you put your head down and learn as much as you could. You had to make the most of it.”
Falk, an observant Orthodox Jew, grew up in Potomac, Md. When he was told that he would be one of his high school team’s bench warmers, he chose instead to play in pick-up games and shoot at the curbside hoop on his block.
As a ninth-grader at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Falk spent many hours developing a basketball fantasy game called XO Hoops.
In his first year of studying economics at the University of Maryland, Falk landed a volunteer job with the Denver Nuggets.
Falk used that experience to get the a paid job with the Trail Blazers. In his second year with the Sixers, Hinkie asked the “Whiz” to come to Philadelphia and assist with “The Process.”
“I had met Sam a few years earlier, and we had stayed in touch,” Falk explained. “Once my contract was up with the Trail Blazers, he hired me.”
While many Sixers fans bashed Hinkie’s approach, Falk said, “We could see the future pretty clear. We were confident in what we were doing and that things would turn around for the team soon. We wanted to be successful for the long term.”
Of the Sixers’ showing this season, Falk said, “I loved watching it. And it was great to see how the people embraced the team.”
Hinkie’s stint with the Sixers ended in April 2016. A few months later, Falk also said goodbye.
“I wouldn’t trade my time in the NBA for anything,” Falk said. “But I felt like at that point it was time for me to move on. I didn’t want to hang on for the sake of hanging on.”
Falk, who lives in Center City, last year launched a website called Cleaning the Glass. It includes NBA statistics, articles, analysis of teams, his take on trades, and league trends, etc.
Cleaning the Glass became a subscription site last October.
“I wanted to share what I learned while working behind the scenes for eight years in the NBA,” Falk said.
Jeremy Treatman, the team’s head coach the last three seasons, recommended to Barrack that it hire Falk as head coach and he would stay on as an assistant. Treatman did so in part to devote more time to his Play-by-Play showcase events and sports broadcasting camps.
“Ben is great with film study, analytics, strategy, and introducing new drills,” Treatman said. “I can’t wait to begin working with him. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”