It's yet another positive for the NBL team. They have one of the best stats guys in the business.
"I'm not a stats geek," Toulouse says. "I wouldn't want to hold that title. I just want to be at the game. I just want to take the atmosphere in. Do you know how many people would love to sit in my seat? I love what I do."
Toulouse takes great pride in his numbers and accuracy. It's a complicated business that not many see inside of.
While the London Lightning employ a three-person stats crew, the Raptors use a five-person crew. In a game where numbers mean so much, making sure everything is right is a tedious and involved job.
Teams rely on more than numbers to sign players but numbers play a major role in getting players millions of dollars or losing them millions of dollars.
Numbers are important in minor basketball if leagues such as the NBL, especially since constrained budgets make scouting players more difficult. Numbers often make the difference in whether a team takes a chance on a player or not.
"It's about careers and money," Toulouse said.
Which is why Toulouse doesn't see much of a basketball game despite sitting in the best seats in the house.
"People sitting across from me, all they see is the top of my shiny little head because my head is usually down looking at the screen," Toulouse said.
At the Lightning games, Toulouse has a touchscreen computer and two callers with him. The callers let him know what happens on the court and he inputs it.
With the Raptors, Toulouse is known as the primary operator. He has one spotter. There is a secondary operator who corrects any mistakes. The fourth person takes statistics with pen and paper in case the computers go down. The fifth member is a techie who deals with technical issues and along with the pen and paper stats person, handles video review to make sure the calls are correct.
Toulouse loves the game. Not just the Raptors but also the new NBL. He does what he can to promote the league because he believes in the product. The stats at the Lightning games are a big league.
Toulouse was interested in basketball, not statistics. From the moment his childhood friend nailed a rim onto the front-yard tree when he was nine in his hometown of Wallaceburg, his love affair grew with the game.
Toulouse played Tier 2 OCAA basketball but when he transferred to Seneca College, he failed to make the team.
A basketball playing career ended, and a statistical career began.
"I was upset when I was cut, but I still wanted to be a part of the team. I talked to coach Ernie Armstrong and told me I had to be a part of this team," Toulouse said.
The team had a manager and the other roles were filled. Armstrong asked Toulouse to do stats. The role expanded quickly as Toulouse gave the men's coach more stats than he asked for. Toulouse did it all by pen and paper.
Before long, the women team's coach asked him to do the same thing. That expanded to home and away games. He did an NBA exhibition game in Toronto and the 1994 world basketball championship.
Toulouse also worked full time at IBM Canada.
His big break came when the Raptors were awarded an NBA franchise and the team held a free-agent camp.
The Raptors held two-a-day practices and Toulouse was asked to do some basic stats.
His ability to put stats together quickly and make them easily readable impressed Raptors' general manager Isiah Thomas.
In 1995, Toulouse was asked to attend what amounted to a statistical crew tryout camp. While he was playing around with the touchscreen statistical system, a member of the Raptors, Debbie Miller, told him he was heading to New York to attend a statistics training camp with all the Eastern Conference statistics teams.
"On Oct. 14, 1995, I found myself courtside at the Halifax Metro Centre for the Raptors first ever preseason game against Philadelphia," he said.
Toulouse has done 695 games, including 76 exhibition games, 607 regular-season games and 12 playoff games.
Toulouse moved back to London in 2006 when his wife Karen was hired as quality assurance manager at Robarts Research Institute at Western.
Toulouse has managed three perfect seasons with the Raptors. Considering the travel involved, it's quite an attendance record.
Toulouse is obvious happy the NBA is back, but he's enjoying his time with the Lightning.
"The Lightning is a great experience," Toulouse said. "It's so much fun. Coach (Micheal Ray) Richardson, he's great for growing the game and great for the game in London."
Toulouse will continue to do the statistics for the Lightning because, not surprisingly, the numbers work out. There are only two dates where the teams both play. He has the best seat in the arena but only sees about 10% of the game.
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