March 9, 2005, Updated September 13, 2012

Memphis freshman Darius Washington Jr. has used the ACE IntelliGym and has been named a Freshman All-American.A few months after two NCAA basketball teams began using an Israeli-developed training tool, the ACE IntelliGym is receiving accolades.

Reported by ISRAEL21c in September, and spread worldwide by the Associated Press in November, the ACE IntelliGym Trainer developed by Israeli startup Applied Cognitive Engineering Inc. (ACE) is based on a program to train Israeli air force pilots.

Its innovative software-based system that dramatically improves real-time decision-making and execution. Featuring a computer-game façade, it trains the skills that control complex basketball related tasks including; decision making; pattern recognition; tactics adaptation and switching; peripheral vision; attention control; situational awareness; team work, and spatial orientation. According to its makers, it strengthens the brain, just like the weight room builds muscles. That’s why it has been dubbed ‘The Brain Gym.’

Prior to the start of the current season, two NCAA teams – Kentucky and Memphis – purchased the system and have trained their players on it. According to ACE’s Director of Basketball Operations Gilad Shoham, the improvement in the teams and its players has been phenomenal.

“Once case particularly stands out – a freshman point guard from Memphis named Darius Washington Jr.,” he told ISRAEL21c. “He didn’t start the season, but began starting around Christmas break. Since then his point average has gone up by 40%.

Washington was named this week to the National Freshman All-America first team. It was the second postseason honor for Washington, as Vitale named him Conference USA’s Diaper Dandy of the Year last week.

Washington is the team’s second-leading scorer with a 15.6 average, and leads the squad with 103 assists and 51 steals. He is averaging 3.9 rebounds from his point guard position and is shooting 46.3 percent from the field, 40.6 percent from the arc and 70.3 percent from the foul line.

“While we’re not taking full credit, both Washington and his coach have said that the ACE system helped him improve his game,” said Shoham.

With the ACE system, a player tries to attach one of the smaller figures to a larger one to steal its “energy.” The player also must “shoot” to transfer power from one small figure to another as openings appear. The game gets progressively more difficult as it’s played and is individually adjusted depending on a players’ strengths or weaknesses.

The idea is to increase the player’s ability to focus on several things at once, recognize patterns among moving objects and make decisions quickly.

According to Shoham, the results with Memphis and Kentucky have been so sterling, that the company is now approaching all NBA teams as well as making the software available to high schools and individual players.

“We started selling two months ago individual packages for high school players on the Internet, and so far we’ve sold over 50,” he said.

ACE will make its presence felt at the Final Four taking place at the end of the month in St. Louis. They’ll be displaying their program for all to see. And next year, don’t be surprised if every team – from the NBA and NCAA to high schoolers – is using the IntelliGym.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director