Last night, Jack Taylor, a player on the Division III basketball team for Grinnell, set an all-time NCAA scoring record with 138 points in a single game (!). Insane. How did he do it? ESPN takes a look:
For the past two decades, Grinnell coach David Arseneault has been running his system(“The System”), based on his formula (“The Formula”), which explicitly requires his team to shoot at least 94 field goals per game, 47 of which should be 3-pointers. Arseneault recruits almost exclusively sharpshooting guards, so that his players can be interchangeable when he runs them in quickfire all-five line changes every other minute. It’s a totally insane, totally thrilling way to play basketball, and it’s also an elephant and a tiger and a creepy clown shy of a straight-up circus freakshow.
So when you ask yourself, “How in the name of everything holy did some D-III kid just score 138 points?,” Arseneault’s crazy system is a good place to start.
But alas, it’s not the whole answer. Typically, Grinnell’s offense is designed to be balanced. In Tuesday night’s 179-104 victory over Faith Baptist Bible, however, Taylor shot 108 field goals (he made 52), 71 of which were 3s (he made 27). He recorded three rebounds and zero assists, and he didn’t even shoot 50 percent from the field. The rest of his teammates combined for a grand total of 28 field goals. So not only was Grinnell running its inherently insane team system, it was obviously running it with the expressed purpose of getting Taylor enough shots to score an utterly mind-blowing number of points.
A more cynical person would say that it’s pretty clear what Grinnell was trying to do here. It wasn’t merely trying to win a game. It was trying to set a record and get on “SportsCenter” and reap the benefits of copious Internet coverage. And guess what: It worked.