I started my day off well, fully intending on writing about the awesomeness that was Jack Taylor’s 138-point performance last night in his Division III Grinnell College’s 179-104 win over Faith Baptist Bible.
I wrote earlier about how it’s incredible that a performance like Taylor’s had never been seen in basketball history, and that despite it being accomplished in a pretty cheap, and unconventional way, their opponent didn’t take the right measures to prevent it, which makes it more impressive to me – and that ultimately, I don’t think it’s a sham.
My fellow St. John’s/Big East beat writer, and also tremendous fan of using strange words to get his points across like pickles (which tends to be his signature hashtag on twitter - go figure) Joseph Nardone, disagreed with my defense of the performance, and claimed that it was in fact a sham and went as far as to call it “evil.”
Joseph made terrific points, like Grinnell’s opponent didn’t even belong to the NCAA, but a member of National Christian College Athletic Association, which let’s face it, probably compares more to intramural sports at Yale than it does to the highly touted (sarcasm) D-III.
Joseph also went into detail about how Grinnell’s coach, David Arseneault has an agenda of selling books and videos touting his basketball strategy – which to those new to the topic, involves close to zero defense, cherry-picking, and volume shooting on crack - and that he “hand picks horrible teams, and decides that’s when he will manipulate the system to get national attention.”
While I cannot disagree or argue against any of Joseph’s points, I can very blatantly say WHO CARES? I didn’t say Taylor gave his heart and soul to the defensive end while magically pouring in 138 points, we all know he took 108 shots and didn’t give any effort into getting back on defense, but that’s the coaches strategy.
I understand there being backlash towards Arseneault today for making a mockery out of the game of basketball, which again, is something I almost can’t disagree with. But again, I raise this point: who cares?
Did you know anything about Grinnell basketball yesterday, even though their coach has been implementing this style of basketball for over 20 years now? Did you have a problem when Griffin Lentsch, another one of Arseneault’s players, scored a Division III record 89 points last season, the same way Taylor did so last night? Has Grinnell cheated anybody out of something they rightfully deserve? Have children decided to play basketball the Grinnell way because they think it’s most effective?
Where does the “evilness” that Joseph mentioned in his article stem from?
I too am a die-hard basketball fan. I love the sport, I’d even go as far as to call it my first love. My favorite aspects of the game are team work and ball movement, but like everyone else, I want to watch the dunk contest. I want to see the sick crossover. I want to see Blake Griffin climb up on Pau Gasol to the point that it’s really an offensive foul, to see him dunk all over him.
And I want to see a guy drop 138 points, even if it didn’t happen conventionally – which may I add, it never will.
What happened Tuesday night was something that’s never been seen, and in all likeliness, will never be seen again. Why do we have to take this opportunity to be Debbie-downers? Why do we have to see something that’s never happened and point out the flaws in it happening? Do we always point out the way the NCAA exploits its athletes, disrespecting their hard work and dedication just to make a few (billion) bucks? Or is this seeing an easy target and jumping on it because we’ve become a bunch of cynics who can’t just enjoy a piece of cake without looking at the calories first?
I’m not saying that Jack Taylor’s 138 point performance was good for basketball, but it was good for entertainment, which everyone must have forgotten, is the reason we watch sports to begin with.
And all of you basketball conservatives, don’t worry, Duke, UNC, even the lowly University of Hartford most likely won’t come looking for Arseneault to take over their prestigious basketball programs. He’s found his calling, and he’ll return to his life of being acknowledged by mainstream media less than a 5’10 guard who plays D-3 basketball and happens to drop 138 points on a crazy night.
Next time a record’s set unconventionally, I’ll be right there with you pundits, ready to bash the bottom line for something we didn’t know about, and if we did, we certainly didn’t care…until now.
For hoops, hip-hop and other random sports and pop culture commentary, follow Jared Mintz on Twitter @JaredMintzTruth