Controversy surrounds Division III player's scoring records
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Depending on whom you ask, Grinnell College guard Jack Taylor, owner of two 100-point performances for the Division III Pioneers, is the best thing to happen to college basketball.
Or the worst.
“Jack is wired to score,” said Grinnell associate coach David N. Arsenault, whose father, David, designed the offense in 1993 that made Taylor famous. “He's perfect for what we do.”
Not everyone agrees.
“When you're scheduling an inferior opponent just for one of your players to set a record and gain notoriety for your program, I find that to be poor sportsmanship,” ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla said.
Taylor is a 5-foot-10 junior who broke the NCAA single-game scoring record with a 138-point game last year. He scored 109 points this season in the second game of the year, and his 45.0-point average leads all NCAA divisions after his first six games.
Taylor benefits from playing in a rapid-fire offense that encourages him to shoot at will. But his two biggest games have come against overmatched opponents, creating skepticism about the validity of those performances.
“I don't know enough about it, but you'd have to find 10 players to go along with it, along with 10 sets of parents. It would be a challenge,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said.
In Grinnell's 173-123 win over Crossroads College on Nov. 17, Taylor sank 35 of 70 field-goals attempts, including 24 of 48 3-pointers, while playing only 29 minutes.
“People call me selfish, that I should pass the ball, that I'm not a team player,” said Taylor, who was recruited by Ivy League schools before suffering ACL and MCL injuries. “They don't realize that my role in this system is to shoot. When I'm not aggressive, shooting the basketball, I'm actually yelled at.”
Taylor follows the instructions of the Arsenaults. Son David played for his father and completed his Grinnell playing career as the Division III career leader in assists per game.
He said Grinnell installed a fast-break offense after 27 consecutive losing seasons. The result has been 16 winning seasons in the past 20 years and 18 national scoring titles.
“It's evolved into a competitive strategy for us to the point that, year-in and year-out, we're in the hunt for a conference title,” Arsenault said.
The strategy peaked during last season's 138-point game against Faith Baptist College in which Taylor set NCAA records for field goals (52), field goals attempted (108), 3-pointers (27) and 3-pointers attempted (71).
Crossroads College and Faith Baptist College are members of the National Christian Athletic Association, which is ranked lower than NAIA.
Crossroads has about 100 students. Grinnell, located in Grinnell, Iowa, plays in the Midwest Conference and has an enrollment of 1,700.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said it's not unusual to design an offense around one player.
“I've had guys that have taken half our shots before. Logan did that a few times,” said Huggins, referring to guard Steve Logan, Cincinnati's second all-time leading scorer behind Oscar Robertson who was 12th in the nation in scoring in 2001-02. “We all wanted him to (shoot). He made them.”
ESPN's Fraschilla takes issue with Grinnell setting up Taylor for success by scheduling opponents such as Crossroads and Faith Baptist.
“It almost looked like they picked an opponent they absolutely were going to hammer to set up Jack Taylor to score all those points,” said Fraschilla, who compiled a 176-99 record at Manhattan, St. John's and New Mexico.
“For them to purposely play this way to try to get an individual a record, I don't think reflects all that great on Grinnell College.”
Taylor doesn't agree.
“Coming into this program, I knew I would be able to put up big numbers, but I didn't know I would be able to break any records,” Taylor said. “I came here to play this unique brand of basketball. I'm having a lot of fun.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police identify driver in North Side crash that killed pregnant woman
- Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger says Saints game is ‘must win’
- Turkey Trot runners turn out to burn calories despite chilly Pittsburgh temps
- Steelers’ backups Archer, Harris ready to run
- Starkey: Rutherford will add when timing’s right
- Apartment development outlined for former Schenley High School in Pittsburgh
- Comeau’s hat trick leads Penguins; Crosby reaches 800 career points
- Pitt plays best game of the season in rout of Kansas State
- Queen of crime writing P.D. James dies at 94
- Defying the odds makes this Thanksgiving particularly poignant
- Blairsville judge accused in hit-run set to enter program for 1st-time offenders