After 138 Points, Why Is Deadspin Being A Spoilsport?
Jack Taylor, a 5’10 guard from Grinnell College set the all-time record for points scored in a college basketball game with 138.
This amazing performance last week surpassed all previous NCAA records (as well as the NBA record) and Grinnell went on to win 179-104 against Faith Baptist Bible. The record-setting achievement made national news, NBA players expressed awe, and the national limelight fell on both Taylor and Grinnell, the prestigious liberal arts college in Iowa better known for its academics than its athletics. But then, as inevitably happens, the chorus of haters weighed in.
The most raucous was a scathing and scurrilous attack from Barry Petchesky, on the sports blog Deadspin, who derided Taylor’s achievement as “a sham record” and an “empty and artificial” achievement that was “the latest incarnation of Grinnell’s decades-old strategy of seeking media attention for records achieved through a complete bastardization of basketball.” Not only was the record repulsive to Petchesky but the school’s very system of playing basketball (relying on constant fast breaks, three-pointers and a tough full-court press) seemed to strike him as a malevolent incarnation of the Harlem Globetrotters or in Petchesky’s words, “some freakshow designed to make SportsCenter.” Needless to say–and I’m not just speaking as a Grinnell alumnus–this is hogwash.
Grinnell plays a system designed to maximize the talents of players like Taylor—who is undersized even by Division III standards. It may not be orthodox but it’s been successful for the school, which has set numerous NCAA scoring records in the process. Petchesky, though, doesn’t like it. Too bad.
It’s a shame that not all records in college basketball can be set by one-year-wonders from Kentucky or the latest insufferable Duke star. But every once in a while, an otherwise unknown kid from a good college in the middle of nowhere can have a special night. And when it happens, it’s worth appreciating, not being a cynic.
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