Monday, November 26, 2012

Jack Taylor's 138-point Feat - Grinnell's System Deserves The Credit

Grinnell College's Jack Taylor set an amazing scoring record last week, which he can credit to the program's system. (

Grinnell College's Jack Taylor was one of the biggest stories last week in an already big sports week. That's what happens when you score 138 points in a basketball game.

I've waited until nearly a week later to write this not because I am lazy or slow to the party, but because I wanted to wait and see what he did next and research what he had done before that breakout game that got him headlines all over the country.

First off, the feat is impressive, regardless of your stance. Sure he had to take 108 shots in order to reach that number, but it's impressive his arm didn't fall off or, in seriousness, that he didn't strain a muscle shooting that much.

Taylor got his 15 minutes of fame, but let's not believe we've found the next pure shooter who will make the large leap to the NBA. He had a night where half of his shots were going in, and he just happened to play for a system that allowed him an unprecedented amount of chances to shoot.

Grinnell's game plan is to score, and to score a lot. That's how it is averaging 134 points per game in its first four games of the season. The plan is to shoot early on in the possession, and to shoot often. The Pioneers defense is to score more on offense.

Taylor just happened to be the beneficiary of the extreme success the system can provide. Just look at how he followed up the record-breaking performance in a game against William Penn on Sunday. Taylor had 21 points on 6-21 shooting (28 percent) and was 3-13 (23 percent) from 3-point range.

So there was a bit of pressure on him to follow up on a great performance. That's understandable. But the story was the same in the first game of the season, where Taylor scored 19 points on 5-18 shooting from the field (27 percent) and 3-15 from behind the arc (a mere 20 percent). The next day, he had a better 28 points on 6-23 shooting (still a very average 26 percent) and 3-19 from 3 (15.7 percent).

Take away the game of his career and he has shot 27 percent from the field this season and 19 percent from 3-point range. Those aren't great numbers from a "shooting" guard.

This is not meant to bash on Taylor. He accomplished a feat no one else has done, and should be congratulated for it. But he should also be congratulating a system that allows him to score by taking 20 or 108 shots a game and to keep shooting 3's when none are falling. Not many other programs give players that freedom.

Only at Grinnell could Jack Taylor score 138 points in a game.

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