College Basketball Talk staff reactions to Jack Taylor’s 138-point night

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In the day after Grinnell College’s Jack Taylor set the record for most points in a college game with 138 there have been no shortage of opinions on the matter. Some were appalled while others don’t see the need for folks to be so upset. So how did the College Basketball Talk crew see Taylor’s night? Those responses are below.

Rob Dauster
It’s a D3 game against a crap team. They wanted to see how many points that could get one kid to score. Anyone that takes this nore seriously than that needs to go home, drink a beer, take a shot, and realize that life ain’t that serious.

David Harten
I’m one of those people that sees it two ways.

1.) What Grinnell plays in general is not “basketball” to me, they simply “score points”. When you do what they do, stuff like this happens. So I view Taylor’s accomplishment as more of a gimmick than a feat.

2.) It’s Division III basketball. These kids play simply because they love it and get no financial assistance based on their athletic talents. Teams like Grinnell play like this to get publicity and because it’s fun. And when you have the athletic budgets the size of some large high schools in Texas, you do what you can to get noticed.

So while I don’t see it as an overly-impressive achievement, I do see it as an accomplishment worth noticing.

Troy Machir
I’m from the  Herm Edwards school of thought: “HELLO. You play to win the game.”

During a 2007 Mid-Atlantic Conference playoff lacrosse game against top-seeded Widener College, my Elizabethtown Blue Jays took a surprising one-goal lead early in the first quarter, and decided to kill as much time off the clock as humanly possible. Widener played a packed-in zone with no pressure on the ball-handler, which allowed up to kill as much time off the clock as we wanted when we got the ball into the offensive half of the field. It took Widener 3 quarters to figure out how to force us to move the ball.  Widener came in to the game averaging roughly 14gpg. They beat us in OT 3-2.

Should we show Jack Taylor’s game footage to youth basketball coaches around the country? Of course not. But to laud this as “selfish” and “bad for basketball” is just foolish. You play to win the game. If the kid can shoot, get him the ball. If the other team can’t stop him, keep shooting.

This is D-III sports. Sure, there was probably a bit of frustration from some of the players who may have had some open look. But if you’re on a team with a dude who is approaching triple-digits, you enjoy the ride.

It’s certainly not the most ideal, foolproof formula for success, but hey, On Tuesday November 21st, it worked.

Terrence Payne
Of course this is an incredible and ridiculous number to put up in a game. At the same there are going to be purists that hate this, but can you imagine being a student at small Grinnell College watching this happen? It must have been nuts for the 36 minutes he was out there.

Fact of the matter is this is D3 ball. The Faith Baptist Bible college coach already came out and said he is not offended. Jack Taylor put up a remarkable, potentially unbeatable number. It’s a fun story for basketball that doesn’t really matter to anyone but those who play in it. Give him his 15 minutes and wake me up when Grinnell is in the D3 title game.

Raphielle Johnson
Personally I have no problem with Jack Taylor’s 138 points last night. If the announcer’s comments at the start of the webcast weren’t enough for people to realize what was going on, watching the same guy shoot over and over should have made it clear the pursuit of a record was the goal of the contest. They didn’t tell Faith Baptist to not double- or triple-team (they did this at times, but clearly not enough) Taylor; their defensive issues aren’t the fault of either Taylor or Grinnell. Frankly we watch examples of “bad” basketball every day, but which would you rather watch: a guy scoring 138 points or a display like last week’s Fresno State/UC Riverside game (halftime score: 13-11)? And personally I don’t see the harm in Taylor’s performance, especially if his teammates went along with it.

Grinnell, using the style of play they’ve played for years, decided to have a player make a run at Bevo Francis’ record and got it. The head coach at Faith Baptist didn’t sound offended, and if he was something “more” probably would have been done during the game to prevent Taylor from going off. Jack Taylor had a great night and I salute him for it.

Daniel Martin

Part of the beauty of college basketball is the fact that there are so many different schools of thought and styles of play.

Just because Grinnell plays such a radically different system, it sets off a wave of outrage? This is the way the school traditionally plays. It’s a Division III basketball team playing with non-scholarship players who are having fun.

They’re an anomaly. If you were a Division III caliber player, why wouldn’t you go play for a program that gives you the opportunity to try something so drastically different?

I understand the contrarians. There are so many similar stories praising Mr. Taylor’s achievement that there is a market for tearing it down.

But why this over-the-top negative reaction? Do we have a legitimate fear that Tom Izzo and Roy Williams are finding a way to implement this system in Division I? C’mon.

Let Mr. Taylor enjoy his 15 minutes.

Eric Angevine

Essentially, in athletics, people do what they can do, and it’s up to the opponent to stop them. Sportsmanship is a nice concept, but so is playing your best and not holding back. As Daniel pointed out, people whined about dunking (including my favorite coach of all time John Wooden), but once that genie was out of the bottle, it wasn’t going back in. Guys can dunk, now someone has to figure out how to stop them.

In college football, teams that run up the score are LOVED. And let’s all act like we would have paid one iota of attention to some news out of Grinnell if it were about how many Rhodes Scholars they cranked out or that they played a game where somebody scored one point below the previous record.

So there are the thoughts of the CBT staff on Jack Taylor’s night. We’ll leave you with a very good point that Eric made on all of this:

We’ve heard in the past week that our conferences are going to be broken up even further, the NCAA is strong-arming former college kids in Miami, and we’re more upset about a kid essentially doing what basketball players are trained to do – score.

Osun Osunniyi picks St. Bonaventure over Syracuse, Georgetown

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St. Bonaventure has made something of a late splash on the recruiting trail.

Osun Osunniyi, a 6-foot-10 from Putnam (Conn.) Science Academy, signed with the Bonnies, the school announced Monday.

It’s a bit of a recruiting coup for coach Mark Schmidt, who won the services of Osunniyi over offers from Syracuse and Georgetown, both of whom hosted the prospect on official visits this spring.

“Osun oozes with potential. His ceiling is extremely high. He has so much God-given ability,” Schmidt said in a statement. “And, he’s a great kid, a character kid who is level-headed. He has a great wingspan, he runs well, he has a natural talent for blocking shots and is a very good rebounder. He can score around the basket.

“Osun wants to get better, like all of our players. We saw how he developed at Putnam, which is a credit to coach Espinosa and the staff there. He’s come a long way to become a kid who was highly recruited. We’re thrilled to have him come to St. Bonaventure.”

Osunniyi, who previously committed to La Salle before taking a prep year, becomes the fourth member of the Bonnies’ 2018 freshman class. He averaged 10 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots per game while Putnam won a national prep championship.

The Bonnies made the NCAA tournament as an 11 seed last year after going 26-8.

Christian Vital going back to UConn for junior season

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Dan Hurley is keeping his roster intact at the top.

Christian Vital, UConn’s second-leading scorer a season ago, is returning to school after declaring for the NBA draft without hiring an agent, he announced Monday via social media.

“Great Talk Today Coach! Appreciate The Wisdom You Have Let Me In On!” Vital wrote “I Think It’s Time To Get Back To Winning Ways In Storrs! I’m Going To Need That #1 Back ASAP! WE GOT (UNFINISHED) BUSINESS!”

The 6-foot-2 junior-to-be Vital joins Jalen Adams, who was the Huskies’ top-returning scorer, back in Storrs in Hurley’s first year. Vital averaged 14.9 points on 38.3 percent shooting. Adams previously announced he would return to school without declaring for the draft.

The return of UConn’s top two scorers underscores an even bigger trend under Hurley as the Huskies appear to have avoided any major defections from last year’s roster despite the coaching change.

UConn is coming off a 14-18 season that proved to be the last of coach Kevin Ollie’s six years with the Huskies that included a national championship but also back-to-back losing seasons.

Chris Silva returning to South Carolina for senior season

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South Carolina is getting an first-team all-SEC performer back.

Chris Silva, who led the Gamecocks in scoring and rebounding last season, is returning to school after declaring for the NBA draft without hiring an agent, the school announced Monday.

“I’m thankful for the experience of going through the draft process,” Silva said in a statement. “I want to thank all of the teams that gave me the opportunity to workout for their organization. I’m excited to announce that I’m returning to South Carolina for my senior season. I can’t wait to get back on the court with my brothers and continue to work on my game.”

The 6-foot-9 Silva, who did not get an NBA draft combine invite, averaged 14.3 points and 8 rebounds per game as a junior.  He shot 46.7 percent from the floor.

“Going through the evaluation process was an unbelievable experience for Chris and us,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said in a statement. “He comes back to a place he loves with some knowledge on some of the things that we have to help him improve on in his efforts to one day fulfill his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA.”

In addition to being South Carolina’s leading scorer, he was the SEC co-defensive player of the year last season after averaging 1.4 blocks per game. His return to Columbia gives the Gamecocks a potential contender for SEC player of the year in 2018-19.

Kansas fires athletic director Sheahon Zenger

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Kansas has fired athletic director Sheahon Zenger, effective immediately, citing a lack of progress in key areas within the athletic department.

“Sheahon has been a loyal Jayhawk, and our athletics department has improved in many areas under his leadership,” Kansas Chancellor Doug Girod wrote in an email to KU faculty and staff. “But athletics continues to face a number of challenges, and progress in key areas has been elusive. To achieve the level of success we need and expect, I have determined a change in leadership is necessary.”

Zenger had been in the role of AD since 2011.

The issue, of course, is not the play of the Kansas basketball program. The Jayhawks have won every Big 12 regular season title since 2004, and head coach Bill Self has taken the program to two Final Fours since Zenger was hired.

The football team is still a disaster, but one can’t help but wonder whether or not the real issue at hand here is Kansas’ getting tied into the FBI’s investigation into college basketball.

The Jayhawks were not mentioned in the initial indictments that were handed down, but Kansas was a central figure in the superseding indictments that were dropped after the national title game. The mother of Billy Preston, who did not play for the Jayhawks this season, was alleged to have been funneled $90,000 by Adidas, while Silvio De Sousa’s status is currently in question after the FBI alleged his guardian was paid at least $20,000 to help offset money that the family had already accepted from a rival shoe company.

All of that came in the aftermath of dealing with Cheick Diallo and Cliff Alexander, both of whom had their one season in Lawrence reduced due to off the court issues.

“Since becoming chancellor, I have spent countless hours with higher education peers and Jayhawks to hear their perspective on KU,” Girod wrote. “A common thread in these conversations is that, as a major public university with national aspirations, we must continue to strive for excellence in all areas — including athletics. As I have said many times, a successful athletics department is inextricably linked to our broader mission as a flagship research university.”

Louisville, ex-AD Tom Jurich reach $4.5M settlement

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville has reached a $4.5 million settlement with former athletic director Tom Jurich, who was fired in the wake of a national federal corruption investigation of college basketball.

Jurich disputed his Oct. 18 firing for cause after nearly 20 years as AD and had considered suing the school. The University of Louisville Athletic Association and Board of Trustees on Friday approved the settlement. Jurich’s employment ended “without cause” as a result of his resignation, also described in the settlement as “retirement.”

He’ll also receive another $2.6 million in accrued employment benefits, along with home game tickets and parking for Louisville football and basketball for 20 years.

An audit of the University of Louisville Foundation released last June showed that Jurich averaged annual compensation of more than $2.76 million from 2010-16, including more than $5.35 million in 2016.

Then-interim president Greg Postel had placed Jurich on paid administrative leave in September after the school’s acknowledgement of its involvement in the investigation. Trustees voted 10-3 to fire Jurich, two days after the ULAA unanimously fired Hall of Fame men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino.

The former AD said in a joint statement that he “spent the better part of my career” working with dedicated athletes, coaches and staff to elevate Louisville. He added, “I am proud of what we accomplished, which is well documented.”

Jurich’s legal team had stressed that the ex-AD did nothing illegal and hadn’t violated NCAA rules.

Trustee chairman J. David Grissom said in the statement that “Everyone is pleased that this matter has been successfully resolved. All parties can move forward to begin the next chapter.”

Jurich played a major role in Louisville’s success on the field and how the school handled issues off it. He led the school’s 2014 entry into the Atlantic Coast Conference and oversaw numerous program and facility upgrades, including a $63 million expansion of the football stadium due for completion by fall.

He also hired several successful coaches including Pitino, who guided the Cardinals to the 2013 NCAA men’s basketball championship. Louisville ultimately vacated that title in February as part of NCAA penalties for a sex scandal after an escort’s book allegations that former basketball staffer Andre McGee hired her and other dancers to strip and have sex with players and recruits.

Pitino has filed a $38.7 million federal lawsuit against Louisville, alleging breach of contract.