I have to thank David Roth at Can’t Stop The Bleeding for the hat-tip on my alma mater’s basketball team — the last time I paid attention to it was when the Div. III Grinnell Pioneers were getting a bunch of media attention the year after I’d graduated from SI and ESPN2 even came to campus. (We’d seen their cameramen and people from Bristol the year before, although they only televised a game once in 2005.)
So, why does the team merit mention now? Well, David N. Arsenault, the point guard and son of long-time coach David M. Arsenault, just broke the NCAA’s single-game assist record against North Central University in Minnesota (picture at right isn’t of Arsenault; just a generic Grinnell b-ball photo):
On Saturday, coach David M. Arseneault, the guard’s father, planned to take a different tack by playing two of his best offensive players, John Grotberg and Keith Chamberlain, in 10-minute shifts to see how many points they could score.
When Arseneault had 14 assists by halftime, the team shifted its focus.
Arseneault, Grinnell’s career leader in assists, broke the record with 7:33 left to play.
“I didn’t even think it was possible. That’s just so many assists that I thought there was no way,” Arseneault said. “I had fun during every minute of the game.”
Grotberg finished with 49 points, going 14-of-38 from 3-point range, and Chamberlain finished with 39 points and 14 rebounds.
Arseneault had 22 points and doubled his previous career high for assists. His father felt the total could have been higher, noting the Pioneers were just 23-of-86 from 3-point range off passes from his son.
“We didn’t shoot the ball all that well yesterday,” the coach said.
When occasionally taking in games in the now-destroyed Darby Gym, my friends and I usually described the madness that was part and parcel of Coach Arsenault’s hockey-style sub system as “five gangly white dudes jacking up threes,” and while all basketball offenses are more complicated than what we describe them as, that was the overall effect — and it was highly amusing to watch and rarely boring. Here’s to Arsenault the Younger.