By now I’m sure you’ve heard the story of Jack Taylor Jr., NCAA Division III Basketball player from Grinnell College, in Iowa; who shattered the NCAA Men’s Basketball record for points in a single game with 138. Jack had an historical game, going 52-for-108 (27-for-71 from the 3-point line) (Source ESPN), taking a shot every 20 seconds.
Jack and I grew up in the same small town, Black River Falls, Wisconsin, with a population of just 3,643. While growing up, I had the pleasure of playing (see: losing) countless pick up games with him.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to ask Jack some questions about the last few days and his thoughts and feelings about everything. Here’s what he had to say:
Nick Slegel: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me, Jack. I know with everything that’s happened in the last two days, plus the holiday weekend, I’m sure you’re probably very busy and worn out. I really appreciate it!
Jack Taylor: No problem! The media coverage has been insane, but I love doing interviews from people back home!
Nick: You’ve had a pretty long road from tiny Black River Falls High School to Grinnell and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Scoring record. Can you walk us through that journey briefly?
Jack: It has been a long journey. After high school I hadn't received any athletic scholarships but was receiving interest from a number of D1 and D2 schools. I decided to attend a prep school out in Pennsylvania, Mercersburg Academy. I ended up tearing my ACL during the season, which ended my season and ended my dreams of playing at the D1 level. But I had surgery and worked myself back into shape and played a year at UW-La Crosse. I saw limited minutes and decided to pursue a basketball career at Grinnell College, who was notorious for their up-tempo style of basketball.
Nick: Speaking of BRFHS, what is it like; going from a such small town like Black River Falls, to being a world-wide news story, trending on Twitter and being on national television?
Jack: It has been a bit overwhelming! I continue to receive messages from people around Black River Falls who tell me that I have inspired them and have proved that a small town kid can do big things!
Nick: That’s awesome. I can honestly say that it’s all anyone in town has talked about since Tuesday. Growing up in Black River Falls, did you ever fathom that something like this could possibly happen to you?
Jack: I had always dreamed big, but those dreams were cut short with my ACL injury. Having this success makes it even more special due to the fact I have made it back from such a devastating knee injury.
Nick: I’ve heard you say that going into half time, you were under the impression you only had around 30 points (Source: ESPN). When your coach, David Arseneault, showed you the stat sheet and you actually had 58 points, what was going through your head?
Jack: I was shocked! Having 58 points at halftime excited the entire team, and they told me they were going to continue to give me the basketball and that they expected me to shoot it! I appreciate my teammates unselfishness because without them, this record would have not been possible.
Nick: Players that I’m sure you look up to, such as Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Lebron James (among MANY others) were tweeting and talking about you on national television (Source: ESPN, Twitter). I know, at the time, you didn’t have a Twitter account yet. How did you find out about what everyone was saying and what did you think about all of the attention you were getting? How long did it take you to decide that you had to create a Twitter account and read/respond to everything?
Jack: My teammates (who had Twitter accounts) were texting me about NBA players who were talking about me. When I finally got back to my dorm that night (after doing hours of interviews) I created a Twitter! I am slowly learning how to use it but it is still so new to me.
Nick: Okay, last question. How do you think your record-shattering performance (along with your Coach’s high-octane offense) will affect your future, as both a player and person?
Jack: As a player, I hope it will be a stepping-stone to a professional basketball career overseas. Personally, I am hoping I will stay humble. I want to be the same Jack Taylor as I was a week ago. I realize that my ability to play basketball comes from God, and I hope to continue following Jesus Christ as passionately and humbly as before my record-setting game.
Nick: Thank you, once again, for taking the time to answer my questions, Jack! Have a great weekend and good luck going forward!
Jack: I appreciate your support; it was always a fun battle between us in high school! Take care.
I’m so glad I had the special opportunity to talk to Jack. He’s such a humble, smart, amazing person, who has worked so hard to get where he is, and deserves all of the attention and recognition.
I’d like to personally thank my friend Jack, one last time; for taking time out of his crazy, hectic schedule to answer a few questions for me.
If you’d like to see highlights of every one of the record 138 points, check out this cool video