"My coach wanted me to score as many points as I could score, and get as many rebounds," Frank says. "That's what I did every game. I got a lot of offensive rebounds and putbacks and fouls. That's how I was able to score so many points."
The university gave him the ball after the game as a token. He gave it to his five younger brothers in Kentucky, who played with it until it fell apart.
"I'd like to know how that kid did that," Frank says of Jack Taylor. "How many shots did he take? That's the most amazing thing I've ever heard of in basketball."
Jack took 108 shots, 42 more than Frank did almost 59 years earlier. He played 36 minutes. He took 32 threes in the first half alone, and he made only nine of them. A lot of those shots were frustratingly close to going in. He had 58 points at halftime, though. He made several layups by dribbling like one of those pro players he admired so much, stopping suddenly, then crossing over, lulling his defender to sleep and then blasting by him. That style did not exactly fit the System at Grinnell, which is designed to score quickly, in 12 seconds. The System is simple and fun to watch, unless you hate three-pointers. It stresses five statistical categories, called hustle goals. When the goals are met, the team wins. Coach Arsenault actually had one of his classes research the numbers, in the mid-1990s. Over the last 20 years, Grinnell has lost only three times in 40-minute games in which the goals were met. Those goals are to attempt 94 shots, take 47 of them from three-point range, rebound a third of all misses, force 32 turnovers and shoot 25 more times than the opponent. Grinnell has led the NCAA in scoring 15 of the last 17 years.
The morning of the Faith Baptist game, Jack had been nervous about his slump. And about the idea that he would be taking so many shots and would be expected to have 20 points by the 10-minute mark or he'd come out, and the team would resume its regular brand of play, with three rotations of five players, a new team of shooters subbed in after every whistle.
He awoke in his single room on the second floor of Norris Dorms a bit earlier than normal and went to one of the academic buildings on campus to study 45 minutes for a calculus test. He had his standard breakfast of eggs and tater tots and apple juice. He had a three-hour biology class, studying yeast cultures. He listened to some Eminem, hoping the music's dark urgency would pump him up. Before tip-off, in a circle in the empty auxiliary locker room, he and several other players listened to the team's assistant manager, Aamir Walton, read a passage from the Bible that was essentially about maximizing potential.
A week later, Jack is in the student cafeteria at lunchtime with a bowl of stir-fry, two glasses of milk and two chocolate-chip cookies on his plastic tray. There is a spray of acne below his chin and on his forehead. He could not grow a beard if he tried. He is wearing an old Batman T-shirt. He is a biochem major who wants to be a pharmacist because of the hours, which would allow him to have a normal family life. He has taken out $10,000 in student loans to attend Grinnell. One of the coolest things about his new notoriety is that Kobe mentioned him after he heard about the 138-point game.
"All the critics who like to criticize me on the game," Jack begins, mocking a cocky attitude, "well, Kobe said, 'Anyone who scores 138 points, he can tell all the people to kiss my ... ass.' " He whispers that last word. Jack is smiling, partly joking. "To know that great players like that go through the same thing ... look, I didn't do something bad. I did something great."
His mother, Lulu, once told him that growing up around animals and nature had turned him into a kind, quiet, introspective human being. There was a homeless man on the side of a road in Wisconsin recently, and Jack stopped and gave him $10 and a cheeseburger. Jack used to work at a Cenex gas station and learned people skills by talking to the customers.
He will never score that many points again. "I know that," he says. He will probably never even come close. Though he has no perspective on the number, and on many other things that a 22-year-old has no perspective on, he is smart enough to be considering the number's implications. "Actually, I wasn't even focused on a number," he says. "I remember talking to my girlfriend—she rode down with my parents for the game. I was telling her that I was nervous, because I knew I would be getting a lot of shots, and if I was shooting like I had been lately, it was not going to be pretty."