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Wally Hoops Revisited

Crawfordsville is the home of basketball in the State of Indiana, having been imported here from Springfield, MA, shortly after the game’s invention. Such a lineage made the game a worthy topic of discussion at “Wally Hoops: A Slam Dunk Symposium on Basketball and the Liberal Arts,” on Feb. 19.

What follows below are some the most memorable quotes from our collection of speakers. Click here for an event photo gallery.

Mac Petty, Basketball From Beginning to Now
Speaking of Dr. James Naismith: “He went out and got two peach baskets and aren’t we lucky? The goal was to provide an athletic diversion during the harsh New England winter.”

“There were 13 original rules. Now, there are more than a hundred, but the spirit of those original 13 rules is still there. Big men have always made big changes to the game. Think Chamberlain, Kurland, George Mikan, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

“I don’t envy anyone being an official. When I started, basketball was finesse and football was a contact sport. Now, basketball is a contact sport and football is a collision sport. Maybe the Warriors and Spurs are helping to change that.”

Dr. Richard Dallinger, The Hoops Doctor Holds Court
“At the scorer’s table I was an actual game official. I took that very seriously. I had to turn off rooting for Wabash for 28 years. That was the hardest thing.”

Dr. Preston Bost, Outside the Box(score): Building a Better Basketball Team With Modern Analytics

Dr. Preston Bost spoke of basketball analytics and Charles Barkley.

Dr. Preston Bost spoke of basketball analytics and Charles Barkley.

“Analytics help you figure out the story within the game and its predictive value. The heyday of analytics of basketball began about 10 years ago. We’re still trying to figure things out. It’s kind of like watching a litter of puppies…lots of energy, but all over the place. We shouldn’t think of analytics as a magic wand. Analytics operates within certain constraints. Think of it as using technology to maximize your resources.”

“Charles Barkley is probably right to kind of slow play the analytics. It’s still such a young field.”

Mike Ricks ’87, “Hoosiers” and the Cutting Room Floor
“I read the script and I nailed it. I’d never done any acting but I took Dr. O’Rourke’s speech class.” “You never know when you’re on. You never know when you’re being interviewed. You always have to sell yourself.”

“I remember that coach (Mac Petty) was so supportive. He said, ‘You go do this life experience.’ It was one of the most boring days of my life. I would have rather been playing in the red/white scrimmage.”

Matt Tanney ’05, Learning to “Dance”: Building a Championship Culture in a Division I Basketball Program
“Why is it important to qualify for the NCAA Tournament? Not the money or exposure, but for the student-athletes and the quality of their experience.”

“Scheduling is a real challenge for us. You have to be strategic as to where and when you play people.”

“’It’s our job to make sure the student-athletes have the resources in place to be successful after graduation. It’s a process and it takes patience and perseverance.”

Joe Hakin ‘73, Basketball as a Process: The Score Will Take Care of Itself
“I haven’t lost a game in 14 years. It’s different when you are the head coach and the W/L is attached to your name.”

“Playing to your potential is an elusive goal, but a worthy one. Especially at a place like this, a liberal arts college, it is definitely worth pursuing.”

“On a liberal arts campus, it’s important to reorient students from their academic day to their athletic day. It’s tough to go from class to practice and be immediately successful.”

David Phillips H’83 and Brent Harris H’03, Wabash Basket Ball: The First 30 Years
“I consider Homer Stonebraker ’18 to be one of the greatest players at Wabash,” said Phillips. “He could shoot from anywhere.”

Of Pete Vaughan H’54, Phillips said, “He was the real deal.”

Ray Jovanovich ’84, Asia’s NBA Love Affair…From the Late 1980s to 2016 & Beyond
“I got my start at WNDY and little did I know that a few years later I’d be sitting across a dinner table with the Managing Editor at RTHK in Asia. At the time, they were expanding content in sports. I was in a very coveted position. For me, it became a love affair as well. That love affair was spurred on in 1982 with Mac Petty’s national championship team. I was fortunate to fall into this second career and it’s sort of become my no. 1 career now.”

“'(Former NBA Commissioner David) Stern understood the domestic needs for the game and saw the potential for growing the game overseas. He and his team were brilliant marketers. No one has come close to what the NBA has done in China.”

Drs. Annie Strader and Matthew Weedman, Man-Made Hoops: Artistic Responses to a Cultural Phenomenon
“No artist has complete control over the artistic interpretation of their art,” said Strader.

Talking about Higher Goals 1986 by David Hammonds, Strader said, “It’s an anti-basketball sculpture.”

Dr. Chris Carr ’82, Mental Toughness: The Role of Sport Psychology in the NBA

Dr. Chris Carr '82 delivered the event's keynote address.

Dr. Chris Carr ’82 delivered the event’s keynote address.

“Sport psychology gives athletes something they can put to good use. The strategies we teach give them the tools to equip them for the rest of their lives…We try to help athletes develop these attributes: determination, confidence, composure, and focus.”

“When I work with an athlete, I have specific strategies to deal with things that are tough or overwhelming. What gets players engaged is using those skills and attributes to their advantage.”

“We have great weight rooms and strength staffs, but how much time do we spend on the mental? It’s easy to start, but it’s hard to commit.”

“Basketball is a fascinating sport. It’s dynamic and fluid. It’s about one shot, one point, and one stop. I try to help make every team member better, including coaches.”

The faculty, staff, and alumni symposium is presented by the National Association of Wabash Men, the Indianapolis Association of Wabash Men, and the faculty and staff of Wabash College.


Basketball Legends Honor Father

Richard Paige — A medal earned, some tough love, and a connection through sports brought Indiana basketball legends Tom and Dick Van Arsdale to campus to celebrate the accomplishments of a Wabash Man.

This visit wasn’t about basketball, or even themselves. The twins were on campus to honor their father, Raymond ’23. It turns out that the man Tom and Dick knew as Dad—a math teacher and track and football coach—was also a standout athlete himself.

The elder Van Arsdale was one of this College’s first great track stars, finishing second at the 1923 NCAA Track & Field Championships at Stagg Field in Chicago, where he jumped 23 feet, 6 inches, a mark that easily would have qualified him for the 2015 NCAA DIII Championships. He helped the Little Giants finish in 11th place nationally long before the NCAA meet was separated into divisions.

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Dick (left) and Tom Van Arsdale pose for a photo of their father's Hall of Fame induction plaque in the Allen Center.

Dick (left) and Tom Van Arsdale pose for a photo of their father’s Hall of Fame induction plaque in the Allen Center.

To say he was fast is an understatement. Raymond once posted a time of 10.1 seconds for the 100-yard dash, only a half second off the world record at the time.

“Dad never talked about himself,” said Tom. “We knew he was fast, but he never talked about himself. We hardly knew about his athletic career except that he ran track and played football.”

Raymond was inducted into the Wabash Athletics Hall of Fame in 1984.

“He also ran in the Drake Relays back then,” said Dick. “He was good. He might have made the 1924 Olympics if he hadn’t gotten hurt playing football.”

Sometimes when you meet people, you wonder what made them successful. Suddenly, it all made sense when thinking of Tom and Dick. Not only did they inherit great natural ability from Raymond and their mother, Hilda, but the right kind of push as well. The kind that only another great athlete knows.

These two legends were here to pay homage to their father, their first coach. The guy who was tough on them, always in their ear with a piece of constructive criticism, and pushing them a little further. Their successes have ties to Wabash College. Now they were giving something back.

They delivered to the College Raymond’s runner-up medal from that 1923 NCAA meet, a letterman’s award from 1921, and a photo. After more than 90 years in the Van Arsdales’ possession, it would become a part of our trophy case.

“We had that for so many years, we thought, what are we going to do with it,” said Tom. “Dick has a son and I have a son, so we got them together and said, ‘Guys, we’re not going to give this to you because you’ll fight over it.’ We’re going to give it to Wabash College.”

“That’s good for Wabash, anyway,” said Dick, laughing. “The boys were happy about it, too.”

Runner-Up medal won by Raymond Van Arsdale '23 in the broad jump at the 1923 NCAA Track & Field Championships at Stagg Field in Chicago, IL.

Runner-Up medal won by Raymond Van Arsdale ’23 in the broad jump at the 1923 NCAA Track & Field Championships at Stagg Field in Chicago.

The Van Arsdales are living embodiments of Hoosier Hysteria. The duo led Indianapolis Manual  High School to a second-place finish in the 1961 state tournament, shared both the Trester Award and Mr. Basketball honors as high school seniors, and went on to earn all-Big Ten, All-America, and Academic All-America honors for Indiana University before graduating in 1965.

They enjoyed stellar NBA careers, each playing 12 seasons, each making three All-Star Game appearances, and combining to score more than 29,000 professional points. In fact, Dick was the first-ever draft choice of the Phoenix Suns.

As they wandered through the halls of the Allen Center on a chilly winter morning, you could tell they were happy to be here, basking in the glow of their father’s greatness.

“It does mean a lot to us. We didn’t care too much about it when we were young,” Dick said before Tom picked up the thought.

“We’re very excited to do this now for Dad. He would be very happy about this. As we get older, it means more to us. We appreciate these moments so much more.”