College Basketball Nation: Devan Bawinkel

More trillion fun -- lots more

March, 5, 2010
Thursday, I made note of Iowa guard Devan Bawinkel's "12 trillion," the stat by which Bawinkel played 12 whole minutes of a basketball game without registering a single other statistic, thus giving him the famed trillion pioneered by Ohio State walk-on genius Mark Titus. (You already know about Titus by now, don't you?)

The 12 trillion is a remarkable and unfortunate thing; Titus has clear rules against extending any trillion past three or four minutes because there comes a point when the stat stops being polite and starts getting real, and that's when you realize you're actually just hurting your team. The trillion's not so fun then.

Anyway, both I and Adam Jacobi from Black Heart Gold Pants thought Bawinkel's trillion had to be the longest in history. It's almost impossible to play that many minutes of basketball without committing a foul or taking a shot or dropping a dime, right? Wrong. One intrepid Hawkeye Lounge reader called up a list of recorded trillions, the longest of them being -- get this -- 31 trillion. 31 trillion!

It's true. On Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2001, Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils guard Elvis Robinson played an entire 31 minutes -- second most on his team -- without recording a single stat. 31 trillion. You can see the box score right here. It's ... it's beautiful. It really is.

So feel better, Devan Bawinkel. Your 12 trillion is still quite a feat. But it's a long way to the top if you want to be king of the trillion mountain. Which you don't.

A trillion? Pshh. How about 12?

March, 4, 2010
Ohio State super-scrub Mark Titus culminated a brilliant home career with one final trillion Tuesday night. Titus has made the trillion a more popular statistic than free throw rate, but for those unfamiliar, a trillion is registered when a scrub gets in for the final minute of the game but fails to make any other statistical impact during that game. The player ends up with a 1 in the minutes column and 13 zeros across the board. How Titus came up with this is beyond me, but it's pretty awesome -- the true test of how scrubariffic your team's last walk-on really is.

Still, there are rules here. You don't want to be racking up trillions in any way, shape or form. Too many minutes in the game without a single statistical record and you become less an oddity and more of a detriment. Which is why Iowa's Devan Bawinkel might have a little shame spiral action this morning. As noticed by Black Heart Gold Pants, Bawinkel posted a trillion -- in 12 minutes. 12 trillion!

This would seem impressive, but again, folks, there are rules. Let's go to Titus, the Tril-father himself, for a dissertation therein:
The reason a five trillion is actually worse than a four trillion is because there has to be a point in which the player is no longer playing the role of benchwarmer soaking up the scrub time, but is instead playing the role of "guy who could make his way into the rotation if he didn’t choose to do absolutely nothing with his opportunity". Someone who is playing five minutes in a game and isn’t doing anything of importance is basically just wasting everyone’s time. The fact that they’ve managed to get more than four minutes means that they shouldn’t be treated as a scrub for that particular game, because scrub time officially starts with four minutes left and a 20 point lead. As such, because they haven’t been dubbed a "scrub" ("dub a scrub" is a fun phrase) they have an obligation to entertain the crowd with their play instead of trying to be inefficient by getting a trillion. When scrubs get trillions, it’s riveting stuff. When guys playing five or more minutes get trillions, it’s borderline depressing.

This is not a ringing endorsement. Still, I think Bawinkel's in the clear. He wasn't trying (you weren't, right Devan?) to register a 12 trillion in the scoreline, so it's not as though he was intentionally hurting his team, and if Bawinkel was being completely ineffective -- which, uh, yeah -- it's his coach's job to take him out of the game. Instead, Bawinkel played hard. He just happened to do something unintentionally awesome in his otherwise forgetful 12 minutes. There's nothing wrong with that. Quite the opposite -- we should honor this accomplishment.

So congrats, Devan Bawinkel! You are quite probably the first 12 trillionaire in the history of college basketball statistics. A nation obsessed with ironic statistical minutiae salutes you.