A Blessing and a Burden: Why Scoring 100 Points in a Basketball Game Is Such a Controversial Achievement

The debate over one of the hardwood’s rarest feats divides the sports world like the most heated rivalries.

Not Available Lead
Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

Not Available Lead

Dajuan Wagner didn’t want to come out of the game.

It didn’t matter that Camden High School (N.J.)—ranked third in the nation by USA Today at the time—was leading Gloucester Township Technical High School (N.J.) by 84 points on Jan. 16, 2001. Or that the Panthers’ head coach, Glen Jackson, was looking to let one of Wagner’s oft-neglected backups get some garbage time. Or, maybe most important, that Wagner had just handed the game ball to his mother, Lisa Paulk, after recording his 100th point of the game, making him the first boys’ basketball player in more than two decades to reach the 100-point mark. There were still three-and-a-half minutes remaining in the contest, and Wagner—who was widely regarded as the best boys’ basketball player in the country that season—was hot, having hit 10 three-pointers. So, he didn’t want to take a seat just yet and pleaded with Jackson to let him play until the final buzzer, even though the coach had been hesitant to let Wagner try for 100 in the first place.

“He didn’t go for it,” Wagner says today, laughing in between training sessions at his Adrenaline Sports Performance gym in Cherry Hill, N.J. “There were four minutes left in the game when I got 100, so I was trying to get him to let me go for 120. But he shut me down. I still talk trash to him about that today.”

In hindsight, it was the right move for the coach to make. Shortly after Camden won the game 157-67, local and national sports columnists jumped all over Jackson for allowing Wagner to play for as long as he did. Jackson attempted to rationalize his decision by telling the Courier-Post that he “couldn’t refuse” Wagner’s request to reach triple digits in light of “all he has done for our program.”

“He never asked for anything,” Jackson told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2012. “He said, ‘Can I do it?’ For all he had done, I felt he earned that.”

Latest in Sports