Carnage ensues. Even in the cramped shooting cages with basketballs intended for child-size hands, Aronhalt doubles up his opponent with ease. Ten in a row. Eleven. Twelve. The machine spits out prize tickets. “Here, I’ll bank every shot,” he says, before firing from his hip and reeling off 18 more.
Aronhalt will be in College Park for just a short time before riding into the sunset. But the 23-year-old graduate student won’t be getting any reward, save a possible NCAA tournament berth that as of now is a long shot. Nor does he desire any treasure from Maryland except an education and a gateway into the real world.
“He’s kind of a role model in that way, that there’s more to life besides basketball,” Coach Mark Turgeon said. “He leads in a very quiet way, usually isolated by himself, but I think they see how serious he takes it.”
The transfer from the University at Albany — where he spent his first four collegiate seasons — is enjoying this final lap. On a team brimming with youthful talent and the immaturity that goes along with it, Aronhalt adds a refreshing sense of perspective and experience. It’s why two reporters, including the one he’s humiliating at Dave & Buster’s, have affectionately begun calling him Old Man Basketball, a nickname Aronhalt will wear with pride.
“As long as it’s old and wise,” he says.
A ‘roly-poly kid’
Scott Aronhalt recently concluded his 23rd season coaching the varsity boys’ basketball team at Ohio’s Zanesville High School, the alma mater of the greatest dunker Scott ever saw – his youngest son.
In his father’s words a “roly-poly kid with butterball cheeks we called Bear,” Logan tagged along from an early age, meandering in the gym’s corner while Scott coached. But one afternoon, before a particularly subpar Zanesville varsity team began its sectional playoffs, an eighth-grade Logan marched into the gym and declared he had first dunked earlier that day. After Scott resumed practice, the team heard a thunderous metallic thump. True to his word, Logan had dunked again.
“It was the worst thing that happened,” Scott joked. “I told my assistant coaches, ‘We need to be playing him instead of some of these clowns we’ve got.’ It was entertaining. It wouldn’t have made any difference, we were so bad that year.”
They got better, largely thanks to Logan, who started every game for four years and led the Blue Devils to three straight regional playoff appearances. When he committed to Albany, Scott told the coach the Great Danes had gotten a steal. But a broken foot cost Aronhalt his freshman season. For three years he played with regular pain and still topped 1,000 career points. On separate occasions, he has suffered a herniated disk, a shoddy patellar tendon, a stress fracture in his foot and, in his big toe and shoulder, arthritis. Yes, Old Man Basketball had arthritis.