When the final buzzer sounded Feb. 29 in the Atlantic Sun Tournament the basketball career of Jacob Arnett also ended.
But even though Arnett will no longer wear a Lipscomb uniform he will still be on campus as he enters the College of Pharmacy.
Basketball paid Arnett’s way through college, but for him it was all about the education. He is majoring in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. He will receive his B.S. degree this May.
“Jacob is an awesome student athlete,” Biology professor Jon Lowrance said. “In the classroom as on the court, Jacob has always been prepared to do his best.”
Arnett still has a fifth year of eligibility remaining in basketball, but he has decided it is time to move on and concentrate on his career. He has been a major contributor to the basketball team who was known primarily for his versatility.
Despite the loss to Mercer in the first round of the A-Sun Tournament in Macon, Ga., Arnett finished on a strong note scoring 11 points.
“Every year he got a little bit better,” Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson said. “Every year his numbers have gotten better.
“The unfortunate thing is we had to play him like a utility infielder in baseball. We played him at the point, at the No. 2 guard and the No. 3 and No.4 forward spots. You have to have those kinds of guys who are that versatile. The only spot he didn’t play both offensively and defensively was center.”
Known primarily as a shooter in high school he embraced the opportunity to be a point guard in order to increase his playing time.
“In high school all I ever did was shoot,” Arnett said. “In college that is not what I was called on to do. As a point guard I had to learn how to set other people up.
“Josh Slater, Jordan Burgason and Adnan Hodzic were always going to play. I had to find a position that was going to be open where I could get some time. At point guard you have to know every position.”
Arnett quickly discovered that balancing basketball with challenging academic courses and the associated labs was going to be a grind.
“One thing I was hesitant about early on was if I would be able to balance basketball with classes,” Arnett said. “Those classes were demanding on my time. It was a learning experience for me early.
“I didn’t study a whole lot in high school. Learning how to study and then balancing the time that you have to put into basketball was a big challenge.”
Arnett admits that he often asked himself how he was going to get everything done.
“I have my goals about where I want to be and what I want to do,” Arnett said. “I have a lot of internal drive.”
Arnett studied wherever and whenever he could. He spent a summer completing his Organic Chemistry requirements. The class periods were lengthy and he often struggled to find the time to play pick-up basketball games and go through offseason workouts.
During the season labs often conflicted with practice. Sometimes Arnett did not have enough extra time to spend to work on his basketball skills.
“A lot of times I didn’t get to stay after practice and shoot because I had to do homework,” Arnett said. “I had to get it in sometime.
“I liked the bus trips because I could get a lot of studying done. For five hours you had no distractions and could get a lot done. I had some noise-cancelling headphones.”
Arnett credited his teachers with being understanding of his time away from the classroom during the season. He added that his professors did a great job of providing him with device.
When Sanderson talks about his players who have fully understood what it means to be a student-athlete Arnett will be one he can point to with pride.
“He represents himself, his parents, this university and this basketball team in a great way in all aspects of life, both academically, athletically and socially,” Sanderson said. “He is a very intelligent student-athlete.
“He is a hard worker on the floor. He is a hard worker in the classroom. People that work hard usually get rewarded for it.”