Leimeister reaches 1,000 points with impressive junior and senior seasonsBy Tim Stried
February 22, 2003
|Senior Mike Leimeister scored the 1,000th point of his career in Saturday's game against
Bluffton College senior Mike Leimeister didn't arrive on campus and instantly find a spot among the leading scorers on the varsity basketball team. In fact, he didn't find himself on the varsity basketball team at all.
Perhaps that is what makes the fact that on Saturday afternoon he scored his 1000th career point so special.
As a freshman and sophomore Leimeister was a leading scorer on the junior varsity squad, but saw action in just three varsity games and scored a total of just two points. As a junior, though, he burst onto the scene with a 17.3 points per game average and a spot on the All-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference first team.
His total of 450 points last year as a junior was enough to spark the question of whether or not the 1,000 point club might be adding a member this season, but Leimeister would need to not just duplicate his scoring average as a senior-he would need to improve on it to the tune of 21.9 points per game in a 25-game schedule.
And as the 2002-03 season got underway it was clear that averaging almost 22 points per game wouldn't be a problem for the Collins, Ohio native from Edison H.S. Through the first 12 games this season Leimeister averaged 24.7 points per game, which ranked among the top-10 scoring averages in the country. His average stood at 22.3 points per game going into the game Saturday against Thomas More, which is tops in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference and good enough to produce 1,000 career points.
Leimeister is the 22nd player in the history of Bluffton basketball to score 1,000 or more points, but what makes Mike's case so special is that his combined total of two points as a freshman and a sophomore is the smallest point total of any of the other 21 players in the 1,000 point club. Before Leimeister hit the 1K mark Saturday, the player in the 1,000 point club to score the fewest amount of points as a freshman and sophomore was Jamie Yount, who scored 94 points those two seasons but went on to end his career with 1,054.
Leimeister already holds two Bluffton single-game records and ranks high on the list of several single-season and career records. His 14-for-15 shooting performance against Defiance in Founders Hall on Feb. 13, 2002 is the BC record for shooting percentage in a game at .933, and the 20 free throws that he made against Defiance at home on Jan. 22, 2003 is also a BC record. In that game, which was a 97-93 win over the Yellow Jackets, Leimeister scored a career-high 42 points, which is tied for the fourth-highest single-game scoring output in BC history.
Leimeister scored 30 or more points in a game six times as a junior and has done it five times so far as a senior for a total of 11, which is third on the list of career 30-point games. His career field goal percentage of .558 is the fourth-best in BC history.
And Leimeister can do more than just score. His 8.5 rebounds per game ranks second in the Heartland Conference this season. For his career, he has totaled 360 rebounds (6.9 rpg), 54 steals, 51 assists and 14 blocked shots.
But however impressive his statistics are, Leimeister's most impressive accomplishment could be yet to come. Should he help lead the Beavers to a first round HCAC tournament victory at Anderson University Tuesday night, there is no doubt that he'd list that win among his proudest accomplishments while wearing the royal purple and white for Bluffton College.
We'll be watching.