Tom Van Arsdale Biography
Tom Van Arsdale is a former Indiana University basketball player. He graduated from Indianapolis Emmerich Manual High School and played for Indiana between 1962-1965. He was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the second round of the 1965 NBA Draft. He has an identical twin brother, Dick Van Arsdale, who played with him at Indiana and later the Phoenix Suns.
- Name: Tom Van Arsdale
- Position: Guard / Small Forward
- Nationality: USA
- Age: 80 years old
- Birthday: February 22, 1943
- Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
- High School: Indianapolis Emmerich Manual High School
- Height: 6’5″ (196 cm)
- Weight: 202 lbs (92 kg)
- Seasons: 3 (1962-1965)
- Jersey: #25
Awards and Accolades
- Co-Indiana Mr. Basketball (1961)
- All-American (1965)
- World University Games Gold Medal
- Academic All-American
- Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame (1988)
Tom Van Arsdale’s Seasons with the Hoosiers
13-11 (9-5 Big Ten)
9-15 (5-9 Big Ten)
19-5 (9-5 Big Ten)
Tom Van Arsdale’s High School Career
Both Dick and Tom grew up with a passion for basketball and played the sport growing up. They fell in love with the Hoosiers during the 1953 NCAA championship run watching the team beat Kansas.
Adolph Rupp noticed the development of both the Van Arsdale brothers and could not convince them to go to Kentucky over Indiana for school.
The two brothers were inseparable and very similar to one another. In fact, they were so similar that they both won the Indiana Mr. Basketball award in 1961. They also shared the Trester Award for Mental Attitude after the state title loss to Kokomo.
They both went to the inner-city area of Indianapolis to improve their game prior to attending Indiana University and being coached by Branch McCracken.
Tom Van Arsdale’s Indiana University Career
Both brothers enrolled at Indiana University to play under Branch McCracken which was his 22nd season as coach in 1962. Both Dick and Tom had immediate impact on the court and in nearly identical numbers to one another. Dick had 1,240 points and 719 rebounds while Tom had 1,252 points, 723 rebounds. They were forced to wear different color socks even when on the court as they could not be differentiated from one another.
The three years that they played for Indiana were the three final years for the coach. He was not able to redo his prior level of success in getting two NCAA titles for Indiana and did not make post-season play in any of the years.
Tom Van Arsdale’s Post-Collegiate Career
Both Dick and Tom were drafted into the NBA after the conclusion of the 1965 college season. For essentially the first time in their life, they went separate ways due to the draft. Dick was drafted by the New York Knickerbockers and Tom was drafted by the Detroit Pistons.
Tom played for the Pistons for only three years, but was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1966 along with his brother. He played for the Pistons, Cincinnati Royals/Kansas City-Omaha Kings, 76ers, Hawks and then played his last season with the Suns alongside his brother. Tom still holds the record for the longest duration of games without a playoff appearance which stands at 929. He is also the second highest scorer in the history of the NBA without a playoff appearance with 14,232 points.
He ended his NBA career after 12 seasons like his brother and had similar stats with 15.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, and 2.2 apg. Both him and his brother had three All-Star selections.
Contributor: Dakota Thompson