By MICHAEL LETENDRE
Anybody who watched Tyler Arbuckle over the years, the former scholastic basketball standout from Bristol, knew the athlete had the skill set to play at the next level.
And after spending time at Bristol Eastern, St. Paul Catholic, and then at the Taft School, the NCAA offers started to come Arbuckle’s way. This past week, he made his decision official about where he was going to be taking his talents.
And that decision was to play for the men’s basketball team at St. Anselm’s College.
“I would like to thank everybody who has supported me and has been part of this journal,” said Arbuckle via Twitter. “I could definitely say there has been more people who have doubted me than have supported me and that has always been what has driven me to get to this point. With that being said, this is only the start and I have much bigger goals and aspirations that I’m looking forward to accomplishing. After talking with my family and those close to me, I have decided that I will further my academic and athletic career at Saint Anselm College this upcoming fall.”
St. Anselm College is nestled on the quiet side of the Merrimack River in Manchester, N.H. – a city in the Southern part of the state.
This winter, the men’s basketball program is having another banner season.
The Hawks (22-5) earned a berth in the NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament this past week and hosted a first round game against Molloy.
St. A’s plays in the outstanding Northeast10 conference with the men’s basketball programs split into two divisions.
The Hawks make up part of the Northeast Division that includes Merrimack, Bentley, Franklin, Pierce, Assumption, Saint Michael’s, and rival Southern New Hampshire University – on the opposite side of the Merrimack River.
St. Anselm’s and SNHU have been rivals for years and Arbuckle will be part of that grand tradition.
And in games against the Southwest Division, it will provide local fans a chance to see Arbuckle play within the state of Connecticut.
The University of New Haven should be hosting the Hawks next season. This past year, St. A’s traveled to Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven – winning the showdown 113-99.
St. Anselm’s won the Northeast Division this past season, going 18-3.
The roster has players from several different states, two other countries, and consists of one player from Connecticut this year – junior Brenden Vessichio of Berlin.
Arbuckle, a 6-foot-3 guard/forward, ended up scoring 951 points on the scholastic level in Bristol as the knee injury at Bristol Eastern and the Bristol city transfer rules – which cost him 10 games during his junior campaign – just saw the sharpshooter miss out at scoring 1,000 points.
But he’s right up there with the likes of Todd Ziogas, David Nye, and Terry Burke outstanding players from the Mum City who just missed out on the 1,000-point scoring plateau.
Arbuckle started off at Bristol Eastern and made an impact against Bunnell in the first round of the Class L playoffs in 2015.
He scored a season-high 10 points and grabbed three rebounds as Eastern nearly upset soon-to-be state champions Bunnell but fell 61-55 back on March 10, 2015.
That was the last time the Lancers qualified for state tournament play.
And as a sophomore, the forward was averaging 18.6 points-per-game before a knee injury knocked him out for the season.
He transferred to St. Paul Catholic as a junior, pumping in over 19 points-per-game, and helping the Falcons go 17-7 in 2016-17.
And one year later, Arbuckle was in the top-five in Naugatuck Valley League scoring.
In all, he posted 540 points as a senior for an average of 23.5 points-per-game.
He also added about seven rebounds-per-game and was a consistent threat from long range.
As a senior, he was named to the All-NVL Team and then this past year, he continued to perfect his craft at the Taft School in Watertown.
In his first contest against Canterbury, he dropped in 24 points, eight rebounds, and two assists.
In the Rhinos’ first win of the season on Dec. 14, Arbuckle notched 18 points and seven rebounds as the squad defeated Greenough 50-48.
At the end of the season, Arbuckle earned the Founders’ League Award.
Arbuckle certainly has the ability to excel on the NCAA Division II level at the shooting guard position.
He’s a versatile athlete with unlimited shooting range and Arbuckle won’t have any trouble getting off three-pointers at the collegiate level.
Plus, he’s a lefty that can finish at the hoop and should grow with the St. Anselm program over the years.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Michael Letendre, email him at MLetendre@BristolObserver.com.