It’s the beginning of April, which means the end of March Madness and college basketball as a whole. While the Flames may be in the off-season, it’s not too late for a Liberty bracket competition.
Introducing, ASOR GOAT madness! In this single-elimination bracket challenge, we’ve matched up sixteen of the greatest Liberty Basketball players of all-time. Fans will be able to vote on each matchup on our social media pages and ultimately decide who is Liberty Basketball’s GOAT! Voting will begin on Wednesday and votes will be tallied from our Twitter account as well as our Instagram and Facebook stories.
In order to get you prepared to vote, here’s a preview of all of our first-round matchups.
#1 Darius McGhee vs #16 Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz
Where do we even begin with Darius? The all-time leading scorer in program history won three ASUN Player of the Year awards becoming the only Flame to three division one conference player of the year honors. McGhee is also the ASUN conference’s all-time scorer and three-point leader, along with being Liberty’s all-time three-point leader. McGhee became only the second player in program history to be named an honorable mention All-American this past season and tied Steph Curry for the most three-pointers made in an NCAA DI single season with 162. McGhee is Liberty’s most winningest player and also won three ASUN Championships and an ASUN tournament MVP while on the Mountain. McGhee also played in two NCAA tournaments with the Flames and scored a team-high 15 points against Virginia Tech as a true freshman in Liberty’s only round of 32 appearance in 2019.
While his opponent now holds onto the honor, Pacheco-Ortiz finished his career at Liberty as the winningest player in program history. Pacheco-Ortiz ranks top-15 in all-time assists at Liberty and is top-20 in scoring, as well as top-50 in all-time rebounds. The four-year starter helped guide Liberty to two ASUN Championships and helped Liberty gain its first win in the NCAA Tournament over Mississippi State in 2019. Pacheco-Ortiz will most be remembered for his clutch shot in the 2019 ASUN Championship that helped seal a conference title and Liberty’s bid to the NCAA tournament that season.
#9 Julius Nwosu vs #8 Scottie James
Nwosu is one of the best big men to ever play for the Flames. Nwosu is 19th on the all-time scoring list and is 11th in career rebounds. Nwosu was named to the Big South Conference first team twice and was also a member of the VaSID all-state second team. Nwosu also saw some time in the NBA, playing in 23 games for the San Antonio Spurs during the 1994-95 season.
After transferring from Bradley, James had a phenomenal three-year career at Liberty. James Liberty’s Division I all-time rebound leader and ranks 17th on the all-time scoring list. James was a part of two ASUN Championship teams while winning the 2019 ASUN tournament MVP. James was also a part of Liberty’s first NCAA tournament win and was named first-team all-ASUN twice while also being named second-team all-Big South once.
#5 Bailey Alston vs #12 Lovell Cabbil
Alston is one of the greatest scorers in program history, currently ranking fourth on Liberty’s all-time scoring list. A key part of the program’s transition from the Division II to Division I, Alston was named the Mason Dixon Player of the Year when Liberty was Division II. Alsoton was also named to the VaSID all-state first team while averaging 23.9 points and 25.5 points per game in his final two seasons.
One of the most underrated players in Liberty history, Cabbil was the first recruit that Coach McKay brought in to begin his second tenure. Cabbil is currently ranked in the top 20 on the school’s all-time rebound list and is No. 14 in scoring and No. 9 in assists. Cabbil also was named to conference all-tournament teams twice and was a member of the 2019 team that won the ASUN Championship and defeated Mississippi State in the NCAA Tournament. Cabbil shined in the Big Dance, scoring 18 points and dishing out five assists in the Flames historic win.
#13 Steve Isaacs vs #4 Larry Blair
Isaacs was one of the best players in the time before the program moved to the Division I level. Twice named an All-American at the NAIA level, he remains the program leader with 1,130 career rebounds and is one of only three players to ever eclipse 1,000 career boards. Isaacs also ranks No. 6 on the all-time scoring list with 1,777 points.
Blair is second to only Darius McGhee on the Division I all-time scoring list and is third all-time. Blair won the Big South freshman of the year award and would earn a spot on the first or second-team all-conference in all four seasons on the court for Liberty, making the first team on three occasions. Blair was also named VaSID first-team all-state once and VaSID second-team all-state once. Blair also led the Flames to a Big South Championship and an NCAA Tournament bid during the 2004 season.
#3 Peter Aluma vs #14 Seth Curry
Aluma was a dominant force for the Flames during his time on the Mountain. He currently ranks No. 7 on the career scoring list and No. 9 in rebounding. He’s the only Flame to be named to a conference all-tournament team in three different seasons, while also being named first-team all-conference in the Big South twice and to the second-team once. Aluma is also the only player in program history to be named conference tournament MVP multiple times and was named to first-team VaSID all-state multiple times. Aluma was a key player on the 1994 Big South Championship and NCAA Tournament team.
Seth Curry is debatably the most talented player to ever put on a Liberty uniform but only played one season for the Flames before transferring to Duke. His lone season was a memorable one, however, as Curry was named VaSID Rookie of the Year, Big South Freshman of the Year, and the Big South’s second-team all-conference as he scored 20.2 points per game, leading Liberty to a 23-12 record. Curry also made 102 three-pointers his freshman season, which is good for third most in a single season in program history.
#11 Matt Hildebrand vs #6 Karl Hess
Hildebrand was part of the first NCAA Tournament team in school history as the Flames won the Big South in 1994 when he was named first-team all-conference. Hildebrand currently ranks No. 3 on Liberty’s all-time assist list and No. 12 in scoring. He’s also in the top 40 on the rebound list.
Hess was one of the first stars on Liberty’s campus, as he helped lead the team to the NCCAA National Championship in 1980 while he was named a first-team All-American at the level and the NCCAA Tournament MVP. Hess is second on Liberty’s all-time scoring list with 2,373 career points and also ranks No. 2 on the program’s all-time assist list.
#7 Jesse Sanders vs #10 Anthony Smith
Sanders was the first Flame to be named conference player of the year at the Division I level and became the first player in NCAA history to record at least one triple-double in four separate NCAA Division I seasons. Sanders is the all-time program leader in assists and is second in rebounds at the Division I level. Sanders was named to the Big South’s first-team all-conference team twice and VaSID all-state second-team twice as well.
Smith was the first Liberty player to be named preseason conference player of the year when he earned the distinction for the Big South prior to his senior campaign. He would finish that season making first-team all-conference. Smith currently ranks No. 6 on the school’s all-time scoring list and is No. 15 on the all-time rebound list. He also ranks in the top 30 in career assists.
#15 Elijah Cuffee vs #2 Caleb Homesley
Cuffee is arguably the greatest perimeter defender in program history. Cuffee was named the ASUN defensive player of the year in 2021, becoming the first player in program history to win a defensive player of the year award. Cuffee became the first Flame to ever play in four conference championship games (winning three) as the guard never missed a conference championship while on the Mountain. Cuffee helped lead the Flames to their second-straight NCAA tournament in 2021, scoring 16 points in his final game at Liberty while holding future number one overall pick Cade Cunningham to 3-14 shooting from the field.
Homesley starred on the best teams in Liberty basketball history and is currently ranked No. 12 on the school’s career scoring list, No. 8 in career rebounds, and No. 15 in career assists. He carried Liberty to its first and only NCAA Tournament win over Mississippi State in 2019 with 30 points. Homesley’s list of achievements include being named ASUN Player of the Year, ASUN Tournament MVP, to the ASUN all-tournament team twice, the ASUN first-team twice, the VaSID first-team in 2020, and a Lou Henson and Lute Olson All-American in 2020.