In addition to his 1,000 career points and record setting number of 3 point field goals made during his career, senior Ryan Kemrite is approaching a few additional records for the men’s basketball program.
A couple other school records @Rkemrite05 is chasing:
1. Single season 3pt fg% – record is 44.0%, Ryan is currently at 44.3%
2. Career 3pt fg% – record is 42.9%, Ryan is currently at 42.6%
— A Sea of Red (@ASeaofRed) February 12, 2018
This sparked a debate on the GOATs (greatest of all time) in program history. First, a disclaimer, I have been watching and following LU hoops since 2005, so I have limited eye test samples to go on.
On that note, let us talk about the definition of GOAT. There are three categories that I will be using in this ammeter algorithm to develop my top 10 Greatest of All Time. First of the grading criteria will be Statistics. We have looked at the top scorers, rebounders, and assist men in the record books. We looked at overall numbers. One could look at averages, but longevity, commitment, and consistency over a number of years were rewarded in this case. The second input was individual honors. Honors tell us how that player played against the competition he faced. Liberty has just one first team All-American, Karl Hess. Hess did not play against Division I competition, but he dominated the games in which he played, no matter who was wearing the opposite jersey. Thirdly, we looked at program impact. Generally, this can be assessed by team championships, but fanfare and other factors were considered as well. This gave us a final rubric of – 40% Statistics, 40% Honors, 20% Program Impact. Lastly, players that played against DI competition were given a 1.2 multiplier. Here is how they shake down:
10. Gabe Martin
Gabe only played two seasons with the Flames. He ranks 25th on the all-time scoring list while averaging 14 points and 7 rebounds for his career. He was a part of the 2004 Championship team in which he was named to the all-tournament team, and was two-time first team all-Big South. The honors and championship are what put Gabe in the top 10 list.
9. Julius Nwosu
Julius averaged 14 and 7 and finished 15th on the all-time scoring list. He was named first team all-conference two years in a row, and his team made the conference finals two years in a row. Julius notably had a stint in the NBA with a 17-year total pro career.
8. Matt Hildebrand
Coming in at number 11 on the all-time scoring list, Matt was the focal point on Liberty’s first DI conference championship. He was named first team all-conference in the 1994 Big South championship season. Being a part of the first teams that filled up the new Vines Center, built in 1990, along with being part of the first LU team to participate in NCAA March Madness in ’94, this is why fans identify LU greatness with Matt. He pioneered greatness at the highest level of competition.
7. Jesse Sanders
Jesse is the only player in school history to win Big South Player of the Year, doing so in 2011. He is also the only player to be honored as NCAA Division I All-American (honorable mention). He is the school’s all-time leading assist man with 726 dimes. Not only could he distribute, Jesse also finished his career averaging 9 points and 6 rebounds, placing him 16th on the scoring list and 5th on the all-time rebounding list. His versatility at greatness at every phase of the game place him 7th on the GOAT list.
6. Steve Isaacs
Steve was 2nd team All-American NAIA. He averaged 14 and 9, nearly getting a double-double every night out. He is 5th on the all-time points list. He is the only player in school history to be named All-American NAIA two seasons in a row. Steve recorded more rebounds than any player in program history.
5. Anthony Smith
Anthony, like Steve, was dominant in scoring and rebounding. He is 11th on the all-time rebounding list, and 5th on the scoring list. The reason Anthony is listed as Top 5 of all time is because of his sustained greatness. He was named freshman of the year in 2006 and conference preseason player of the year in 2009. He had 4 great seasons at LU.
4. Bailey Alston
Bailey was a scoring machine. He averaged 25.5 points a game for 3 seasons. This is the highest average of any player in school history. Conference player of the year in 1988, Alston was one of the last to light up the score board in the Schilling Center.
3. Peter Aluma
We are now in rarified air. Peter’s stats were not off the charts in his four years, averaging 14 and 5. He is 7th on the all-time scoring list. But looking at his honors, he dominated the games more than just scoring and rebounding. He is the only player in program history to be named to the Big South Hall of Fame. When it was tournament time, Aluma was brilliant. He was named Big South Tournament MVP all four years. He was part of that first DI conference championship in ’94 with Matt Hildebrand. Peter was named freshman of the year that season. He was named first team all-conference his junior and senior seasons. Again, let me repeat, tournament MVP all 4 years!
2. Karl Hess
As previously mentioned, Karl is the only player to ever be named 1st team All-American in school history. Karl is great no matter which way you view it. Statistics, he is the school’s all-time leading scorer. He is 2nd in assists. He made game winning plays all 4 years. NCCAA Tournament MVP in 1980 and first team all-American are among his greatest honors. He also was the best player on the only national championship team in school history. Karl notably is a top NCAA basketball official in the country currently.
1. Larry Blair
Larry is second on the all-time scoring list, he helped win a conference championship in 2004, and was just crazy athletic and fun to watch. He is the only player in school history to be named to the Big South first team 3 consecutive seasons. The lone season larry was not first team all-conference, was his freshman season when he was named freshman of the year and to the 2nd team all-conference while being a part of the league championship campaign in 2004. In that 2004 freshman season, Larry was not officially named tournament MVP. However, Danny Gathings of High Point, the formal recipient of the award, showed up at LU Convocation and presented the plaque to Larry. He was so brilliant in that tournament Gathings gave up his MVP to the more deserving freshman from LU. Being an undersized guard, Larry would impress with his 4 rebounds a game, and occasional highlight real dunk.
Mike Goad, Larry Jackson, Alex McLean, Ed Vickers, Cliff Webber
Most Talented but not on GOAT list due to just one season of greatness: