With the announcement of Evan Maxwell and Hansel Atencia transferring, there are certainly many questions to be answered. The Flames, who had 9 scholarship players last season prior to awarding scholarships to walk-ons, now return just 6 of those original 9 scholarship players.
Atencia transferring doesn’t come as a surprise. He played in just 19 games, and played a grand total of 5 minutes in Liberty’s final 17 games. By the end of the season, he found himself near the bottom of the pecking order when it came to McKay’s guards. Add in the competition of lead guards Xzavier Barmore and Georgie Pacheco entering the fray next season, and the writing was on the wall for the 5’10” point guard from Colombia.
The Maxwell news is more alarming. He was Liberty’s lone post presence and finished the season 2nd on the team in scoring and rebounding. He even set a school Division I record for field goal percentage as he finished the year shooting 63.7% from the field. As the season progressed though, his contributions diminished. The 6’10” center scored in double figures in 12 of his first 15 games in 2015-16, but had just 4 such performances in the season’s final 17 games. The only 2 games he didn’t start all season were the final 2 games of the year. In fact, he failed to reach double figure minutes played in the season’s last 2 games, the only occasions that happened in the 32 game season.
Maxwell set a LU DI record for single-season field goal pct
So, where do the Flames go now? The 6 returners are Lovell Cabbil, John Dawson, Caleb Homesley, Ryan Kemrite, AC Reid, and Ezra Talbert. Added to them will be signees Barmore, Brock Gardner, Josiah Talbert, Brody Hicks, and Hayden Koval. Add in Myo Baxter-Bell, who was academically ineligible this past season, and recent commit Georgie Pacheco, and Liberty is up to the full allotment of 13 scholarships for 2016-17. Hicks and Koval were originally brought on as preferred walk-ons, so the coaching staff could very well add 2 additional pieces during the spring signing period.