The greatest of all time. It’s always a subject of much debate regardless of the subject. Who is the greatest Liberty men’s basketball player of all time? Let’s attempt to answer that question.
When looking through the Liberty scoring record annals, one name continually pops up – Bailey Alston. Alston holds records for single game scoring (46), Division I season scoring (714), season scoring average (27.0), and career average (25.5). Bailey currently sits at #3 all-time in scoring at Liberty with 2,115. Consider that Alston only played 3 seasons on Liberty mountain after transferring from Rutgers and this is even more impressive. Bailey had three 40 point games during his Liberty career, and led the team in scoring all 3 of his seasons. He played from 1987-1990, and helped Liberty transition from Division II to Division I. The biggest negative on Alston’s G.O.A.T. status – his 34-49 career record as a Flame with no postseason success.
The program’s best post-player, Peter Aluma, could also be considered the G.O.A.T. Aluma played on arguably the best 4 year stretch in program history from 1993-1997. During his 4 years as a Flame, Aluma helped guide Liberty to a 70-49 overall record, 39-23 Big South mark, and 8-4 postseason record. He was part of Liberty’s first ever Big South Tournament Champion team who made the program’s first ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 1994. Aluma currently ranks at #7 in the all-time scoring list with 1,715 points. He holds Liberty records in blocked shots in a game (8), blocked shots in a season (113), blocked shots in a career (366), and free throws made in Liberty’s Division I era with 451. Aluma appeared in 3 Big South Tournament championship games while bringing home the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award twice. He was also named to the Big South All-Conference squad his final 3 seasons. He led Liberty in scoring in his final 3 years, rebounding in 2 seasons, and in blocks all 4 of his years.
Blair is the most noteworthy Liberty player since the turn of the century. He is #2 on Liberty’s all-time scoring list and is the leading scorer amongst all Division I Flames with 2,211 career points. Blair also holds the record for most 3-pointers made in a career with 227. Blair was part of the 2004 Big South champion team which led the Flames to its 2nd NCAA Tournament appearance. While a member of the Flames from 2003-2007, Larry helped guide the team to a Big South record of 34-28, but after the 2004 championship run he was unable to lead Liberty to another Big South Tournament victory. Blair also holds the Division I Liberty marks for career field goals made and career steals. In addition to his prolific scoring, Blair also was the team’s leading assist man during 2 of his 4 seasons.
Before Hess made his mark as a NCAA referee, he wrote the Liberty basketball record book. While playing from 1976-1980, Hess set the standard in many notable categories. He still holds the top marks in career scoring (2,373), season scoring (972), season scoring average (27.0), career field goals made (951), career free throws made (471), and career free throw percentage (89.9%). Hess is also 2nd in career assists (684), a mark that was just passed in 2012 by Jesse Sanders. During his time as a Flame, Hess was a 4 year starter, and led Liberty to the 1980 NCCAA National Championship. At 28-11, 1980 was the only season Hess and Liberty had a winning record during his 4 years. His other 3 seasons the Flames combined to go 27-60.
Any one of the four mentioned above could stake their claim to Liberty’s G.O.A.T. I would have to give the nod to Peter Aluma. Aluma played on some of the best team’s in Liberty’s history from 1993-1997. He was named Big South Tournament MOP twice. He was clearly a difference maker, and one that Liberty built its team around in the mid-90s.
Who do you think is the G.O.A.T.? Did we miss someone?