Maravich scoring record deservedly stands
Records are made to be broken.
Yes, there are some which are very difficult to reach and attain.
In baseball, Joe Dimaggio’s 56-game hit streak, a record which has stood the test of time since 1941, remains a standard in that sport while Cal Ripken’s streak of playing in 2,362 games is as close to unreachable as one can possibly imagine.
In football, the Miami Dolphins posted a perfect 17-0 season in 1972, culminating with a Super Bowl victory. Now 51 years of age, that record still stands and remains very hard to break. Another incredible mark is that of George Blanda, who played 26 seasons in the NFL.
In the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers won 33 straight games during the 1971-72 season. It is hard to fathom any team achieving that mark moving forward. Also virtually unbreakable is the mark established by Wilt Chamberlain when he scored 100 points in a single game for the Philadelphia Warriors on Nov. 2, 1962.
In college basketball, UCLA won 88 straight games between 1971-74 and that record is still intact and has not been threatened in 49 years. Then, there is Frank Selvy, who scored 100 points in a game for Furman against Newberry in 1954.
Then, there is the case of the all-time scoring leader in college basketball history.
Pete Maravich played three seasons at LSU from 1967-70.
Freshmen were not allowed to play on the varsity in his time. There was also no 3-point line then and Pistol Pete was a deadly long-range shooter. Still, Maravich put up incredibly gaudy numbers, scoring 3,667 points in his three seasons with the Tigers, averaging an amazing 44.2 points per game. Maravich shot 43.8 percent from the field. Maravich played in 83 games.
In those three seasons, LSU, which had little or no commitment to basketball or any other sport outside of football at the time, posted a record of 49-35. There were no losing seasons. The Tigers went to the NIT in 1970 when they were 22-10, including 13-5 and a second-place finish in the SEC. Maravich led LSU to the semifinals of the event, beating Georgetown and Oklahoma before falling to Marquette.
Maravich made basketball relevant at LSU and in Louisiana. Dale Brown would follow and take it to the next level. The Maravich Assembly Center resulted. It is a legacy, the house that Pete built, on the LSU campus.
The Pistol carried the torch and franchise when the New Orleans Jazz came into fruition, thrilling crowds with his immense, before their time skills and showtime style of play. Attendance records were set, despite the Jazz never being a good team or well-run franchise. Pete brought life to the sport in our football-crazed state.
Given the rules allowing college players to depart prior to completing their eligibility for professional basketball, very few outstanding players will play three or four years anymore, making the record of Maravich very difficult to surpass.
It nearly happened this year in a situation where there are similarities and ties that bind.
Maravich played for his father, Press Maravich, at LSU and clearly had the green light to shoot from anywhere, anytime.
Antoine Davis played for his father, Mike, at Detroit Mercy and clearly had the green light to shoot from anywhere, anytime.
Davis played five seasons at Detroit Mercy from 2018-23. Davis earned an extra season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Davis finished his outstanding career with 3,664 points, just three shy of breaking the record of Maravich.
In 144 games, Davis averaged 25.4 points in his five seasons. Davis made 588 shots from 3-point range. Davis shot 40.8 percent from the field.
Detroit Mercy finished its 2022-23 season 14-19. The Titans were 14-16 in the 2021-22 season. In five seasons with Davis, the Titans enjoyed one winning season, posting a 59-88 record.
Davis and Detroit Mercy were essentially asking for mercy, lobbying for a spot in the College Basketball Invitational postseason tournament to allow an excellent player a chance to break the Maravich record.
Alas, that invitation did not come.
With all due respect to Davis, who had a truly remarkable career, it was the right move by the CBI.
No team with a losing record, with the exception of those who win conference tournaments and earn automatic bids to the NCAA tournament, should be extended the privilege of playing in the postseason. The NIT, which requires that you cannot have a losing record, was not an option.
Of course, over the course of many years, a few teams with sub-standard records have played in the various iterations of bloated postseason tournaments but those have typically been from the major conferences and those with huge brands, name recognition and with the ability to host a game or games and draw big crowds, thus generating revenue.
Davis, understandably, is disappointed, upset about not having a chance to play another game which would most certainly allow him to break the record.
That Detroit Mercy did not get an invitation to play in any event is a bit revealing, given the NIT and the CBI events. A total of 112 Division I teams started the postseason in the three events, which includes the NCAA Tournament. Incidentally, the Titans, despite having a losing record, played in The Basketball Classic, a postseason event last year with Davis scoring 24 points in a loss.
“I’m upset about it,” Davis said to the Associated Press. “I feel like I got cheated out of something that they can’t ever give back to me. I think it’s selfish—and weird—that people e-mailed or called the CBI to say we shouldn’t be in the tournament because they didn’t want me to break the record.”
It is easy to understand the emotions of Davis.
It is not easy to understand his rationale.
No one was cheated here.
Had Davis been allowed to play in the postseason, some, if not many, would have argued that the Maravich record was cheated.
To be clear, you have to pay to play in the CBI event which carries a price tag of $27,500.
Davis has much to be proud of and his legacy is clear.
He scored in double figures in 144 consecutive games, an NCAA record. The 588 made 3-pointers is another NCAA record. He was an outstanding college basketball player.
Rob Anderson, who serves as Sports Information Director at Creighton, did a solid job of putting what Maravich accomplished in perspective.
Can we put Pistol Pete Maravich's NCAA scoring record in perspective?
He scored 3,667 points in 83 games over 3 years.
If you took the nation's top 83 single-game scoring performances in the last 3 years (2020-21, 2021-22 & 2022-23), you'd have a combined 3,465 total points. pic.twitter.com/x6siCuyiJb
— Rob Anderson (@_robanderson) March 3, 2023
In the latter years of a life which ended way too young due to an abnormal heart condition, Maravich had a change of heart in his life and became a kind, gentle, giving soul devoted to his faith.
That version of Pistol Pete, whom we came to know and who spoke at the first-ever Jefferson Parish Prayer Breakfast, would have cheered Davis on, displaying true mercy and honor on the player from Detroit Mercy. I have no doubt that would have occurred.
The human condition of many not wanting Davis to break the Maravich record certainly exists. Of course, LSU fans and those in Louisiana and beyond strongly prefer for Pistol Pete to remain the standard. Others may feel differently and I respect all points of view. I have no doubt that some lobbied the CBI not to invite Detroit Mercy to protect the Maravich record. There is bias in all forms of life.
For the record, there is no bias in not extending an invitation to a team five games below .500. That actually speaks to the CBI having integrity in honoring more deserving teams who enjoyed successful seasons.
In this case, the numbers tell a substantive story.
The record speaks for itself. The record stands.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…