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  • Bill Chastain

Fifty points? Now let’s see you do it every night.

Mo Williams knocked down 52 points for the NBA’s Timberwolves on Tuesday night. Impressive, no doubt, but try doing that just about every night.

Williams’ feat sent me back to my childhood in the late ’60s when I would fiddle with the radio hoping to pick up a signal from Baton Rouge so I could listen to Pistol Pete pour in the points.

Pete Maravich at LSU Pete Maravich at LSU

No, cable was not around back when Pete Maravich set the college basketball world ablaze, averaging 43.8 points in 1968, 44.2 in 1969, and 44.5 in 1970.

Obviously, we’re not talking NBA here. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe the Southeastern Conference allowed black athletes back then. But averaging over 40 points per game for three consecutive seasons was astounding, even if his father, Press Maravich, was LSU’s coach and encouraged his son to be a gunner.

Maravich finished his college career with 3,667 points, which remains the NCAA career scoring mark. Pretty impressive when you consider that freshmen were not eligible for play, so he achieved his mark in just three seasons. On top of that, he scored over 40 points per night without the benefit of a three-point shot.

Many of Maravich’s jump shots rained from well past the three-point arc. One can only imagine how many points “Pistol Pete” would have scored had the three-point shot been a part of the game.

Many remember Maravich only for his college prowess and some believe what he accomplished was some kind of fluke. But consider some of the things Julius Erving had to say about Maravich in Dr. J., The Autobiography.

Erving played with the Atlanta Hawks during the 1972 preseason. Writing about that period, he came off as surprised and captivated with everything about Maravich, noting: “…when you’re playing with Pete, you realize that not only does he ahve all of the Globetrotter moves–crossover dribble, snap pass, no-look stuff–but he can do them at unimaginable speeds.”

After many such comments, Erving summed up his view on Maravich: “Pete Maravich is the most skilled basketball player I’ve ever seen.”

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©2020 by Bill Chastain. Photo credits: Jill Doty Photography