21.10.19

The Ghosts of College Basketball Past | Pistol Pete Terrorizes Everyone

After sitting out his freshman year at LSU due to NCAA rules that prohibited freshmen from playing varsity basketball, “Pistol” Pete Maravich spent the next three years terrorizing foes both in and out of the Southeastern Conference.  

As a sophomore during the 1967-1968 season, the 6-5 Maravich averaged 43.8 points per game for LSU. The following year, he jumped to 44.2 points per contest before upping that average to 44.5 as a senior for a Tigers squad coached by his father, Press Maravich. 

Just how torturous was Maravich to rivals? On Feb. 7, 1970, Maravich torched Alabama for 69 points, including 47 in the second half. Two weeks later, the Pistol dropped a cool 64 on a Kentucky team that spent the entire season ranked among the nation’s top three. 

Maravich did it all without a three-point line and without a shot clock while facing packed-in zone defenses completely, unapologetically focused on him as well as double and triple teams explicitly designed to silence his firepower.  

“The LSU offense,” Sports Illustrated’s Curry Kirkpatrick noted in 1968, “is Pete Maravich with the ball.” 

And as long as Maravich had the ball, it was a frightful sight for defenses.