Why Pete Maravich’s College Scoring Record Will Never Be (Legitimately) Topped

Pete Maravich playing college basketball at LSU

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There are plenty of basketball players who’ve managed to become household names during their time in college, but it’s safe to say Antoine Davis isn’t one of them.

With that said, the Detriot Mercy guard garnered plenty of attention over the course of the 2022-23 season thanks to his quest to unseat the legendary Pete Maravich as the student-athlete who’s scored more points than anyone who’s ever played at the college level.

Maravich racked up 3,367 points during his time at LSU, and no one has really come close to surpassing that number since the man known as “Pistol Pete” capped off his final season with the Tigers in 1970 before continuing his Hall of Fame career over the course of his 11 years in the NBA.

Davis surpassed Freeman Williams to take sole possession of the second spot on the all-time scoring list earlier this year, and it looked like he had a very real chance of surpassing Maravich by the time the current campaign wrapped up.

However, he finished just short of the record mark, as Davis was still three points shy of the record when the horn blew to cap off what seemed like it would be the last game of his final year of eligibility.

The 14-19 record Detroit Mercy posted over the course of that campaign meant the Titans had no shot of earning an invite to any legitimate postseason events.

However, the program has ruffled some feathers by exploring the possibility of participating in the CBI Tournament, which is essentially a pay-for-play showcase that would serve as a very dubious vehicle to allow Davis to break the record.

Maravich’s son understandably labeled that theoretical approach “a sham” in a Facebook post this week—although I’d argue no real basketball fan would honestly recognize anyone but his dad as the legitimate record-holder when you take a closer look at the circumstances surrounding his achievement.

Why Pete Maravich will never be topped as the all-time college scoring leader

Pete Maravich at LSU

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As I alluded to above, no one had even sniffed Maravich’s 3,367 points until this season.

Aside from Davis, former Campbell University point guard Chris Clemons was the most recent player to give Pistol Pete a run for his money, but he never really came close to surpassing him before wrapping up his college career with 3.225 points (which is still good enough for fourth on the all-time list).

I’m slightly hesitant to slap the “unbreakable” label on Maravich’s record based on what transpired after the folks who built the Titanic referred to the ship as “unsinkable.” With that said, when you look at the manner in which he racked up that number, it’s very easy to make that case.

Maravich technically played for four seasons at LSU, but freshmen were barred from playing varsity when he enrolled at the school and those statistics don’t count toward his total (he’d have 4,195 if you included the points he put up in his first year).

As a result, he managed to achieve what he did over the course of three seasons where he played a total of 83 games and averaged a staggering 44.2 points in each one (I don’t want to minimize what Davis has done, but he had the luxury of playing five seasons where he participated in a total of 144 contests, which amounts to a relatively paltry 25.4 PPG).

That’s impressive enough on its own, but it’s even wilder when you consider Maravich wasn’t able to take advantage of the three-point line, which wasn’t introduced to college basketball until more than 15 years after he played his last game for the Tigers.

You could argue the advent of the NIL Era has technically given some players a bit more incentive to stay in college as opposed to making the leap to the NBA, but it’s also very unlikely anyone who possesses a level of talent that would allow them to do what Maravich did in a similar span would stick around at the college level long enough to surpass him.

You could also argue Maravich wouldn’t have stayed at LSU for four years if the current basketball ecosystem had existed while he was playing, but…he did, so that would be a patently absurd hill to die on.

Is there a chance the planets will all align at some point and a serious contender emerges? Sure, but if there was some way to bet on something never happening, I’d feel pretty good throwing down some money on Pete Maravich remaining the college basketball scoring king until the end of time.

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Connor Toole is the Deputy Editor at BroBible. He is a New England native who went to Boston College and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. Frequently described as "freakishly tall," he once used his 6'10" frame to sneak in the NBA Draft and convince people he was a member of the Utah Jazz.