July 20, 2024


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Best Pure Shooter in College (NCAA) Basketball History – Pistol Pete Maravich of LSU Tigers

Best Pure Shooter in College (NCAA) Basketball History – Pistol Pete Maravich of LSU Tigers

Pistol Pete Maravich played his NCAA basketball at Louisiana State University (LSU) before being selected with the number three overall pick in the 1970 NBA Draft. Pistol Pete Maravich in his prime is often considered the best shooter in college basketball history.

There have been a multitude of exceptional basketball players in the relatively short history of the game and the international involvement as well as overall increase in popularity has spurred more great talents in the past twenty years than arguably the summation of all the great hoopsters that came before. While the debate over who is the best at shooting buckets will never be definitively resolved many younger fans not familiar with the body of work Pistol Pete put up are oblivious to the fact that his name clearly deserves to be in the conversation if not specifically at the top of the list of best shooters in the history of college and professional basketball. The fact that Maravich died from an untimely heart attack in 1988 at the age of 40 makes him even further removed from the youth culture that primarily consumes basketball.

Pistol Pete was born Peter Press Maravich in 1947. As the son of a former professional player turned basketball coach fundamentals were instilled in Pete from an early age. The Pennsylvania native eventually moved to South Carolina (while his father served as the head basketball coach at Clemson University) where he excelled at high school basketball and garnered the nickname Pistol for his shot release that involved pulling the ball up from his hip like a cowboy in wild west pistol shootout.

After finishing his prep career in Raleigh, North Carolina Pistol Pete joined the LSU Tigers where his father was coaching at the time. The scholarship offer Pete received to play at LSU was by no stretch of the imagination a handout from his father as Pistol quickly proved by scoring 50 points, dishing out 11 assists, and pulling down 14 rebounds in his very first game as a freshman. Over his three year college career Pistol Pete averaged an astounding 44.2 points per game during a span from 1968-1970 when he led the NCAA in scoring each of those three years.

The 6’5″ guard accomplished the majority of his scoring with outside shooting and all of those points were accumulated before the implantation of the three point line. Years later LSU head coach Dale Brown reviewed game tapes and ascertained that had a three point line been in place when Pistol Pete played Pete would have averaged an astounding 13 three pointers per game which would have boosted his average points per game from an astounding 44 per game to an unbelievable 57 points per game. In 2005 ESPNU (ESPN subsidiary that specializes in college sports) named Pistol Pete Maravich as the greatest college basketball player of all-time – almost solely based on his incredible outside shooting ability.