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Liberty Basketball: Pursuit of one last championship banner to end ASUN era

LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA - JANUARY 27: The Liberty Flames logo on the floor before a college basketball game against the North Alabama Lions at the Liberty Arena on January 27, 2022 in Lynchburg, Virginia. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA - JANUARY 27: The Liberty Flames logo on the floor before a college basketball game against the North Alabama Lions at the Liberty Arena on January 27, 2022 in Lynchburg, Virginia. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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Darius McGhee Liberty Basketball (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Darius McGhee Liberty Basketball (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

The return of star guard Darius McGhee

The biggest offseason news in Lynchburg, VA came when Darius McGhee, the ASUN Player of the Year for each of the last two seasons, announced he would be returning to Liberty for one last run. The 5’9″ guard will be a 5th-year senior, using the extra year of eligibility granted from the 2020-21 covid-ridden season.

McGhee finished the 2021-22 season as the 2nd leading scorer in the nation at 24.6 PPG. He was the most prolific three-point shooter in the country, connecting on 142 three-pointers; which was 26 more than any other NCAA Division I player.

ASUN opponents were not thrilled one bit by the news of McGhee’s return, especially FGCU and Kennesaw State in particular. McGhee had two of the three highest-scoring outputs in the country last season, dropping a school-record 48 points on the Eagles and then pouring in 47 points against the Owls in the regular-season finale.

His elite scoring ability and lethal jumper are difficult for even the best of competition to contain, showcased by a 41-point performance (including 7 threes) against Pac-12 opponent Stanford in a neutral site matchup. In addition to that superb performance; he also pumped in 29 points against BYU, scored 22 points on the road at LSU, and recorded 20 points in a win over the Missouri Tigers.

Next season, McGhee is set to become just the second player in the history of the Flames Division 1 era to reach the 2,000 career point plateau. He currently sits at 1,864 and has a more than realistic shot to pass Larry Blair’s mark of 2,211 points.

The Roxboro, NC native has increased his scoring average by at least 6.0 PPG each of the last two seasons; and if he does that once again, he will be just the second player to reach the 30.0 PPG for a season in the 21st century.