Henderson native inducted into Liberty Hall of Fame

Sep. 23, 2013 @ 09:54 PM

Bailey Alston is credited with helping usher in a new era for Liberty University men’s basketball, leading the Flames as they made the transition from Division II to Division I following his sophomore season.

Alston, one of five recently inducted into the Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame, holds the Flames’ scoring record with a career average of 25.5 points. The Henderson native is one of only three players in program history to score 2,000 career points. He finished with 2,115 in just three seasons following his transfer from Rutgers.

“I think about my upbringing, being from a small town like Henderson,” said Alston, a 1984 Vance High School graduate. “It’s very humbling. But it doesn’t matter how small a town you come from, you can excel.”

Alston now resides in Goldsboro, where he founded Soul-Out Ministry.

“The main thing I learned from Liberty was my relationship with Jesus Christ,” said Alston. “It put structure in my life.”

Alston said he wouldn’t have succeeded without his Vance High coach, Joe Stepusin.

Alston remembers being benched by Stepusin in his junior season for exhibiting a poor attitude. He said that was one of the turning points in his life, learning “it wasn’t all about me.”

Alston was presented by former Liberty teammate Eric Cunningham at the Sept. 13 banquet and joined at his table by Stepusin.

“He was very instrumental in my progression, not just in sports, but in life,” Alston said of Stepusin. “I wanted him to know he was a big part of anything I’ve done in basketball and in life.”

Alston is the only Liberty player to record three 40-point games and he finished with 42 career 20-point games before going on to play professionally for a few seasons in Argentina, Brazil, and France.

Alston said he watched Liberty’s basketball program grow in front of his eyes before graduating in 1990.

The Flames earned a 2013 NCAA Tournament berth, marking their third appearance in the Big Dance since Alston’s departure.

Alston isn’t sure his scoring records would have remained intact had Seth Curry not elected to transfer from Liberty to Duke. Curry averaged 20.2 points as a Flame freshman in 2008-09.

“He would have broken all my records,” Alston said with a laugh. “I’m sure he would have.”

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.