New-look Flames to debut in fall

Eight new players are set to join the program for the 2014-2015 basketball season

Cross Country — Big man James Johnson will wear a new uniform next year after playing this past season at San Diego State. Google Images

Cross Country — Big man James Johnson will wear a new uniform next year after playing this past season at San Diego State. Google Images

The Liberty Flames men’s basketball team is coming off of its third straight season with a losing record. Head Coach Dale Layer said goodbye to five graduating seniors and two transferring students at the end of the 2013-14 season. Three of the five graduates led the team in points, rebounds and assists. The Flames also lost each center and starting guard on the roster. Layer is bringing in eight newcomers that he believes will provide “length, athleticism (and) scoring ability.”

Ezra Talbert (Olathe, Kan., 6-feet-8-inches, 190 pounds): Talbert is a former Creighton University commit that Liberty had been watching since his freshman and sophomore seasons of high school, according to Layer. Layer said this forward from Kansas is a “terrifically skilled front-court player.” Talbert averaged 14 points and six rebounds per game during his junior and senior seasons and shot 36 percent from the three-point line for his career.

Evan Maxwell (Clarks Summit, Pa., 6-feet-10-inches, 240 pounds): Maxwell is one of two centers on the Flames new roster. Liberty lost four different centers and power forwards that needed to be replaced. Layer said Maxwell has a “Big Ten (Conference) body” due to his size. He also believes Maxwell will be able to provide offense inside for his team.

James Johnson (San Diego, Calif., 6-feet-10-inches, 235 pounds): Johnson was a highly anticipated acquisition, according to Layer. The junior transferred from the University of Virginia to San Diego State University and spent his sophomore and junior seasons there. According to, he was ranked as the No. 8 center in the 2010 recruiting class.

Layer said Johnson is a very experienced, good and skilled player and believes that Johnson’s experience will aid Maxwell in his development.

Braxton Bonds (Nashville, Tenn., 6-feet-1-inch, 170 pounds): Layer said Bonds is a true point guard and is one of the more unselfish players he has noticed during this year’s recruiting process. He said that Bonds can score well and also makes everyone on the court better. The guard from Christ Presbyterian Academy, the second-ranked high school team in Tennessee according to, turned down offers from schools such as Louisiana State University and Radford University to attend Liberty.

A.C. Reid (Spring Branch, Texas, 6-feet-5-inches, 190 pounds): Reid averaged 12.4 points per game and four rebounds per game during his four years at Smithson Valley High School. He averaged 33 percent from the three-point line and shot 48 percent during his junior season. Reid is one of three guards Layer is bringing in to replace John Caleb Sanders and Davon Marshall, who were two of Liberty’s top four scorers. Layer said Reid is very athletic and is a prolific scorer. He turned down offers from four different schools in his native state of Texas to play for the Flames.

Stavian Allen (Raleigh, N.C., 6-feet-8-inches, 195 pounds): Liberty was the first team to offer Allen a scholarship and the second to commit to this class. During his junior year in high school, he attended Word of God High School in Raleigh, N.C., which produced NBA point guard and all-star, John Wall. describes Allen as a “versatile athlete who excels in the open floor. He is a deadly shooter off the dribble and is an extremely fluid athlete.” Layer said his athleticism will help Liberty’s backcourt.

David Andoh (Montreal, Quebec, 6-feet-7-inches, 200 pounds): Andoh was recruited by San Jose State but transferred to Wagner University and did not play. Due to “unspecified family concerns,” he left Wagner and played the 2013-14 season at Merritt College, a junior college in California where he averaged 13.9 points per game and eight rebounds per game.

Peter Moeller (Vaerlose, Denmark, 6-feet-3-inches, 180 pounds): Moller is the second point guard in this upcoming class. The Danish guard has played in more than 50 games overseas in the last two seasons and Layer believes that his maturity and experience will be very valuable to this team.

Layer said he is excited about this incoming class and is looking forward to watching how well it will gel with the current players. He said this class is “mature, and they have a good sense of who they are.” Layer also intends to add one more player to this “versatile, athletic, long” group.

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