Todd Lichti knew it was only a matter of time before someone surpassed him as Stanford basketball’s career scoring leader. Turns out it took 26 years.
“It was always going to be broken at some point,” said Lichti, 48. “In jest, I just sometimes say I babysat it for a while.”
Lichti, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Mt. Diablo High in Concord, starred for the Cardinal from 1985-1989 and had the rare ability to dunk with either hand. Fearless, creative and clutch, he amassed 2,336 points, was a four-time All-Pac-10 First Team selection and was consensus Second Team All-American as a senior.
Tuesday night, he slipped to No. 2 on the Stanford scoring list when senior guard Chasson Randle collected 24 points to lift the Cardinal into the championship game of the Postseason NIT with a 67-60 win against Old Dominion at Madison Square Garden in New York. Randle now has 2,350 with one game left to play.
Lichti, who was the 15th overall pick in the first round of the 1989 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets, battled through injuries to play six seasons. Then he was recruited by former Cardinal teammate Andrew Vlahov and played four years professionally in Australia, where he averaged 16.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists.
Lichti was impressive as a rookie, averaging 17 minutes and 8 points per game. His role increased in the playoffs where he averaged 15 points over the 3 game series against the San Antonio Spurs and look set to be a big part of the Nuggets roster.
In his second season however it was dramatically cut short due to knee injuries which saw him take to the court in only 29 of 82 games in his second NBA season. Lichti was also injured in a serious car accident which further impacted his career. With declining production the Nuggets traded Lichti to Orlando Magic for Brian Williams.
The remainder of his career was a handful of cameos for Orlando, Golden State and Boston. In fact after he was traded from Denver Lichti only logged 13 games for those three teams combined.
After a final 10 day contract with Boston Lichti was released and his NBA career finalised. Lichti was then lured to play for the Perth Wildcats in the NBL by former Stanford teammate Andrew Vlahov was club captain.
Lichti was impressive during his NBL tenure, averaging 17 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3 assists per contest. He retired in 1999 and now lives in Melbourne with his wife, Sue, and 10-year-old son, Bronx. It’s there he owns a wine distribution business.
“I think I’ve heard about every point he’s scored in the last two months via Twitter,” laughed Lichti, who watched most of the first half of Tuesday night’s game on television. He met Randle last October when he returned to The Farm for the 100-year celebration of Stanford men’s basketball, which coincided with his 25-year reunion.
“He seemed like a great guy,” Lichti said. “I spoke to a few people who had been around him for four years and they just couldn’t say enough about him as an individual and the quality of person he was. More than happy to see it (record) go to such a classy individual.”
“He knows I went to Stanford and played professional basketball and takes great pride in that,” said Lichti. “He got updates every time Stanford played, not necessarily to see if they won, but to see if my record was going to be broken.”
“When they won the last game (Vanderbilt), I said, ‘Well, Stanford has won and it’s great news and Chasson’s 11 points away,’ ” Lichti said. “Bronx walked up to me – he’s a great kid with a beautiful heart – and just patted me on the back and said, ‘Sorry, dad. Are you okay?’ ”
Lichti was just fine.
“I guess when I think about it, it’s certainly a point of pride it has stood up for so long,” he said. “Quite frankly, I was probably lucky Adam Keefe didn’t break it 20 years ago. We could easily be talking about him right now.”
When his record fell Tuesday night, Lichti tweeted congratulations to Randle and the Stanford basketball program.
“I didn’t want to say anything the last month because I didn’t want to disrupt his preparation,” said Lichti. “It’s been fun to watch Chasson’s progress. I couldn’t be happier for him.”