St. Peter's Peacocks
LIU/BROOKLYN BLACKBIRDS: With Departure Of Three Starters From Last Season, Much Falls On Jason Brickman To Lead Team As Lone Senior. Julian Boyd Not Expected Back Until January.
WAGNER VOTED PRE-SEASON FAVORITE TO TOP NORTHEAST CONFERENCE;
LIU/BROOKLYN PREDICTED TO FINISH FOURTH.
Can Blackbirds Continue The Standard They've Set For Themselves Over Last Three Years?
Downtown Brooklyn's three-time defending NEC Champions begin their 2013-14 season Saturday afternoon at Barclays Center, but not without some adversity. In the pre-season coach's poll, the proud LIU Blackbirds were only predicted to finish fourth in the NEC behind overwhelming favorite Wagner, then Robert Morris and Bryant.
Coach Jack Perri begins his second season as head coach. His team outscored their opponents last season by a 2,677-2,589 margin, and their 81.4 points per game ranked 2nd in the country.
Long Island University has achieved at least 20 victories in each of the last three seasons, and have now appeared in six March Tourneys, with three coming in the last three seasons. The Blackbirds struggled midway through last season with a six game losing streak, and dropped their final four contests to finish with a 20-14 record, but then stream rolled through last year's NEC tourney. They were undone by James Madison in last March's NCAA Regionals. In the season prior under former coach Jim Ferry, they posted a 25-9 record, but were soundly defeated by #1 seeded Michigan State in the 2011-12 NCAA Regionals. In 2010-11, the Blackbirds went 27-6, and 16-2 against the conference, but were stopped cold by North Carolina in their first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 1997 season.
Jason Brickman is the lone returning undergraduate starter from last season, and will be LIU's lone senior player. He led all NCAA Division-1 players with 290 assists last season, as well as an 8.5 assists per game average as a Junior. Brickman is LIU's all-time assists leader with 719, and with another 86 assists, will break the all-time NEC record of 804 assists. With another 281 assists, Jason Brickman can become only the 4th NCAA player to amass 1,000 assists in a career.
Julian Boyd returns as graduate student. Last year, his season was derailed by a torn ACL. In July, he tore the same ACL again. The team hopes he can rejoin the team again by January.
The Blackbirds lost five seniors from last year's team. Among the most notable departures are center Jamal Olasewere, guard C.J. Garner, Kenny Onyechi, and Brandon Thompson. Last season, senior Jamal Olasewere was named NEC Player of the Year.
Forward E.J. Reed is now a sophomore. He was a 50.6% shooter from the field last season. Guard/forward Troy Joseph and guard Gerrell Martin are Juniors. Forward Landon Atterberry comes to Brooklyn after two years in Cape Cod. Coach Perri will also have four new recruits and five freshmen overall on his squad; F-Nura Zanna, G-Joel Hernandez, F/C-Glenn Feidanga, G-Iverson Fleming, and G-Kaleb Marquis.
Forward Darien Best, guard D.J. Griggs, F-Chris Carter and G/F Gilbert Parga round out the roster.
Gerrell Martin is from the Bronx, and Darien Best is from right here in Brooklyn, New York.
The LIU Blackbirds first in-Conference game is scheduled for January 9th against St. Francis of Brooklyn. The Blackbirds posted a 12-6 conference record last season.