Martin Hermannsson named to Iceland’s 12-man EuroBasket roster

Apparently for LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball team, three is indeed the magic number in regards to international basketball.

On Wednesday, it was officially announced that LIU sophomore guard Martin Hermannsson, who has been spending this summer with the Icelandic senior national team, was named onto Iceland’s final twelve-man roster for next week’s 2015 FIBA European Championship aka EuroBasket which begins on Saturday, September 5 and continues through September 20th. The top two finalists automatically qualify for next summer Olympics basketball tournament in Brazil.

Hermannsson now becomes the third LIU player on the 2015-16 roster to participate in a FIBA tournament joining incoming freshman Julius van Sauers (played for Netherlands in 2015 FIBA U-19 European Championships) and junior Glenn Feidanga (currently playing for Central African Republic at the 2015 FIBA AfroBasket).

LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball twitter account (@LIUBasketball) commemorated the official news with a nice graphic.

Hermannsson has previous experience with the Icelandic national team as he played with them last summer in EuroBasket qualifications. He also has been on Iceland’s under-20 and under-18 teams in FIBA competitions.

Hermannsson, in his freshman season at LIU in 2014-15, started in all thirty games for the Blackbirds and finished second on the team in scoring (10.2 ppg) and assists (3.3 apg).

Iceland is playing in their first-ever FIBA EuroBasket after finishing second in their group during the final stage of qualifying last summer. Iceland will be the only one of the 24 teams who qualified for the 2015 EuroBasket to make their debut in the tournament.

Iceland is in group B of EuroBasket which will also include Turkey, Serbia, Italy, Germany, and likely group favorites Spain. Iceland will open up against Germany on September 5th. EuroBasket games can be seen online through livebasketball.tv with a paid subscription.

Congrats to Martin and we look forward to seeing him play for Iceland next week.

NEC First Look: LIU Brooklyn

This is the tenth and final installment of our NEC First Look series in which we take a early glance at all ten Northeast Conference men’s basketball teams for the 2015-16 college basketball season. Here are the other nine posts on CCSUBryantSt. Francis BrooklynSacred HeartSaint Francis U., Fairleigh DickinsonWagnerRobert Morris and Mount St. Mary’s.

Gone:

Gerrell Martin (G) – 11.2 ppg, 39.3% 3pt FG%, 82.7% FT%, All-NEC third team. 29 starts in 30 games played.
Landon Atterberry (F) – 7.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 16 starts in 27 games played.
Elvar Friðriksson (G) – 8.9 ppg, 3.8 apg, 36.2% FG%. Started all 30 games last season. Transferred to Barry (Division II)
Chris Carter (F) – 0.9 ppg, 1.0 rpg in 10 games played.
Jamil Hood Jr. (G) – 1.3 ppg, 1.1 rpg in 24 games played. Transferred to Dodge City CC (JUCO).
Jonathon Tshibuy (G/F) – Missed entire season with a knee injury in his only season at LIU. Transferred.

Additions:

Aakim Saintil (G) (Junior College Transfer)
Kwe Askew (F)
Julius van Sauers (F)
Raul Frias (G)
Ganlandou Cisse (F)
Mitchell McMullen (G) (walk-on)
Raiquan Clark (G) (walk-on)

Pluses:

LIU stayed relatively healthy last season when compared to the tough season health-wise they had the season before. Three players (all freshman) started all 30 games for LIU and seven players played in 29 of the 30 games. LIU has 60% of returning possession minutes back including two freshman starters. LIU doesn’t have a single senior on the roster this season so it can be said their window of opportunity to contend for an NEC championship once again begins in earnest this upcoming season.

One thing that improved last season was their overall defense which was one of the worst defenses in the nation the season prior. LIU actually led the NEC in defensively three-point field goal percentage allowed. Yet, there is still plenty of room for improvement on that end of the court.

LIU head coach Jack Perri with one of the youngest teams in the nation last season, gave his young guys the bulk of the playing time and that experience should helps translate into more cohesion amongst the returnees this season. Perri and his coaching staff also addressed the front court depth that was major issue two seasons ago and somewhat a problem early last season by adding three more forwards to go with emerging returnees Nura Zanna and Glenn Feidanga.

Minuses: 

One major question mark once again going into 2015-16 will be at the point guard position. LIU thought they had their point guard of the future in Elvar Friðriksson who started every game for LIU last season as a freshman but after the season he surprisedly decided to transfer to a Division II school and left Perri once again searching for another point guard. Friðriksson averaged nearly nine points and nearly four assists a game a year ago.

LIU loses their last player who was their final link to their NEC championship three-peat in Gerrell Martin. He led the Blackbirds in scoring with 11.2 ppg and shot over 39% from three last season. Also, Landon Atterberry is gone who started in 17 of 27 games last season and averaged 7.6 points and 4.4 rebounds.

LIU will also need to do a better job at shooting the ball in general. LIU finished 330th in the nation on two-point field goals, making just 42.8% of those shots. Although they were 40th in the nation in tempo, they were just 305th in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency. They will need to do a better job being more proficient on the offensive end.

Last season, LIU was just a .500 team (6-6) in games decided by five points or less. For such a young team last season, .500 actually isn’t terrible but if they are to take the next step up this upcoming season, they are going to have to be much better than .500 in close games.

Potential Starting 5:

Aakim Saintil (G) – Averaged 12.1 points and 5.3 assists last season in JUCO in starting 29 of 30 games for Williston State. Shot 48% from field and 39.2% from three last season. Averaged 6.3 points and 1.8 assists in 31 games in his freshman season at South Alabama.

Martin Hermansson (G) – Started all 30 games last season as a freshman. Finished second on the team in scoring (10.1 ppg) and assists (3.3 apg) and hit 86.4% of his free throws. Member of Iceland senior national team this summer.

Trevin Woods (G) – Came off the bench to play in 29 games last season. Averaged 4.2 points and 3.5 rebounds. Shot 32.8% from three. Played about 15 minutes per game.

Jerome Frink (F) – Sat out last season after transferring in from Florida International. Averaged 9.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in his two seasons at FIU. 46.2% career FG shooter. Started 56 games in 63 appearances at FIU including all 31 games as a sophomore.

Nura Zanna (F) – Also started all 30 games as redshirt freshman last season. Finished fourth on the team in scoring (8.5 ppg) and led LIU in rebounding (6.3 rpg). Shot 47.4% as a freshman.

Early Outlook:

LIU Brooklyn could be a team back on the rise after missing on the NEC tournament two seasons and earning an eight-seed last season. The Blackbirds used last season as a rebuild and plenty of ups and downs amongst their young unit. Now with most of their players having at least a year of experience under their belts, LIU could be ready to make a move this season if everything clicks right and they can remain healthy throughout the season.

LIU also added five new scholarship players to the roster this season and with a team with no seniors on it, LIU will once again be relatively young again. Yet, they will be a more experienced team as a whole then they were last season when they had just one player with more than one season in the LIU program. This season, they will have four. Also, with a couple of starting positions available, competition in the preseason should be at a high.

Several LIU players are primed to have themselves possible breakout seasons and they include sophomores Trevin and Trevon Woods as well as junior Joel Hernandez. Three LIU guys that will likely garner a lot of the early attention will be sophomores Martin Hermannsson and Nura Zanna and redshirt junior Jerome Frink who many feel could be among the most impactful transfers in the NEC in 2015-16.

If Perri can get this Blackbirds team back to running more and putting points on the board at rate fans had grown accustomed to seeing while continuing the improvement they made last season on the defensive end, LIU could be very much be a sleeper team in the NEC this upcoming season.

The Blackbirds have yet to officially release their schedule but we do know that LIU will take on Loyola (MD) on the road (Nov. 16) followed by a home game versus Maine (Nov. 19). LIU will also face Fordham at Rose Hill Gym (Date TBA) and Florida International (Date TBA) on the road. LIU also host Incarnated Word (Dec. 21). LIU will also host the annual Battle of Brooklyn against St. Francis Brooklyn (Jan. 23).

NEC First Look: Mount St. Mary’s

This is the ninth installment of our NEC First Look series in which we take a early glance at all ten Northeast Conference men’s basketball teams for the 2015-16 college basketball season. Here are my first eight posts on CCSUBryantSt. Francis BrooklynSacred HeartSaint Francis U., Fairleigh DickinsonWagner and Robert Morris.

Gone:

Kristijan Krajina (F) – 6.4 ppg scorer as a sixth-year senior. Started all 30 games last season.

Andrew Smeathers (F) – Injuries only allowed him to play in 14 games last season. Averaged 8.7 ppg in his only season with the Mount. Earned his degree at Mount. No longer playing basketball due to injuries.

Chris Martin (G) – Finished fifth on the team in scoring at 7.4 ppg. Started in seven of 24 games last season but was a DNP in five of the team’s last six games. Transferred to Savannah State.

Additions:

Elijah Long (G)
Bryce Thurston (G)
Troy Henderson (F) – Redshirted last season
Chris Manning (F) – Redshirted last season

Pluses:

The Mount return back three significant pieces to a team that went 11-7 in the NEC last season. Their top two scorers from a year ago return in junior guard Byron Ashe (11.9 ppg) and senior forward Gregory Graves (10.1 ppg). The Mount also has sophomore point guard Lamont “Junior” Robinson (8.2 ppg) back who started in every game for them last season and was second in the NEC in assist percentage. These three guys will be big contributors to Mount once again this upcoming season.

Head coach Jamion Christian Mount Mayhem system caused…well, mayhem once again on the defensive end and with the three-ball. The Mount finished in the top 50 in the nation in defensive turnover percentage, getting turnovers on 21.6% of opponent’s offensive possessions. Mount finished third in the NEC in defensive points allowed with 64.8 points per game. 42% of their shots last season came from behind the three-point arc which equated to 36% of their points. That made them the top scoring team from three in the NEC. It will be more of the same this season as Christian’s team, since he arrived at the Mount in 2012-13, has been the top three-point shooting team in the NEC.

The Mount will also have a good blend of youth and veterans next season. They will have just two true freshman on the roster while also having two redshirt freshman who was with the team last season. The rest of team comprise of mostly upperclassmen and sophomores who got a good amount of playing experience as freshman.

Minuses:

The losses of Mount’s three big seniors from their NEC Championship two seasons ago was felt on the scoring end last season. The Mount went for the highest scoring team in the NEC in 2013-14 at nearly 76 points per game to 63.1 points per game, second-lowest in the NEC.

Although they don’t lose a great amount in terms of personnel, they did lose a long-time veteran in the program in Kristijan Krajina who finally exhausted his eligibility and they also lost a pretty good player in Andrew Smeathers who only played a season at Mount after transferring in from Butler but injuries has unfortunately ended his basketball career.

The Mount due to the nature of their mayhem system, shooting a ton of threes, didn’t get to the free throw line as much as you might have expected, ranking 326th in the nation in free throw rate (FTA/FGA).

Potential Starting 5: 

Junior Robinson (G) – Started all 30 games as a freshman. Averaged 8.2 points and 3.3 assists per game. Had a 30.9% assist rate which ranked him second in the NEC.

Byron Ashe (G) – Mount’s leading scorer last season at 11.9 ppg mostly coming off the bench. Started in just four of 29 games. Shot 36% from three last season.

Khalid Nwandu (G) – Averaged 4.7 points last season and shot 44.1% from the field but just 25% from three. Made 13 starts in 29 appearances.

Gregory Graves (F) – Finished second on the team in scoring at 10.1 ppg. Led Mount in rebounding with 7.4 rpg. Started in all 27 games played. Shot 42.3% from field and 38% from three.

Taylor Danaher (C) – Came off the bench mostly last season, made just four starts in 30 appearances. Averaged 4.5 ppg and 3.8 rpg. Shot 56.8% from the floor. Blocked 1.3 shots per game.

Early Outlook:

The Mount surprised some last season getting to .500 overall and getting themselves an 11-7 NEC record with a team that lost a large amount of returning minutes from the previous season. Credit goes to head coach Jamion Christian who continues to do a fantastic job with this Mount program, so much so that other programs began sniffing around the head coach this offseason.

Look for Bryon Ashe to likely have a huge season for the Mount and improve upon his All-NEC third team season of a year ago. Wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him land on an All-NEC first team in March. Gregory Graves could be the next double-double machine in the NEC this season. He finished with five last season and could likely double that number this season.

The Mount are going to be a dangerous team this season because they have upperclassmen who are ready to step up this season, they got good young guys to integrate into their lineup which in this system is necessary because of the amount of energy and exertion needed to execute it to the way Jamion Christian wants it played, which usually wears down their opponents. I believe the Mount have enough pieces currently in place to at least be a top two team in the NEC next season.

As usual, the Mount since Christian’s arrival has played an insane non-conference schedule and next season will be no different. Although the Mount has yet to release their schedule, the non-conference games they will play will have your head spinning. Their first four games are against four of the nation’s powerhouse teams on the road. They start the season at Maryland (Nov.13) in some people have them already listed as one of the top two or three teams in the country next season. Then they play at Ohio State (Nov. 15), at Washington (Nov.19) and then at Gonzaga (Nov. 21). They also have home tilts against Loyola (Md.) (Dec. 5) and Bucknell (Dec. 8).

Jamal Olasewere to play for Italian club Virtus Roma in Italy next season

It hasn’t been a bad week so far for LIU Brooklyn’s all-time leading scorer Jamal Olasewere.

On Sunday, we learned he made the final roster for the Nigerian senior national team as they get ready to take part in the 2015 FIBA African Championships that begin on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, it was officially announced that Olasewere will be joining Italian club Virtus Roma for the 2015-16 season. Last season in his first full professional season, Olasewere played for Belgium club Verviers Pepinster Wolves. This is his third professional club he has signed with since graduating from LIU Brooklyn after the 2012-13 season. He also signed to play for Italian club Vanoli Cremona back in 2013 but didn’t play for the team after failing a physical due to an unknown heart condition.

Virtus Roma tweeted out a photo of Olasewere signing his new contract.

Virtus Roma will play next season in the Italian second division or Serie A2. The club relegated themselves from Serie A, the top-tier basketball league in Italy and requested to play in Serie A2 next season. Virtus Roma finished in tenth place in the 16-team league with a 12-18 record.

Last season in Belgium, Olasewere in 28 games with Wolves averaged of 11.3 points and 5 rebounds per game in 21.9 minutes per game while shooting 50.5% from two and 28.6% from beyond the arc.

Olasewere joins former teammate Julian Boyd in securing a professional contract for the upcoming 2015-16 basketball season.

Congrats to Jamal on his new contract.

2015-16 LIU Brooklyn Women’s Basketball Non-Conference Schedule Announced

Today, the LIU Brooklyn women’s basketball non-conference schedule was released via a series of tweets from the program’s Twitter feed (@LIUwbb). This is the first non-conference schedule for LIU Brooklyn women’s basketball first-year head coach Stephanie Oliver. In the 12-game non-conference schedule, the Blackbirds will face XX teams who participated in the NCAA Tournament this past March and XX teams who had winning records last season.

Here is a breakdown of their non-conference schedule with opponent’s 2014-15 overall and conference records and final RPI ranking per NCAA.com:

November 14 – @ Buffalo (19-13, 11-7 MAC, RPI 129)

November 22 – @ Howard (4-27, 3-13 MEAC, RPI 341)

November 27 & 28- Florida State/Sam Houston State/Texas Southern – (LIU Turkey Classic)
Florida State: 32-7, 14-2 ACC, RPI 7 – NCAA Tournament team – Reached Elite 8
Sam Houston State: 6-22, 5-13 Southland, RPI 295
Texas Southern: 18-10, 15-1 SWAC, RPI 149

December 2 – @ Navy (17-14, 10-8 Patriot, RPI 197

December 6 – Colgate (9-22, 7-11 Patriot, RPI 266)

December 9 – NJIT (13-17 Independent, first yr in Atlantic Sun in 2015-16, RPI 294)

December 14 – Columbia (8-19, 2-11 Ivy, RPI 288)

December 21 – @ Stony Brook (17-14, 10-6 America East, RPI 193)

December 29 & 30 – Florida Atlantic/Miami (OH)/Bethune-Cookman – (FAU Tournament)
FAU: 13-17, 7-11 C-USA, RPI 221
Miami (OH): 7-23, 4-14 MAC, RPI 280
Bethune-Cookman: 13-17, 9-7 MEAC, RPI 262

LIU will have five home games from their eleven game non-conference schedule. All five non-conference home games will be played at the Steinberg Wellness Center. The Blackbirds will also play up to five road games and at least one neutral site game before entering into conference play on Saturday, January 2nd. The NEC schedule will be released on a later date.

LIU could potentially face just one NCAA Tournament team from last season in Florida State who reached the Elite Eight at their LIU Turkey Classic.

Including Florida State who had a 7 RPI last season, LIU will face five top-200 RPI teams. Also, five of the teams finished above .500 last season.

Overall, this is well put together schedule by first-year head coach Stephanie Oliver as she will go to battle next season with almost the exact same team that went 9-21 and 6-12 in the NEC. There are plenty of opportunities for some early season wins. The home slate with the exception of a tough game against Florida State  if it happens, is one that could very favorable for the Blackbirds. Their road slate has it challenges with games at Buffalo, at Navy and at Stony Brook but none of those games you would consider unwinnable.

It will be interesting to see how Coach Oliver will fare through her first non-conference schedule as LIU Brooklyn head coach. LIU finished 3-8 in their non-conference games last season including starting the season with a six-game losing streak. If LIU can stay away from another poor start and can be at least over .500 heading into NEC play, I think LIU will be in very good shape. The first couple of games should gives us a early feel on how the Blackbirds will respond to the new coaching staff and to Coach’s Oliver new philosophies.

Glenn Feidanga selected to play for Central African Republic in 2015 FIBA Afrobasket

#23 junior forward Glenn Feidanga is selected to Central African Republic 12-man final roster for the 2015 FIBA African Championships which begins this week. (Photo: Bob Dea/BHJ)

On Sunday, we got word that Jamal Olasewere was heading to the 2015 FIBA African Championships in Tunisia as part of the Nigerian senior national team. On Monday, it was announced that junior forward Glenn Feidanga has been selected onto the final roster for the Central African Republic who are also competing at the 2015 FIBA Afrobasket which starts on Wednesday.

Feidanga played in seventeen games last season after missing the first nine games due to an ankle injury. He went on to average 4.1 points and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 40% from the field. In 46 career games in his first two seasons at LIU Brooklyn, Feidanga is averaging 4.1 points and 3.7 rebounds while shooting 42.3% from the floor. [Read more…]

NEC First Look: Robert Morris

This is the eighth installment of our NEC First Look series in which we take a early glance at all ten Northeast Conference men’s basketball teams for the 2015-16 college basketball season. Here are my first seven posts on CCSUBryantSt. Francis BrooklynSacred HeartSaint Francis U., Fairleigh Dickinson and Wagner.

Gone:

Lucky Jones (F) – All-NEC second teamer. Finished first on RMU in rebounds (5.9) & minutes per game (29.8). Third leading scorer at 14.3 ppg. Played in the NEC Championship game in all three of his four seasons, winning it all last season.

David Appolon (G) – 6.0 ppg scorer who started in nine of 21 games last season. Injury cut his senior season short. Shot 40.8% from the field.

Marcquise Reed (G) – NEC Rookie of the Year last season. Finished second on the team in scoring (15.1) and assists (2.1) and first in steals (1.9). Shot 49.1% from the field and 41.3% from three. Transferred after the season to Clemson.

Charles Oliver (G) – Left team after only two games last season. Played in 36 total games for RMU. Career 4.8 ppg scorer at both Rider and RMU. Transferred to Norfolk State.

Jafar Kinsey (G) – Played in 11 games last season. 1.2 ppg scorer. Left team mid-season. Transferred to Des Moines Area Community College (JUCO).

Jairus Lyles (G) – A transfer from VCU who never played for RMU. Left team mid-season. Transferred to UMBC, will play after first semester. [Read more…]