With the arrival of the dog days of summer and basketball activity picking up as we begin counting down the days towards the 2015-16 college basketball season, what better time to get caught up on some of LIU Brooklyn basketball happenings by bringing you all the first edition of the LIU Brooklyn News and Notes of the new season. [Read more…]
If November is any indication, this is definitely a transitional year for the Northeast Conference. The league finished the first month of the college basketball season with a 14-37 record which is just a .274 win percentage.
Although this wasn’t unexpected after so many great players who helped shattered records in the NEC having graduated and most are playing professional basketball overseas, yet is not easy to watch a league struggle the way the NEC did in November.
Let’s take a look at some of NEC highlights and lowlights that occurred in the month of November:
Highlight: FDU got the biggest win for the NEC in November with an 58-57 win at Saint Joseph’s on opening night of the college basketball season. FDU was given just a five percent chance to win that game and won it on a Mustafaa Jones’ three-pointer with three seconds remaining to pull off the upset.
Lowlight: Mount St. Mary’s lost at home to Maryland-Eastern Shore 53-41. UMES were ranked second to last on KenPom at the time of this game. The Mount were given a 93% win probability to beat UMES. The Mount only scored 11 points in the first half and were to held to 0.71 points/possession for the game.
Highlight: CCSU’s Matt Mobley is the NEC’s only 30-point scorer in November when he went for 30 against Fairfield on opening night in their loss to Fairfield. There were 10 more NEC players who scored at least 20 in a game in November with Mobley going for 20 or more three times. He is currently second in the NEC in scoring at 18.0 ppg trailing Bryant’s Dyami Starks.
Lowlight: Scoring so far is way down among teams in the NEC. There is not a team cracking 70 points/game. Right now, there are just six NEC teams breaking the 60 ppg mark with St. Francis Brooklyn leading the NEC in scoring currently with 65.8 ppg. Just to give a prospective, nine of the ten NEC teams scored 69 ppg or more with five teams scoring at least 71.5 ppg. Four NEC teams are currently scoring under 60 ppg.
Highlight: The NEC only won one game that would be considered a signature victory but the NEC did come close on a couple of occasions to adding a couple more. LIU Brooklyn were three seconds away from the NEC’s second win over Saint Joseph’s but a late game-tying three pointer by St. Joe’s took the game to overtime and St. Joe’s ended up prevailing. St. Francis Brooklyn were tied with Rutgers with 46 seconds remaining but couldn’t convert on a couple of opportunities late and lost a three-point game.
Lowlight: St. Francis Brooklyn who picked by many to be the preseason favorite to win the NEC this season, got off to a tough start at 0-5 with losses to Georgetown, Army, Rutgers, LaSalle and Norfolk State although three of those losses were by less than three points. The Terriers finally broke through with a 59-57 victory over Tennessee Tech for their first win of the season. CCSU who were picked second are 0-6 (more on them in the next lowlight). RMU who was picked to finish third, are just 2-4 with wins over Bradley and Louisiana-Monroe.
Lowlight: No team is having a tougher start to their season than CCSU. They went 0-6 in November and the closest they were to a win was a five-point loss to Bethune-Cookman who are ranked 340 on KenPom at the time they played. Add on the fact now that senior Kyle Vinales will not return to the team this season after his arrest in October and this is not the start to their season head coach Howie Dickerman had envisioned coming in.
Highlight: There is a nice young freshman class in the NEC this season and a lot of them are having an early impact on their teams in the first month of the season. Two freshmen (RMU’s Marcquise Reed & FDU’s Darian Anderson) are averaging 10 points/game. LIU’s Nura Zanna (6.3 rpg) is fifth in the NEC in rebounding. LIU’s Elvar Friðriksson is first in the NEC in assists (4.5 apg) and assist-to-turnover ratio at 6:1.
While there wasn’t a great deal of wins in November, there were things to take away from the first month of the season. Now, the NEC will get to play some more home games in December so we should see the conference’s record pick up and there are still plenty of big win opportunities that will be available. Hopefully, December will get things turned around for the NEC.
It has been nearly a month since the last edition of the NEC News Wire as our 2014-15 NEC men’s basketball previews series took over. So here is the latest news and notes around the NEC as the season is now only two months away.
– In the last month, three more NEC men’s basketball teams released their 2014-15 schedules bringing the grand total to eight. Mount St. Mary’s, Central Connecticut and Sacred Heart joins Robert Morris, Fairleigh Dickinson, Wagner, Bryant and St. Francis Brooklyn. LIU Brooklyn and Saint Francis U. are the two remaining teams in the NEC to have yet to release their 2014-15 men’s basketball schedule.
– A trio of recent NEC alums joined the growing list of players who will be playing professional basketball in Europe for the 2014-15 season.
Fairleigh Dickinson’s Mathias Seilund, Mount St. Mary’s graduate Rashad Whack and last season’s NEC Player of the Year, Robert Morris’ Karvel Anderson joined the professional ranks by signing contracts to play ball from a pair of european clubs. Mathias Seilund signed with the Bristol Flyers of the British Basketball League. Seilund averaged 9.3 ppg for the FDU Knights last season. Rashad Whack last week signed with Island Storm in the Canadian National Basketball League. Last season, Whack was named on the All-NEC second team after a 17.6 ppg season in helping led the Mount to an NEC championship. In late August, Karvel Anderson signed a contract with Italian club Andrea Costa Imola. Anderson led the NEC in scoring last season with a 19.7 ppg average. Anderson scored 31 points in his team’s first preseason game.
– A new season means new basketball uniforms for some teams. Robert Morris will unveil new uniforms when the season begins. They broke them out the new road unis for picture day last week.
Jalen Cannon unveiled St. Francis Brooklyn’s new road unis during their recent photo shoot.
– The first two college basketball preview magazine has hit the newsstands. The Sporting News College Basketball Yearbook and the Lindy’s Sports College Basketball Preview Magazine were released in last couple of weeks and hence released their 2014-15 NEC men’s basketball predictions. Here is how they predicted things will fall in the NEC:
- St. Francis Brooklyn
- Central Connecticut
- Robert Morris
- Mount St. Mary’s
- Saint Francis PA
- LIU Brooklyn
- Fairleigh Dickinson
- Sacred Heart
NEC Player of the Year: Jalen Cannon – St. Francis Brooklyn
NEC Newcomer of the Year: Chris Martin – Mount St. Mary’s
NEC Coach of the Year: Andy Toole – Robert Morris
- Central Connecticut
- Saint Francis PA
- Robert Morris
- St. Francis Brooklyn
- Mount St. Mary’s
- LIU Brooklyn
- Fairleigh Dickinson
- Sacred Heart
NEC Player of the Year: Dyami Starks – Bryant
NEC Newcomer of the Year: Jamil Hood Jr. – LIU Brooklyn
No selection for NEC Coach of the Year
Athlon Sports College Basketball Preview Magazine is the next preview magazine that is due out. It should hit newsstands next week.
Welcome to the first edition of a new feature I would like to call “Inside the Blackbirds” which is all about updating you on all the latest happenings surrounding LIU Brooklyn men’s and women’s basketball. With just about 50 days to go until the official start of the college basketball season, it is time to get all you Blackbirds fan updated on what is going on in and around LIU hoops.
** First let’s start by congratulating LIU alum Jamal Olasewere. Yesterday evening it was announced that he is returning back to playing basketball after not being able to play last season due to a heart issue. Olasewere signed with Belgium club, VOO Wolves Verviers-Pepinster, who plays in the Belgium Basketball League, Belgium’s top tier league. The news was first reported by Belgian website, lavenir.net.
Olasewere then confirmed the news himself on Twitter after the story had broke.
Olasewere last played basketball for the Nigeria men’s basketball team at the 2013 FIBA African Championships. He had signed a deal last summer with Italian club Vanoli Cremona when a heart issue was discovered in his physical. He was recently cleared by doctors in the here in the United States to resume his basketball career.
Olasewere graduated from LIU Brooklyn in 2013 as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,871 points in his career and fourth all-time leading rebounder with 963. He also hold the LIU record for games played as a Blackbird with 130.
Olasewere now joins Jason Brickman among the ever-growing list of Blackbirds playing professionally overseas.
** Late last week, LIU Brooklyn announced that they have named an interim Athletic Director to take over for long-time LIU Athletic Director John Suarez who will be stepping down from his position at the end of the month.
LIU has named Brad Cohen as their interim AD. Cohen will be overseeing all operations of the LIU Brooklyn athletics department. According to the release, Cohen has been a full-time employee at LIU Brooklyn for the past 20 years and was most recently LIU Brooklyn’s executive director of campus services and human resources.
** News of both LIU Brooklyn’s basketball teams schedules has been trickling out as the summer has gone along. The BHJ LIU Schedule Tracker has been following along all summer long and right now has a better beat on the women’s basketball schedule over the men’s.
Last week, I was caught by surprise when Norfolk State released their non-conference schedule and LIU Brooklyn was not on it. Norfolk State played at LIU last season and it was thought that LIU would return the game this season but apparently that isn’t the case.
Right now, LIU MBB has just two known confirmed non-conference games: at Temple on Sunday, November 30 and vs Hofstra at the Barclays Center on Sunday, December 28. Ten of LIU’s 18 NEC games are known and can be seen on the LIU Schedule Tracker.
LIU should be hosting Lehigh and NJIT this season to complete home and home series with these teams as well as we are waiting on the schedule for NIT Season Tip-Off in which LIU will be participating in.
As far as the LIU WBB, LIU will be hosting Rhode Island, Northern Arizona and a team yet to be announced in their annual LIU Turkey Classic the week of Thanksgiving, November 28 and 29. They will also be hosting Rider on December 2nd, Howard on December 14th and Buffalo on December 21st.
Other possible return games this season which is yet to be confirmed are at NJIT, at Maine and home against Monmouth.
BHJ has unofficially gathered all 18 NEC games for LIU WBB with just four of the games against Saint Francis U. and Mount St. Mary’s being unconfirmed but I have taken a calculated guess when these four games might be played and you can take a look on the LIU Schedule Tracker.
** LIU was well represented on Sunday in a 2015 FIBA European Championship qualifying game between Great Britain and Iceland.
Great Britain’s roster once again included 2011 LIU graduate Kyle Johnson who is now playing for them for the third straight summer. Iceland’s roster included the two incoming freshmen who will be coming to Brooklyn this fall in point guard Elvar Fridriksson and shooting guard Martin Hermannsson.
In their first of two meetings in this qualifying round, Iceland got off to a fast start at home and took a 22-10 lead after the first quarter. Great Britain came back with a strong second quarter to tie the game at 34 at the half. Iceland pulled away in the 4th by outscoring Great Britain by 12 to win the first meeting 83-70.
Kyle Johnson finished with just four points for Great Britain as he went 0 for 5 from the floor and 4 for 4 from the free throw line. He also grabbed 4 rebounds and had one assist in 23 minutes.
Martin Hermannsson though was impressive for Iceland. He was their second leading scorer in the game with 22 points on 10 of 14 shooting (0 for 1 from three). He hit both of his free throws and grabbed two boards and had an assist in 29 minutes off the bench. Elvar Fridriksson only played two seconds in the game.
Here is one of the highlight plays of the game for Hermannsson, as he hits on a reverse layup and draws a foul.
Here is a highlight video of the game put up by the Icelandic basketball website karfan.is featuring some plays made by Hermannsson (#9 in white).
These two teams will play each other once again on Wednesday, August 20th in London. Before that, Great Britain will face Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday, August 13th and Iceland will also face Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sunday, August 17th.
** Former LIU point guard Jason Brickman is beginning his journey into professional basketball. Last week, he left the states to start his career in Russia to play for Dynamo Moscow this season.
Good luck Jason. BHJ will be keeping tabs on his progress in year one of his pro career.
** Current Blackbirds are getting themselves focused and ready for the upcoming season. Here are a few things put out by members of the team over the last few weeks as summer continues on.
Here is the latest edition of the NEC News Wire:
– The Great Britain senior men’s basketball team wrapped up their series of preparation games before they play a series of qualification games for the 2015 FIBA European Basketball Championships. Team GB which features two NEC alums in LIU Brooklyn’s Kyle Johnson and St. Francis Brooklyn’s Ben Mockford, played three final games this past weekend against Belarus, Georgia and Moldova. Great Britain lost their first two games of the weekend with a 77-68 loss to Belarus and a 73-60 loss to Georgia before finally getting their first win of the summer with a blowout 92-43 win against Moldova. Great Britain enter their EuroBasket qualification games with a 1-6 record in their seven prep games.
Here were the stat lines for both Kyle Johnson and Ben Mockford from this past weekend:
Great Britain begins their 2014 EuroBasket qualification games against Iceland on Sunday, August 10 in Iceland and then they take on Bosnia & Herzegovina on Wednesday, August 13 in London, versus Iceland once again on Wednesday, August 20 in London, and close it out against Bosnia & Herzegovina on Sunday, August 24 in Sarajevo.
– Congratulations are in order to recent Wagner graduate Orlando Parker who has recently signed a professional basketball contract. The news was broken by Wagner head coach Bashir Mason on Twitter on Wednesday.
Parker signed a deal with Tayronas de Santa Marta in Colombia. Parker now becomes the fourth known 2014 NEC graduate to sign a pro deal for the 2014-15 season. The other three include Bryant’s Corey Maynard (Australia), LIU’s Jason Brickman (Russia), and Mount St. Mary’s Julian Norfleet (Bulgaria).
– St. Francis Brooklyn will be unveiling a new logo for the 2014-15 season. That is according to the St. Francis Brooklyn athletic department who announced the news last week on their website in their 2014-15 outlook post.
“The athletic department will unveil a new logo in the next few weeks, one that calls attention to our Brooklyn roots. Outsiders will no longer wonder where the College is located. Of course, if they want to know exactly where we are from don’t be afraid to boast about our home turf of Brooklyn Heights, recently named one of America’s most beautiful neighborhoods. Our website www.SFCAthletics.com will also be getting a fresh new look during the month of September and will be highlighted by an online Terrier apparel store.”
Last season, St. Francis Brooklyn added “Brooklyn” to their brand, going away from the St. Francis (NY) and SFC names.
– On Tuesday, NEC Associate Commissioner Ron Ratner fired off 15 tweets with stats and info previewing the upcoming 2014-15 season. In case you missed it or not on Twitter, here are all 15 tweets:
Some thoughts from Ratner’s tweets:
* Five of the six returning NEC all-stars from last season will likely comprised of the Preseason All-NEC team with four of those guys already being 1,110-point scorers.
* I think it is going to be hard to see anyone top Kyle Vinales or Dyami Starks in scoring this season. It wouldn’t be a shock if both average over 20 ppg this coming season.
* SFU is returning everyone from last season. EVERYONE! If they stay healthy, they should be competing for an NEC championship this season.
* Can RMU win 20 games this season? It is going to be interesting to see. Even with Lucky Jones returning there was a pretty significant roster turnover, it is going to take time to get things together there.
It is the final day of July already (where has the summer gone?!) and according to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein’s daily countdown, we are currently 64 days until the official start of the new college basketball season on October 3rd.
Summer leagues are either over or nearing an end. Some players are either going to be heading back home for what is left of their summers or staying at school and putting more work in as the season draws near. Before you know it, the new season will be here.
We here at Blackbirds Hoops Journal continue doing our part to get you excited and ready for the upcoming college basketball season with this latest edition of the NEC News Wire.
– On Wednesday, Craig Meyer, who covers RMU basketball for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, wrote a post in his blog evaluating the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Pro-Am summer league performances of current and incoming RMU players.
RMU returns just six of the eight remaining players from the team that finished in first place in the NEC and appeared in the NEC final before losing to Mount St. Mary’s and returning back to the NIT. It is a good read if you want to get an early idea on the makeup of the 2014-15 RMU Colonials roster.
– Saint Francis University is gearing up for the 2014-15 season by doing some upgrades to their home gym, DeGol Arena. SFU recently completed a new paint job to the inside of their home gym.
Also, SFU added a new scoreboard…
and are about to add a brand new video board.
SFU reached the NEC semifinals in March and could likely be a top three team in the NEC when early season NEC predictions and polls start getting released this fall.
– The NCAA posted last season’s men’s basketball attendance figures for the 2013-14 season. The NEC saw a decline in average home attendance to games last season after producing a record-high average home attendance for the league the season prior.
For the second straight season, LIU Brooklyn led the NEC in average attendance with 2237 fans per game in twelve home games last season even though their average attendance fell by 282 with five fewer home games. LIU definitely has benefitted from playing a few of their home games at the Barclays Center over the past two seasons which is the main reason for their huge attendance numbers of over 2000 even though the Steinberg Wellness Center capacity is 1700.
Half the NEC teams saw an increase in home attendance over the prior season with Robert Morris seeing the biggest increase. Central Connecticut saw the biggest drop with 312 fewer fans even with one more home game.
League-wide the NEC saw their average attendance fall by 166 to 1250 fans per game after seeing an all-time high in average attendance in 2011-12 with 1416 fans per game. Last season was the NEC’s first season without Monmouth and Quinnipiac who left the NEC for the MAAC.
The NEC Tournament (1,571) last season outdrew average-wise both the Patriot League Tournament (1,275) and the WAC Tournament (1,284) and was just 244 fans short average-wise of the MAAC Tournament (1,815) even though the NEC tournament had more fans come to their tournament games (10,999) than MAAC fans turn out for their conference tournament up in Springfield, Massachusetts (9,077).
– The Great Britain senior men’s national team continues on their preparations toward the 2015 FIBA EuroBasket qualifiers in September with a pair of friendly games against Belgium over this past weekend. Team GB once again dropped the pair of games and are now 0-4 in their friendly games this summer.
Although we couldn’t find a box score from game one on Friday in which Great Britain lost 79-64, we were to track one down from game two on Saturday in which Great Britain lost 104-78. LIU Brooklyn alum Kyle Johnson lead Team GB in scoring off the bench with 20 points on 6 of 9 shooting from the field and 7 of 8 shooting from the free throw line. St. Francis Brooklyn alum Ben Mockford also appeared in game two playing just over three minutes but didn’t take a shot in the game after not appearing in the game one on Friday.
Great Britain will next play three games in three days as they take on Belarus on Saturday, August 2nd, Georgia on Sunday, August 3rd and then Moldova on Monday, August 4th.
Here are a few noteworthy items which came across the NEC News Wire in the past few days.
– Wagner released their non-conference schedule on Tuesday becoming the second NEC team to do so. Wagner’s head coach Bashir Mason and his team has a pretty tough slate of opponents in their 11-game non-conference schedule. They will play just four home games at Spiro Sports Center with games versus Division III SUNY-Old Westbury, Penn, Monmouth and Rider. Their seven non-conference road games will be a tough slate with games at Maryland who starting life in the Big Ten, Columbia who could be outside contenders in the Ivy League, Hofstra who is a contender in the CAA, Maine, Lafayette, Vermont who are always good in America East, and Cincinnati who is one of the powers in the American Conference.
– Currently Rutgers is in the lead as most common non-conference opponent among NEC teams. Rutgers will play four NEC teams in their non-conference slate, all at home at the RAC. They will face Fairleigh Dickinson, St. Francis Brooklyn, Saint Francis (PA), and Sacred Heart.
Hofstra is currently next on the list with three games against NEC teams with games against Central Connecticut, LIU Brooklyn and Wagner.
– Sacred Heart’s 6’7” junior forward Tevin Falzon recently completed competing for Malta in the 2014 FIBA European Championship for Small Countries in Gibraltar.
Falzon in four games for Malta averaged 7.0 ppg and 3.8 rpg in 10.5 mpg. He shot 8 for 26 from the field and was 1 for 9 from three during the tournament in helping Malta to a runner-up finish.
Malta lost in the final to Andorra 66-63. Falzon has his best game in the final for Malta going 4 for 9 from the field in 12 minutes for 11 points.
– Congratulations are in order for now former Mount St. Mary’s point guard Julian Norfleet. He announced on his Twitter feed on Tuesday that he will be playing professionally overseas next season.
Norfleet has signed on to play for the Bulgarian club called Rilski Sportist who plays in Bulgaria’s National Basketball League. Norfleet becomes the third NEC 2014 graduate (as well as the third point guard) to play professionally overseas joining LIU’s Jason Brickman (Dynamo Moscow – Russia) and Bryant’s Corey Maynard (Skytrans Cairns Taipains – Australia).