In one week, Blackbirds Hoops Journal will hit the road (or mass transportation to be more accurate) to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for the second-ever edition of the NEC Basketball Social Media Day. Last season’s NEC Media Day was my first-ever experience at ANY media day so it was a great treat for me to be there and get a chance to talk to the head coaches and some of the NEC brass. This season I really would like to accomplish one main goal. That is, as well as talk to both LIU Brooklyn head coaches in Gail Striegler on the women’s side and Jack Perri on the men’s, I’m going to try and meet with every NEC men’s head basketball coach. It was one of the things I wanted to do last year but with 12 head coaches spread out, plenty of media in attendance and my main focus of doing Q&A’s with the LIU head coaches, it left me not being able to talk to all the coaches although I did get to meet and talk to most of them. This season, that will be the goal, to chat with all 10 NEC men’s basketball coaches. Mission accepted.
Not making it any easier this time around is the fact that there is a new wrinkle added with each team bringing one player along with the head coach to NEC Media Day. It is a great addition to NEC Media Day festivities having a chance to ask questions to one of the team’s best players about the upcoming season. I’m looking forward to the events of next week which the NEC does a great job of hosting. As it was last year, the NEC Basketball Social Media Day will be streamed live on NECFrontRow.com so you can hear from all your favorite NEC coaches and players.
Now time for the greatly anticipated return of News and Notes around the NEC:
– On Monday, the college basketball experts over at CBSsports.com made their conference champion predictions for all 32 NCAA Division I conferences. The NEC went as so from the six-man group: Both Robert Morris and Wagner received two votes apiece while Bryant and Mount St. Mary’s received a vote each. Three-time defending NEC champion LIU Brooklyn was shutout mainly because of the uncertainty revolving around LIU’s Julian Boyd and whether or not he will be able to return in January as is hoped.
– Ryan Peters at Big Apple Buckets (www.nycbuckets.com) has been doing a phenomenal job covering the NEC this offseason. Most recently, he revealed Big Apple Buckets preseason picks for NEC Top Awards as well as First, Second and Third Team. Peters has also put out great articles on his take on this season’s NEC Top Five Freshmen, Top Impact Transfers, Breaking Down the NEC returning possession minutes, Top NEC Non-Conference games, and NEC Breakout Candidates. In my opinion, Peters is one the best bloggers in college basketball so all of his stuff is worth reading. He can be brutally honest at times but he usually is extremely fair. Also, you got to like a guy who get blocked on Twitter by CBS Sports Network College hoops insider Jon Rothstein for calling him out on some of his overly positive tweets.
– Another member of Big Apple Buckets, the originator John Templon, gave this year’s NEC preview for ESPN Insider on ESPN.com. He previewed all ten NEC teams but unless you are a subscriber to ESPN Insider (which I unfortunately am not) you will just have to due with his NEC prediction and the free preview of Sacred Heart. If you are a subscriber, go ahead and check it out.
– NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk website is another great college hoops site people need to check out all year round. Recently, they did their 2013-14 Mid-Major Power Rankings and although no NEC team made their top 15, they did include Wagner in their “Ten More to Watch” list granting them a Top 25 status on their list. They also put out their Mid-Major All-Americans list and although no NEC player made the cut on their top three teams, LIU Brooklyn’s Jason Brickman was the only NEC player to be given honorable mention on their list.
– FDU is starting a new era under new head coach Greg Herenda. That also means new unis for the Knights. Last week, FDU Associate Head Coach Bruce Hamburger (yes, that is seriously his last name, I double-checked) tweeted pictures of what the Knights new unis will look like. Their new Nike uniforms this season will look like this:
FDU’s new unis will now just say “FDU” on the front of both home and away jerseys, gone are the “Knights” on their home unis and “Fairleigh Dickinson” on the road unis. The home and road colors are the same as before.
– On Wednesday, October 16, the Mount St. Mary’s men’s basketball team will be conducting their annual Blue and White scrimmage at their home court, Knott Arena at 4pm. It is a free event which open to the public if you want to get an early glimpse of this season’s edition of Mount Mayhem.
– And finally, since NEC Front Row was introduced last season, athletic departments all around the NEC have stepped up their game and have been producing videos highlighting last year’s accomplishments as well as previewing the upcoming basketball season. A lot of these video have been very well made (a high compliment coming from a Media Arts grad). I look forward to see more of these videos as the season begins and goes along. Most of them have been quite enjoyable. Here are a few of my favorites so far: