Blackbird Gameday Report – Game 6 – Norfolk State Spartans

Opponent (Conference Affiliation): Norfolk State Spartans (MEAC)

Record: 5-2; Last Game: Win at Stillman College 105-83

Current KenPom Ranking: 228 out of 351 (LIU Brooklyn: 271 – down from 260 before last game)

Time: 2:00 PM

Location: Steinberg Wellness Center, Brooklyn, NY

TV/Web/Radio Coverage: T: Red Zone Media

Meeting History: 4th meeting all-time. Last meeting: @ Norfolk State, 73-62, L (2011-12)

Game Notes Links: Norfolk State – LIU Brooklyn 

Norfolk State Players to Watch:

1. Malcolm Hawkins #25 – 6’5″ Guard – Sr. – 18.6 ppg/4.1 rpg/42.4 FG%/42.9 3FG%/29.0 mpg
2. Pendarvis Williams #11 – 6’6″ Guard – Sr. – 18.1 ppg/6.1 rpg/3.7 apg/53.8 FG%/35.1 3FG%/31.0 mpg
3. Brandon Goode #23 – 7’0″ Center – Sr. – 11.0 ppg/6.4 rpg/3.1 bpg/63.0 FG%/23.0 mpg

Matchup to Watch:  NSU’s Guards (Hawkins & Williams) vs LIU’s Guards (Martin, Joseph, & Parga)

Game Outlook: 

The Blackbirds open their home season at the newly-renamed Steinberg Wellness Center against the Norfolk State Spartans who are coming off back-to-back 20 wins seasons and are off to a 5-2 start to their season although three of their wins have come against non-Division I opponents.

NSU enter this season with an interim head coach in Robert Jones who took over for Anthony Evans who left NSU for Florida International back in April. It is Jones’ seventh season coaching at NSU.

The Spartans enter this game with LIU with four players averaging double-digits in scoring although one (Rashid Gaston) has missed the last four games. They are led by senior guard Malcolm Hawkins who is averaging 18.6 ppg while shooting 42% from the field. Hawkins has scored at least 10 points in every game so far this season including 32 pts vs Texas Southern. Their second-leading scorer is senior guard Pendarvis Williams who is averaging 18.1 ppg and grabbing 6.1 rpg. Williams is shooting 53% and has twice gone off for 30+ points including in their last game vs Stillman College where he scored 32. Another double-digit scorer is 7’0″ center Brandon Goode who is scoring 11 ppg and pulling down 6.4 rpg. Goode is currently on a scoring tear with three straight double-digit scoring games including 22 points in their previous game.

In what is becoming a sort of trend among LIU’s opponents this season, NSU is the highest scoring team among MEAC teams, scoring 88.4 ppg. Also potentially troubling is that NSU is the second-best rebounding team among MEAC teams, grabbing 38.9 rebounds a game. LIU has been out-rebounded in every game this season. The Blackbirds have been getting out-rebounded by an average of 10 rebounds a game while averaging just under 32 rebounds a game. NSU is out-rebounding teams this season by six boards a game. NSU is scoring MEAC-best 1.13 points per possession (averaging nearly 68 possessions).

Defensively, NSU is allowing 81.9 ppg to their opposition, second most in the MEAC. Teams are shooting just 43.9% from the field against this pretty long Spartans team although they are allowing teams to shoot nearly 36% from three, making close to 9 three-pointers a game so LIU can exploit the Spartans from deep. NSU is allowing teams 1.13 ppp which ranks eighth in the MEAC.

LIU is heading to their Steinberg Wellness Center home opener reeling on the heels of a four-game losing streak including losing three straight games out west in California last weekend.

The Blackbirds struggled on both ends of the floor in all three games, losing by at least 15 points in every contest. Last weekend’s struggles comes as a disappointment after the season opening win against Saint Peter’s and near-upset of Indiana in Bloomington. The Blackbirds faced three teams last week who had a distinct size advantage and it resulted in three big losses.

NSU also has a pretty big roster. They have just one player who is under 6’4″. It is also a veteran team which has just two redshirt sophomores and no freshman on their roster. The Blackbirds have shown to struggles mightily with size in the games versus UC Irvine and Eastern Washington after a great showing against a tall Indiana squad. LIU is still trying to figure their rotation. They have had to play all ten active scholarship players especially with the foul troubles and the lack of front court depth at the moment.

LIU has four players scoring in double figures with E.J. Reed leading the way at 12.0 ppg. Reed is coming off a season-high 21 points vs Boston University. Gilbert Parga has been struggling shooting over the last three games going 4 for 18 but he has been getting to the free throw line the most so far with 35 FTAs, getting a majority of his points from the FT line.

Gerrell Martin has been inconsistent to start the year. After the 24-point season opener, he cooled down to score 10 points combined in the next two games before scoring 17 against Eastern Washington but had just 5 points in 19 minutes versus Boston U.  Landon Atterberry has been LIU most consistent player thus far and has had to go up against much bigger guys in the paint and has held his own to a degree with 10.4 ppg and 51.2 % FG shooting.

Jason Brickman is suffering from shooting woes to start the season. The normally reliable shooter is shooting just 35% from the field and 15% from three. Look for these numbers to go up sooner rather than later. Troy Joseph got his first start of his LIU career in the last game vs Boston U. in place of Gilbert Parga but didn’t produce much with just five points and three rebounds.

This is game LIU must come into it thinking it is a “must-have”. They need to stop the bleeding and halt the losing streak at four before going back on the road for three more games especially with games coming up at Seton Hall and at Lehigh.

The LIU offense has yet to find consistency due to the opponents they’ve had to play early on but now guys got to find their shooting stroke and the LIU defense has to show up. They finally have to break the streak of allowing teams to score above 1.0 ppp this season and they have to try and see if they can outrebound the Spartans which would also be a first this season. If LIU gets all these things worked out at the friendly confines of the Steinberg Wellness Center which they have lost just four times in the last three seasons, they should come out of it with a victory but if they can’t stop the Spartans on the defensive end, it could be another long afternoon for Jack Perri and his team.

KenPom Score Projection: 78-76, LIU Brooklyn (Win Probability: 54%)

Next up for the Blackbirds:

The Blackbirds will once again hit the road for the start of a three-game road trip. First up, a meeting with the Seton Hall Pirates at Newark’s Prudential Center on Thursday, December 5th. Tip is scheduled for 7pm.

Blackbirds gets swept out west at 2K Sports Classic Irvine Sub-Regional, lose to Boston U.

When I spoke with LIU Brooklyn head coach Jack Perri at NEC Media Day back in mid-October, I asked him about having to play 3 games in 3 days all the way out in the west coast. He knew it was going to be a difficult three days. He knew his team would be facing a major challenge in facing some bigger teams without his full arsenal of front court players. Yet, it would be hard for me to imagine that he thought his team would go to California and come back home to Brooklyn without a single victory.

Well, unfortunately, that is exactly what happened to the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds out west. LIU couldn’t salvage a win out of the west coast trip to Irvine at the 2K Sports Classic Sub-Regional. They dropped the third and final game of the their three games in three days trip to the Boston University Terriers 72-57. The 57 points scored by LIU is the lowest points total the Blackbirds have scored so far this season.

LIU entered the game on Sunday looking to avoid getting blown out for the third straight game after losses of 20 and 32 points respectively the previous two games. The Blackbirds showed fight at the start of this one, playing it close for the first ten minutes. But then the Terriers would end the first half on a 20-7 run to take a commanding 37-23 lead to the locker room. It was a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

LIU wouldn’t get any closer than seven points to the Terriers in the second half. Once again, the Blackbirds had a difficult time shooting the ball finishing the game with a 34.6 FG percentage. LIU finished the game shooting 5 of 22 from three after going the first half 0 for 11 from deep. Boston U. shot 49% in the game and 8 of 28 from three. As every opponent has done so far this season, Boston U. scored above 1.0 points per possession as LIU gave up 1.25 ppp to the Terriers. It was a tough weekend defensively for LIU gave up 1.30 ppp in the three games in Irvine and LIU’s three opponents shot 56% from the field through the weekend.

The Blackbirds was once again out-rebounded by eight, 38-30. LIU has been out-rebounded in every game so far this season as the lack of front court size and depth has really hurt LIU over the weekend.

The Terriers had four players score in double figures including starters Maurice Watson Jr. (16 pts), John Papale (14 pts), and D.J. Irving (11 pts). Malik Thomas scored 13 points off the bench for Boston U. as the Patriot League favorite raise their record to 4-2 with the win.

LIU got a nice rebound performance from sophomore forward E.J. Reed who finished with 21 points and 8 rebounds less than 24 hours after scoring just 2 points against Eastern Washington. Landon Atterberry scored 12 points and grabbed 7 rebounds.

Jason Brickman scored 5 points and dished out a game-high 12 assists to now get within 39 assists of becoming the NEC all-time leading assist man. Brickman did also have a game-high six turnovers and is still having trouble finding the mark on his shot. He went 2 of 7 from the field and 1 of 4 from deep. Brickman is currently now shooting 15% from deep (3-20).

Jack Perri changed up the starting lineup a bit for this game going with Troy Joseph at the third guard spot over Gilbert Parga who started the first four games. Parga has been struggling with his shot the last couple of games so Perri decided to change it up going with Joseph. He finished with five points in 26 minutes while Parga had just seven points in 20 minutes.

The LIU offense really struggled over the course of these three games in California. They averaged 63.3 ppg and scored just 0.9 ppp over the weekend while shooting 34.6% from the field. A question that can be asked is did the long ten day layoff after the near-upset at Indiana before this west coast trip had any effect on how LIU played the weekend after playing well in their first two games. You would have to think that is play a factor although it definitely wasn’t the only reason why LIU struggled this weekend.

The euphoria of the nice start to LIU’s season has now vanished and they are now 1-4 and in midst of a four game losing streak as they return back east and can finally look forward to play a game back in Brooklyn. The Blackbirds will finally play their season opener on campus at the friendly confines of the Steinberg Wellness Center. Not a moment too soon especially after the terrible weekend they suffered out west.

LIU will need to find their offense and look for a way to slow down teams on defense and keep them off the glass to put an end to their current slide.

Blackbirds routed once again, this time to Eastern Washington

Well, the afterglow of winning the season opener at the Barclays Center and then taking the Indiana Hoosiers to the wire is quickly becoming a distant memory. After a ten day layoff, LIU Brooklyn has come back to action and it hasn’t been pretty.

After a blowout loss to UC-Irvine last night, LIU Brooklyn gets shell shocked with a 28-1 run to start the game by the Eastern Washington Eagles and it was never a contest as the Blackbirds fall 102-70 at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, California in the second game of the 2K Sports Classic Sub-Regional. It was the first time LIU had given up at least 100 points to an opponent since exactly one year ago to the day when LIU gave up 104 points to the then defending national champs Kentucky.

As soon as you could sit down and get comfortable to put on the live stats (thanks to no video or audio of the game, EWU radio aired the football game over the basketball game), EWU was already up in front 15-0 to start within the first five minutes. After a Glenn Feidanga free throw stopped the run, EWU goes on a 13-0 run and the game was pretty much over from there on.

It is hard to understand how LIU came out of the gate so flat especially after getting blown out the night before and hoping they would want to put forth a better effort in a game which was going into this three game set at 2K Sports Classic was likely the easiest of the three opponents. Ken Pomeroy earlier in the week on his website had LIU favored to win this game (before changing it to a one point win in favor of EWU right before this game).

EWU shot a remarkable 63.9% from the field including an awesome 11 of 17 from three. EWU also out-rebounded LIU by 11 (40-29). LIU allowed EWU to score an outstanding 1.42 points per possession, a night after allowing 1.25 ppp to UC Irvine. LIU’s defense has really taken a major hit in these last two games. LIU has yet to hold an opponent to under 1.0 ppp this season. EWU’s entire starting five all scored in double figures led by 17 points each for forward Venky Jois and guard Parker Kelly.

The lone bright spot to come out of this disaster was the return of Gerrell Martin’s shooting. He led LIU in scoring with 17 on 6 of 10 shooting including a perfect 2 for 2 from deep. D.J. Griggs had a new career-high 13 points off the bench, hitting a pair of threes. After that, not much else to go crazy over. Gilbert Parga had 13 points but 11 of them came from the free throw line. He was 1 of 7 from the field. Jason Brickman had 9 points and 4 assists in 27 minutes but once again was cold from deep going just 1 of 6. E.J. Reed couldn’t get going in this game due to foul trouble and finished with just 2 points before fouling out. Glenn Feidanga (1 pt) also fouled out in this game.

LIU will have to play a whole lot better if they want to avoid getting swept out west. Tomorrow, they face the Boston University Terriers who were picked to win the Patriot League this season. If LIU is to salvage something from this trip, they will need to be up for this game and be ready to compete from the opening tip. Boston U. is a good team who lost to this same EWU team by just 12 on Friday night and lost to UConn by 17. If Boston U. loses to UC Irvine (game is in progress as I write this), you know they will be trying hard to avoid a sweep out west as well. This game tomorrow is a huge early season game for LIU. One that the Blackbirds will need more than they probably thought going into this weekend.

Size matter in LIU’s loss to UC Irvine to first game of 2K Sports Classic Sub-Regional

LIU Brooklyn's 6'6" E.J. Reed tips off against UCI's 7'6" Mamadou Ndiaye to LIU's loss to UC Irvine at 2K Sports Classic Sub-Regional

LIU Brooklyn’s 6’6″ E.J. Reed tips off against UCI’s 7’6″ Mamadou Ndiaye in LIU’s loss to UC Irvine at 2K Sports Classic Sub-Regional late Friday night.

It was apparent from the opening tip when 6’6″ LIU Brooklyn forward E.J. Reed was at mid-court about to try and out-jump 7’6″ UC Irvine center Mamadou Ndiaye that LIU was going to be facing a major uphill battle with the Anteaters size.

Well, it was barely a battle. It was a no contest as UC Irvine dominated LIU with its size and length and cruised to a 84-64 victory at the Bren Events Center at UC Irvine to open up the three games in three days for the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds.

UC Irvine shot 55% from the field against LIU as the Anteaters was able to get a ton of easy baskets at the rim. The Blackbirds allowed 1.25 points per possession (84 pts in 67 possessions) to the lengthy Anteaters as UCI pretty much scored at will. UCI dominated the glass on LIU 44-29, at times making it looks more like a volleyball game than a basketball game with the ease at times the Anteaters was getting to rebounds.

LIU had no answer for either one of UCI’s bigs. Will Davis II finished with 12 points and 8 rebounds. He only had to play 22 minutes in this one. LIU had absolutely no answer for the 7’6″ Ndiaye as the Anteaters would just lob the ball to him at the basket and he would slam it down without even having to jump with a Blackbird player on him looking like a small bug. It was silly at times watching either Landon Atterberry or E.J. Reed trying to guard the gigantic Ndiaye down low. He towered above everyone. Ndiaye finished with 12 points going a perfect 5 for 5 from the field and 5 rebounds in 18 minutes of play.

When Davis II or Ndiaye were out, UCI just kept bringing more bigs in and LIU just couldn’t keep their heads above water all night long. The Blackbirds struggled to get anything going against this great length of UCI and shot just 34% in the game.

A couple bright spots for LIU was the play of two junior college transfers, Landon Atterberry and Chris Carter. Atterberry started the game red hot, scoring LIU first nine points before ending up a career-high 14 points on 6 of 8 shooting. Carter got to see some playing time, most of it in the second half in with LIU down big but he took advantage of his opportunity and looked good getting after rebounds and shooting the ball with confidence. Carter finished with a early LIU career-high 9 points and 3 rebounds in 13 minutes.

The LIU guards as you could imagined struggled mightily facing the tall and long Anteaters. Gilbert Parga had 10 but 7 of those came from the free throw line. Gerrell Martin really struggled, going 2 for 12 and 0 for 5 from three to finish with 8 points. E.J. Reed had a tough game also with a 2 for 9 shooting night for 5 points. Jason Brickman couldn’t find the room or the passing lanes to work his game in this one, he finished with just 2 points yet was still able to dish out 6 assists on the night. One concern early on is Brickman’s shooting. He is now 8 of 24 (33%) from the floor and 1 of 10 (10%) from three to start the year. He did only play 26 minutes in this one to save his legs for this three games in three days stretch. In fact, with this game getting out of hand early, no LIU player played over 27 minutes against UCI.

The Blackbirds will have to quickly put this game behind them as they have a quick turnaround in facing the Eastern Washington Eagles at 6:30pm Saturday evening. EWU beat Boston U. before the LIU-UCI game 80-68. EWU is now 3-1 entering the matchup on Saturday as LIU fell to 1-2 to begin the season.

Blackbird Gameday Report – Games 3,4,5 – 2K Sports Classic

LIU Brooklyn is back on the court this weekend as they head out west to Irvine, California to take part in the sub-regional round of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project. The Blackbirds are taking on UC-Irvine, Eastern Washington and Boston University over a three-day span. This Blackbird Gameday Report will look at all three weekend opponents at once with the short turnarounds between games.

Game 3 Opponent (Conference Affiliation): UC-Irvine Anteaters (Big West)

2013-14 Record: 2-2; Last game: Win vs Pacifica College 110-73

Current KenPom Ranking: 129 out of 351 (LIU Brooklyn: 203 – up from 243 before last game)

Time: 10:00 PM (Friday, 11/22)

Location: Bren Events Center, Irvine, CA

TV/Web/Radio Coverage: W: BigWest.TV /R: KUCI

Meeting History: Second all-time meeting. UC-Irvine leads series, 1-0. Last meeting: 1972-73 (L, 65-67)

Game Notes Links: LIU Brooklyn – UC-Irvine

UC-Irvine Players to Watch:

1. Will Davis II #3 – 6’8″ Forward – Jr. – 14.3 ppg/7.5 rpg/72.7 FG%/69.2 FT%/23.0 mpg
2. Chris McNealy #5 – 6’4″ Guard – Sr. – 12.5 ppg/4.0 rpg/42.5 FG%/57.1 FT%/26.8 mpg
3. Mamadou Ndiaye #34 – 7’6″ Center – Fr. – 9.0 ppg/5.8 rpg/77.8 FG%/32.0 FT%/17.8 mpg

Matchup to Watch: LIU’s E.J. Reed vs UCI’s Will Davis II

About UC-Irvine: UC-Irvine enters the game against LIU Brooklyn 2-2 after two straight wins including a win at Washington (86-72). They were picked to win the Big West Conference in their preseason media poll.

The Anteaters feature a three-guard starting lineup but the guys that get the most attention are their two front court guys, Will Davis II and Mamadou Ndiaye. Davis II leads UCI in scoring and rebounding and is a force inside at 6’8″. He scored 22 in their win over Washington. Ndiaye is 7’6″ and will tower any LIU defender that has to guard him. His height was a major factor in their big win over Washington. In scoring 18 points in that game, he also grabbed 8 rebounds and blocked 9 shots in that game. The Anteaters want to play fast like LIU. They averaging over 80 possessions a game and are scoring 1.09 points per possession. Their 93.0 ppg offensively is currently in the Top 20 nationally. They do also give up 1.08 ppp on the defensive end so LIU will be able to put up points.

The Anteaters has a distinct height advantage over LIU. They have used 6 players over 6’7″ on their roster including a pair of seven-footers and a 6’10” big man. Rebounding could be a big concern for the Blackbirds in this game. UC-Irvine have a +5.5 rebounding margin so far this season.

Last week, John Templon of Big Apple Buckets was in Seattle and he caught the UC-Irvine-Washington game and scouted the Anteaters.

KenPom Score Projection: UC-Irvine, 88-79 (22% LIU Win Probability)


Game 4 Opponent (Conference Affiliation): Eastern Washington (Big Sky)

2013-14 Record (going into this weekend’s action): 2-1; Last game: Win vs Walla Walla University, 82-44  

Current KenPom Ranking: 261 out of 351

Time: 6:00 PM (Saturday, 11/23)

Location: Bren Events Center, Irvine, CA

TV/Web/Radio Coverage: W: None/R: KXLX – 700AM Spokane, WA (tunein)

Meeting History: First-ever meeting.

Game Notes Links: Eastern Washington LIU Brooklyn

Eastern Washington Players to Watch:

1. Tyler Harvey #1 – 6’4″ Guard – So. – 18.7 ppg/2.3 rpg/3.3 apg/46.5 FG%/50.0 FT%/33.0 mpg
2. Venky Jois #55 – 6’7″ Forward – So. – 15.0 ppg/7.0 rpg/64.3 FG%/60.0 FT%/30.0 mpg
3. Drew Brandon #22 – 6’4″ Guard – Jr. – 10.0 ppg/9.7 rpg/7.3 apg/39.4 FG%/50.0 FT%/34.0 mpg

Matchup to Watch: LIU’s Gilbert Parga vs UCI’s Tyler Harvey

About Eastern Washington: The Eastern Washington Eagles are 2-1 entering the 2K Classic. Their two wins have come against non-Division I opponents. They were picked to finish sixth in the Big Sky media poll and fifth in the coaches poll.

EWU are currently third in the Big Sky in scoring offense (83.0 ppg) and second in scoring defense (64.7 ppg allowed). The Eagles scoring just under a point per possession and allow 1.14 ppp. They are shooting 49.5% from the floor and grabbing over 37 rebounds a game.

So far EWU is playing at a fast pace, getting 80.9 possession per game which is the best in the Big Sky. Against their only Division I opponent coming into this weekend, Washington, they had 81 possessions.

The Eagles currently have 5 players averaging at least 10 ppg with three players in their starting lineup shooting at least 50% from the field. Sophomore guard Tyler Harvey leads the Eagles in scoring with 18.7 ppg. The 6’4″ guard is shooting 46% from the field and over 48% from three. Harvey dropped a team-high 28 points vs Washington. 6’7″ forward Venky Jois is EWU’s second leading scorer at 15 ppg while hitting 64% from the floor. The player that does a little of everything for EWU is junior guard Drew Brandon. He is the team’s leading rebounder (9.7 rpg) and assist man (7.3 apg) while scoring 10 ppg. Had a double-double (13 pts/14 rebs) vs Washington.

KenPom Score Projection: LIU Brooklyn, 80-76 (65% Win Probability)


Game 5 Opponent (Conference Affiliation): Boston University (Patriot League)

2013-14 Record (going into this weekend’s action): 2-1; Last game: Loss at Connecticut 60-77

Current KenPom Ranking: 101 out of 351

Time: 4:30 PM (Sunday, 11/24)

Location: Bren Events Center, Irvine, CA

TV/Web/Radio Coverage: W: None/R: WUFC – 1510AM Boston 

Meeting History: 6th all-time meeting. LIU Brooklyn leads series 4-1. Last meeting: 1992-93 (W, 80-77)

Game Notes Links: Boston U. – LIU Brooklyn

Boston U. Players to Watch:

1. Dom Morris #15 – 6’7″ Forward – Sr. – 17.3 ppg/2.5 rpg/7.7 apg/64.5 FG%/85.7 FT%/27.3 mpg
2. Maurice Watson Jr. #1 – 5’10” Guard – So. – 15.7 ppg/4.7 rpg/6.0 apg/57.9 FG%/50.0 FT%/30.3 mpg
3. D.J. Irving #13 – 6’0″ Guard – Sr. – 10.0 ppg/4.3 rpg/28.6 FG%/72.7 FT%/33.3 mpg

Matchup to Watch: LIU’s E.J. Reed vs UCI’s Dom Morris

About Boston U.: The Boston University Terriers was the preseason favorite to win the Patriot League this season. They come into the weekend at 2-1 having faced only fellow New England teams in Northeastern, UMass-Lowell and UConn.

The Terriers are averaging 74.3 ppg offensively while allowing 70.3 ppg. Their 1.04 ppp is in the middle of the pack among Patriot League teams and they allow 1.01 ppp on the defensive end. They play at a moderate pace, getting around 71 possessions a game.

Senior forward Dom Morris leads Boston U. in scoring at 17.3 ppg. He is mostly a post player who is shooting 64.5% from the field. He is also the Terriers’ leading rebounder at 7.7 rpg. His points per 40 minutes is 25.4 so he is easily the main scoring threat for BU. Morris went for 27 points in BU’s game vs UMass-Lowell. Another player who is going to be a challenge for the Blackbirds is point guard Maurice Watson Jr. The 5’10” sophomore is scoring 15.7 ppg and dishing out 6 apg and is also grabbing 4.7 rpg at his height. He has consistent scoring outing in all three BU’s game thus far, scoring between 13 and 18 points. Senior guard D.J. Irving is averging 10 ppg although he is shooting just 28.6% from the floor but he is hitting a third of his three attempts (6 for 18). Irving scored 17 against UConn in their last game.

KenPom Score Projection: Boston U., 80-74 (29% Win Probability)

LIU Brooklyn MBB announce three early signees for 2014-15

Yesterday, LIU Brooklyn announced the early signings of three new players for next season, Trevon Woods, Trevin Woods and Elvar Fridriksson.

The expected signings of twin brothers Trevon and Trevin Woods took place at their high school yesterday afternoon at their high school. Here is a picture of signing put out on Twitter by Stephen F. Austin High School basketball @AHSdawg_hoops:

In case you missed it, here is my post from when the Woods twins originally committed to LIU.

Also announced was the signing of Elvar Fridriksson, a 5’11” point guard from Iceland. One of the first things I noticed in my research of Fridriksson is the amount of experience he already has under his belt both internationally and domestically in his native country. He played at Under-18 European Championships for Iceland in 2012, playing in 9 games and averaging 10.3 ppg/3.1 rpg/2.4 apg/34% FG/33.3 3FG%/25.3 mpg. He had 4 double-digit scoring games including 18 points vs Norway and 22 points vs Sweden.

He has also been playing for a team called Njardvik in Iceland’s top basketball league since 2009. Last season, Fridriksson played in 25 games for Njardvik where he averaged 19.6 ppg/4.8 apg/3.5 rpg while shooting 46.5% from the field and 30.8% from three-point land. This season through six games, Fridriksson is averaging 26.0 ppg/7.0 apg/2.6 rpg while shooting 54.5% from the field and 51.5% from three including a game in which he scored 37 points (even with going 0-3 from three) and dished 7 assists. 

Also interesting about Elvar Fridriksson, he will turn 20 years old around the time next season begins which would make him the equivalent age-wise to a college sophomore or junior rather than a freshman.

Even a player in Iceland has YouTube highlight videos and Fridriksson has few. Here are is a highlght video from his 2012-13 season with Njardvik (Fridriksson wears #10):

Gotta love the Metallica blasting at the start of this video!

Obviously, he isn’t bashful shooting the ball. Loves to shoot the three and has great shooting range. He also shows very good ball handling. He can crossover and get to the basket, can shoot the floater in a lane and can hit the pull-up jumper from short range.

The question that is going to be quickly asked is, how good is the level of competition in Iceland that he putting up these big numbers? We can safely assume it is likely not the highest of levels of basketball in Iceland but there is no denying the kid looks like he has plenty of skills and ability that could very well fit LIU Brooklyn’s style of play.

Congrats to Travis and Trevon Woods and Elvar Fridriksson for signing with LIU Brooklyn and look forward to seeing them all on the court next season.

NEC MBB Week 1 Recap

With LIU Brooklyn in the middle of a ten day layoff between games, it is a good time to review the first week of the NEC basketball season and see how the rest of the league has started out their 2013-14 campaign.

– One upset and one near close upset was the story of the NEC the first few days, both from the Brooklyn teams. St. Francis Brooklyn beat the ACC’s Miami (FL) on the road in overtime and LIU Brooklyn was one Jason Brickman shot away from beating Indiana on their home court, losing by one. Plus there was some other good wins for the NEC: Robert Morris winning on the road at Lafayette and Bryant’s throttling of Vermont at home.

– Yes, its just week one but you have to pay attention to the numbers Bryant’s Dyami Starks is putting up. Through his team’s first three games, Starks has already scored an even 100 points! He dropped back-to-back 35 point games in a opening game loss at Gonzaga and a win at Dartmouth and then he eased up and scored just 30 on Vermont in the Bulldogs’ home opener on Saturday. Starks is currently the nation’s leading scorer at a 33.3 ppg clip. What is more impressive, he is shooting 54% from the field and 44% from three. He has started the year on fire in helping Bryant get off to a 2-1 start.

– Another player who is a national statistical leader in LIU’s Jason Brickman. Through LIU’s first two games, Brickman has 25 assists after getting 14 vs Saint Peter’s and another 11 vs Indiana (most of the national sport sites have him at 24 assists with just 10 asts vs Indiana but he did end up with 11 versus IU). Brickman is currently the only player nationally averaging double-digits assists at 12.5 apg. Brickman, at this current pace, will break the NEC career assist record of 804 (Drafton Davis, Marist, 1984-88) on December 5th at Seton Hall, LIU’s seventh game of the season. He is currently 61 assists away from the record.

– Teams who has surprised early: Bryant and St. Francis Brooklyn. Bryant is off to a 2-1 start as I mentioned. The Bulldogs are off to a flying start offensively averaging an NEC-leading 83.3 ppg. Along with Starks’ hot start, the Bulldogs are getting big contributions from their other starters Alex Francis, Joe O’Shea and Corey Maynard. Francis is averaging 16.7 ppg/7 rpg, O’Shea is averaging 11.7 ppg and Corey Maynard running the point is averaging 9.3 ppg/6.0 rpg/4.3 apg. Bryant is shooting a blistering 52.8% from the field through their first three games and knocking down almost 33% of their three-pointers. Something to watch out for though is the amount of minutes their big four is logging early on. Starks/Francis/O’Shea/Maynard all are playing 30 mpg-plus to start. We’ll see how all these minutes will effect them come later in the season. St. Francis Brooklyn is also off to a 2-1 start but they have been doing it on the defensive end of the floor. Their are currently at the top of the NEC in scoring defense allowing just 65.7 ppg. They are currently the only NEC team allowing under a point per possession defensively (0.89 ppp). Jalen Cannon is off a great start to his junior season with 14.3 ppg/9.0 rpg through their first three games. But it has been the early play of freshman forward Wayne Martin who has opened some eyes at St. Francis Brooklyn. Martin is the Terriers’ second-leading scorer and rebounder at 12.7 ppg/6.0 rpg. Martin was been key in their two wins at Miami (FL) and at Florida Atlantic. He was named the first NEC Rookie of the Week of the season.

– Two teams who have been a disappointment early: Central Connecticut and Mount St. Mary’s. Central Connecticut is off a 0-3 start after losses to Yale, Purdue and Northeastern. Grant it, they have yet to play a home game but this is a team that was expected to get off to a better start. Kyle Vinales has picked up right where he left off last season averaging 26.0 ppg in his first two games but missed the team’s last game at Northeastern with an undisclosed injury. The Blue Devils have lost every game so far by an average of 22 points. They are dead last in the NEC in scoring defense allowing 95 ppg and defensive PPP at 1.22 ppp. After Vinales, they have no one else averaging in double-digit scoring. Mount St. Mary’s in now 0-4 after four straight road losses to some teams (West Virginia, Purdue, BYU, UMBC). The Mount blew a 23-point lead to UMBC with 14 minutes to play and lost in overtime on Sunday afternoon. Although Julian Norfleet is having an excellent start to his senior year (19.8 ppg/5.8 apg/45 FG%), his teammates haven’t been as fortunate. Sam Prescott in particular is off to a real tough start (7.0 ppg/26.5 FG%). Their schedule and travel has been brutal to start and they have yet to play at Knott Arena but they were hoping to get off to better start than this. Mount Mayhem has yet to get into full effect. They’re scoring offense and offensive PPP is the middle of the pack and are near the bottom in scoring defense and defensive PPP.

– How do you score 118(!) points….and still lose. That was what Sacred Heart was pondering on Wednesday night after losing to Holy Cross in double overtime 122-118. Sacred Heart blew a four-point lead with 13 seconds left to go to overtime and then lose. Both teams scored 98 points in regulation. Evan Kelley, back from missing most of last season with injury, scored a career-high 32 points, Steve Glowiak put in 28 points off the bench yet couldn’t fend off the Crusaders at the end. A tough loss for the Pioneers.

– Lastly, last night it was the rematch between Robert Morris and Kentucky and this time around, it wasn’t a contest. Kentucky and their new band of future NBA stars, took it to RMU early and routed the Colonials 87-49 at Rupp Arena. RMU shot just 23.2% on the Wildcats and superior size, speed and strength. No one on RMU with the exception of Desjuan Newton (11 pts/6 shots/5 rebs/19 mins) and off the bench had a good game in this one. RMU though is still off to a good 2-2 start.