Here we are. We’re just five days away from the curtain opening up on the 2013-14 LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball season. This year’s team is in a unique situation as the first ever three-time defending NEC champions and they will have to try and go after an unprecedented fourth NEC championship without most of the players that helped them win the previous three championships.
The Jamal Olaseweres and C.J. Garners of this championship run are now gone. LIU head coach Jack Perri will be looking at several new faces on his bench this season and will be looking for guys to emerge as leaders on this team and other guys to play pivotal roles in order for LIU to stay near the top of the NEC standing yet again this season. There are also some familiar faces returning who are well versed in the success LIU has had in recent years and of course there is uncertainty regarding one of the best players to ever wear a LIU jersey in Julian Boyd who trying to make what could be the comebacks of all comebacks.
All in all, it is going to be quite an interesting season this year in Downtown Brooklyn. So let’s meet the 2013-14 LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds.
Julian Boyd – #42
Sixth-year Senior (Graduate Student)
Position: Forward – mainly plays the 5 position
Height: 6’7″ Weight: 230 lbs.
2012-13 stats: 8 Games Played (8 starts), 18.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 54.6 FG%, 61.7 FT%. 28.6 mpg
Career Stats (4 seasons): 104 Games Played (74 starts), 14.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 53.4 FG%, 34.4 3FG%, 68.5 FT%, 25.7 mpg
Member of all three LIU championship teams. 2009 NEC Rookie of the Year. 2012 NEC Player of the Year.
Julian Boyd has done enough to be considered one of the best player ever at LIU. He is a three-time NEC champ and has been a player of the year. Boyd tore his ACL in LIU’s eighth game last season at Rice and missed the rest of the 2012-13 season. Granted a sixth-year of eligibility in April. In September it was announced that Boyd had re-tore his ACL back in July and that we would be out of action until January at the earliest. All indications at the moment points to Boyd returning in January if there is no further setbacks in his rehab. Boyd has had to deal with a ton of adversity health-wise in his career with his heart issues, his cramping issues and now his knees. Boyd when healthy is one of the best players in the NEC. He is a near double-double machine who can take his game inside and outside. If Boyd returns, it’ll likely not be at a full 100% as Blackbirds fans are accustomed to. Yet, Boyd at even 75% of his former self will go a long way for a team who is going to go into the season lacking size and depth in the front court. If he returns, his playing time might be limited so the impact he will have is still a major unknown factor. But don’t count him out, if he is given the all-clear to play, his drive and determination to go out a winner in his final year will probably be unmatched by any player in the conference.
Jason Brickman – #15
Position: Guard – Starting Point Guard
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 165 lbs.
2012-13 stats: 34 Games Played (34 starts), 9.5 ppg, 8.5 apg, 2.6 rpg, 45.4 FG%, 46.2 3FG%, 79.8 FT%, 36.5 mpg
Career Stats (3 seasons): 101 Games Played (68 starts), 8.4 ppg, 7.1 apg, 2.4 rpg, 44.4 FG%, 41.8 3FG%, 82.3 FT%, 31.4 mpg
Member of all three LIU championship teams. Named to 2013 Preseason All-NEC team. Two-time All-NEC second team selection.
Jason Brickman is one of the elite point guards in the NEC and is one of the best point guard in the nation. Last season he led the NCAA in assists per game with 8.5 apg. He is currently 86 assists short of becoming the NEC all-time leader in career assists. He is undoubted leader of this year’s LIU team. Head coach Jack Perri has called Brickman his quarterback on the court. Brickman’s court vision is unmatched by most point guards in the nation. Will be asked to take on more of an offensive load this season with the graduations of Jamal Olasewere and C.J. Garner. His number one job still will be to facilitate the offense and look for his open teammates. Looked like he put on a little muscle over the summer to help his 6’0″ frame shoulder the addition offensive load. Also looks well conditioned as we will be asked once again to play major minutes at the point. Played over 36 mpg last season and will likely play as much again this season. Also has looked good defensively. Will need to have a big year to keep LIU in the mix for an NEC title. Should finish the year on the All-NEC first team if he stays healthy.
Troy Joseph – #5
Position: Guard/Forward – Starting Small Forward
Height: 6’6″ Weight: 200 lbs.
2012-13 stats: 29 Games Played (0 starts), 3.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 44.4 FG%, 42.1 3FG%, 58.2 FT%, 12.2 mpg
Career Stats (1 season): 29 Games Played (0 starts), 3.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 44.4 FG%, 42.1 3FG%, 58.2 FT%, 12.2 mpg
Member of all three LIU championship teams. Redshirted as a freshman. Missed the entire season due to injury as a redshirt freshman.
Troy Joseph finally stepped on to the court as a LIU Blackbird last season after two seasons of sitting out due to injuries. He showed very good three point shooting range and an ability to get to the boards for rebounds. This season, he will get an opportunity to show what he’s got. He will likely start the season as the starting 3 in the LIU lineup. Due to his past knee issues, he probably won’t play more than 25 mpg although he can push it past it if he is having a good game and staying out of foul trouble. If he is left open, he can knock down the open jump shot. He can drive to the basket but likely will play more out on the perimeter or try to position himself for rebounds. Will be counted on to make the leap forward in his game and do some of the little things in order for LIU to win games. Has the potential to be a double-digit scorer but probably will see him score between 7 to 10 ppg.
Gerrell Martin – #4
Position: Guard – Backup two-guard
Height: 6’3″ Weight: 175 lbs.
2012-13 stats: 32 Games Played (1 start), 3.7 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 44.1 FG%, 41.2 3FG%, 93.8 FT%, 10.4 mpg
Career Stats (2 seasons): 59 Games Played (1 starts), 3.1 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 43.1 FG%, 43.8 3FG%, 84.4 FT%, 8.1 mpg
Member of all three LIU championship teams.
Gerrell Martin has been a bench player through his first two seasons at LIU. His role will increase this season as the team’s sixth man. One of the best three-point shooter on the LIU roster. Last season he also showed he can drive and get to the basket with some surprising finishing ability on several drives to the basket. Martin will finally be given the opportunity to play major minutes and play a major role on this team. He going to have be ready because he is going to be counted on heavily to provide scoring off the bench and provide Perri with quality bench minutes on a team that may not have a ton of depth this season. Some people like him as a possible breakout player in the NEC and he has the potential of being a impact player this season. If he shows confidence from the beginning, he is going to have a very good season and could put up unexpected numbers by the end of the year.
Gilbert Parga – #1
Position: Guard – Starting two-guard
Height: 6’4″ Weight: 205 lbs.
2012-13 stats: Sat out last season after transferring from Citrus College in California.
Career Stats (2 seasons – JuCo): 61 games played (28 starts), 12.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.4 apg, 45.5 FG%, 39.8 3FG%, 72.3 FT%, 22.4 mpg
Member of last season’s LIU championship team.
Gilbert Parga is entering his second year at LIU but will getting his first chance to play after transferring from junior college last season. Parga doubled his scoring average from his freshman season (8.7 ppg) to his sophomore season (17.8 ppg). He is a near 40% three-point shooter in his career and made 52 threes his sophomore season. He got a nice inside-outside game. Took 314 total shots his sophomore season and went to the free throw line 157 times that season. Jack Perri will start Parga at the two-guard spot but will also play some at the 3 position and could even have to see time as a 4 if LIU gets in front court foul trouble. Parga is a legit 6’4″ so he has nice size for a guard in the NEC. Could see him playing very well with Jason Brickman in the backcourt together. Parga could possibly lead the team in scoring this season depending on how far along forward E.J. Reed comes this year.
E.J. Reed – #33
Position: Forward – Starting forward at the 4 position.
Height: 6’6″ Weight: 200 lbs.
2012-13 stats: 34 games played (2 starts), 7.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 50.6 FG%, 38.9 3FG%, 59.1 FT%, 19.4 mpg
Career Stats (1 season): 34 games played (2 starts), 7.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 50.6 FG%, 38.9 3FG%, 59.1 FT%, 19.4 mpg
Member of last season’s LIU championship team. Member of 2013 NEC All-Rookie Team.
E.J. Reed didn’t come to LIU with a lot of hype before his freshman season. But Reed quickly began making people take notice with his nice length, big wingspan, high motor and his athleticism on full display. Reed can jump out of the gym and does very well rebounding the ball. He also a very good shot blocker. Last year he led LIU in blocks per game with nearly one per contest. Had a great last two months of the season last year which included eleven double-digit scoring games including a career-high 25 point vs Mount St. Mary’s. One thing that really hurt Reed last year was his constant foul trouble. He fouled out of eight games last season to lead LIU and had 4 fouls in another 13 games. He can’t afford to get himself into similar foul trouble this season as he is now one of the go-to guys on this LIU team. Also as a freshman, he did show some immaturity at times but he is quickly going to have to be one of the leaders on this team if LIU plans on making any sort of postseason run once again this season. He looks primed and ready for a breakout, All-NEC type of season if he can keep himself out of foul trouble. Could be the next double-double machine at LIU.
D.J. Griggs – #0
Position: Guard – Backup Point Guard
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 170 lbs.
2012-13 stats: 21 games played (1 start), 1.2 ppg, 15 rebs, 8 asts, 14.3 FG%, 23.5 3FG%, 85.7 FT%, 7.4 mpg
Career Stats (1 season): 21 games played (1 start), 1.2 ppg, 15 rebs, 8 asts, 14.3 FG%, 23.5 3FG%, 85.7 FT%, 7.4 mpg
Member of last season’s LIU championship team.
D.J. Griggs is a speedy point guard who will spell Jason Brickman for a few minutes a game this season. Griggs might be the fastest player on this team. Didn’t play a whole lot especially the second half of last season. Played his best game of the season last year in his home state of Texas, scoring 7 points in 11 minutes at Rice. Had a very hard time scoring, as he couldn’t score inside with his small size and he couldn’t get a jump shot to fall almost all season long. He will be ask to not turn the ball over and use his great speed and facilitate the offense and play solid defense when in the game. Could see more playing time early on with some of the freshman backcourt injuries taking place this preseason.
Landon Atterberry – #24
Position: Forward – Likely starting forward at the 5 position
Height: 6’6″ Weight: 210 lbs.
2012-13 stats (Cape Fear C.C.): 18 games played (17 starts), 16.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg 1.3 bpg, 57.8 FG%, 28.6 3FG%, 75.7 FT%, 22.3 mpg
Landon Atterberry seems like he has practiced his way onto Jack Perri’s starting five as LIU’s 5 guy. Watched him in practice last week and he shows plenty of strength and tenacity in the low post. He is not afraid to work the boards and get rebounds as his 6.6 rpg last season showed. Atterberry like E.J. Reed shows he has a great motor and LIU could have a nice tandem in the front court with Reed and Atterberry together. Had very good numbers in junior college last season while playing in just over 22 minutes a game. Had a great shooting percentage in juco. He seems like he can do plenty of damage on the interior. Last season, Atterberry missed a bunch of games due to injury. LIU can ill-afford an injury to him this season. He will need to stay healthy and bring his athleticism and energy to the court every night for the Blackbirds this season.
Chris Carter – #20
Position: Forward – Backup at 4 and 5 positions.
Height: 6’7″ Weight: 185 lbs.
2012-13 stats (Wake Tech C.C.): 33 games played (32 starts), 11.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.2 apg, 49.4 FG%, 36.7 3FG%, 63.4 FT%
Chris Carter is a legit 6’7″ player. He has the length but his lack of size for a guy that tall could be a concern as the season goes on. Jack Perri has said he has had the hardest time adjusting to playing for a Division I program coming from junior college. In watching him practice last week, he seemed to be finally coming around. Needs to put on weight and muscle during the season. Could play well against similar sized 3s and 4s in the NEC but will have a hard time matching up against bigger 4s and 5s in the NEC and in non-conference play. Will likely spell Reed on the court when he needs a breather or when he gets into foul trouble. May take him a few games to make a real contribution but could have success this season if he can adjust to the pace of Division I basketball and find his way to rebounds and points around the rim.
Glenn Feidanga – #23
Position: Forward – Will backup at 5 position mostly.
Height: 6’7″ Weight: 185 lbs.
Glenn Feidanga will get an opportunity to get quality minutes this season as likely the primary backup at the 5 position for Jack Perri due to the injuries with Boyd and Zanna. He is a true 6’7″ and looks like he is built pretty solidly even though he is little on the thin side for a guy playing the 5. There won’t be much pressure on him to score but he will be needed to play good defense, get some blocks and grab both offensive and defensive rebounds and any points he adds will be gravy this season. He will need to take care of the basketball when he does handle it and needs to make good decisions. If he can do that, he can be really solid in this role.
Iverson Fleming – #3
Position: Guard – Combo guard, can play both the 1 and the 2 positions.
Height: 6’1″ Weight: 160 lbs.
Iverson Fleming is a player the coaching staff really like. He is a combo guard and can come off the bench and play at the point or as a shooting guard if needed. Picked up a minor wrist injury last week so I didn’t get to watch him practice. Should be good to go and available for the season opener on Saturday. Fleming from what I’ve been told has good quickness. He has the ability to penetrate and get to the basket as well as hit shots from the perimeter. Could also see quality playing time this season but will need to stay healthy. If he does, he will help provide depth in the back court for Jack Perri.
Joel Hernandez – #11
Position: Guard – Backup at the 2 and the 3 positions.
Height: 6’3″ Weight: 180 lbs.
Joel Hernandez came to LIU with a nice high school resume. Unfortunately, he suffered a hip injury which will keep him off the court to December at the earliest. There is some concern that his injury hasn’t improved as quickly as everyone would like so it will be something to pay attention to as the season goes along. If can get healthy, Hernandez will be a nice addition to the back court as a known shooter in high school. Scored nearly 1600 points in his high school career so he knows how to fill it up. Will likely be during the conference season in which he will have any impact on this LIU team for this season once he comes back to play.
Nura Zanna – #32
Height: 6’7″ Weight: 215 lbs.
Nura Zanna was probably the top recruit for Jack Perri from the 2013 LIU class. Zanna was going to get the opportunity to start at the 5 spot until he suffered a freaky wrist injury on the first day of preseason workouts in September and will be redshirted this season. It was a hard blow for Zanna as he was on a lot of people’s radar as a possible NEC Rookie of the Year candidate, given this great opportunity he was going to receive due to Julian Boyd’s injury over the summer. Now Zanna, who should have two surgeries to correct his wrist injury, will rehab his injury and watch and learn in practice and will get himself ready to play next season. Will have a great leg up as a redshirt freshman for what is looking like a nice 2014 class coming in to LIU next season.
Jack Perri – Head Coach
Second Season – Ninth season overall at LIU Brooklyn – 15th season coaching
20-14 (.588) at LIU Brooklyn
Associate Head Coach for first two NEC championships. Head Coach of last season’s NEC championship team. 2013 Joe B. Hall National Coach of the Year award winner.
Jack Perri did what can only be described as an amazing job as a first-year head coach at LIU last season. There was plenty of pressure on Perri who had plenty of star returnees and were picked in the preseason to win an unprecedented third straight NEC championship. After getting thrown with the curveball of the four player suspensions in the preseason, he then lost his NEC Player of the Year Julian Boyd for the season with his ACL injury. Perri turned around a team without their best player who at their lowest point was 5-10 and 0-3 in the NEC and lost just four games the rest of the season in guiding his team back to a third straight NEC championship. He will have a much different team to coach this season. He is doing more teaching and more coaching this season with a roster full of new players and returnees who are taking on new bigger roles. Perri has been preaching patience and he may at times this season need to have a lot of it. There might be times this season this team is going to look lost or confused and it is going to be up to Perri and his staff to right the ship and get these guys on the same page. Perri knows it is going to a rocky road ahead but he also feels if he can weather the early storm in the learning process and with maybe the hopeful return of Boyd in January, that LIU will be in position to make a push during the NEC season and then hopefully he can rely on his upperclassmen to guide this team late in the season and hopefully during the postseason. Perri is a very bright head coach and I see them making adjustments possibly with the lineup and with player’s roles as the season goes along but I think he will have them in a good position by the end of the season and if things break their way, we could potentially see a nice postseason run. Perri will need to see guys stay healthy and guys who are out return and make positive contributions. If he gets that, I wouldn’t count LIU out of winning another NEC title but it won’t come easy yet again.