Ok, we all know Thursday night loss to Central Connecticut State was rough. Beyond rough. Painful is more like it. We as LIU Brooklyn fans won’t get to see our beloved Blackbirds defend their three straight NEC championships. They will be missing the NEC Tournament for the first time since the 2006-07 season. It has been a depressing last several hours since the loss.
Last night, I and John Templon of Big Apple Buckets faced a devastated and defeated Jack Perri in the stairway of the Steinberg Wellness Center. Perri was at nearly a complete loss for words. I felt bad for him and for his team. It is obvious this season didn’t go as planned. It was obvious after losing five seniors to graduation and two All-NEC players from last season’s team that this season would be different from the last three years. Yet, it seems like after the first two games of the season, the train went off the rails and it was tough getting it back on track.
I can’t recall a season where there has been so many injuries for the Blackbirds. It was tough for Perri to gain any kind of cohesion especially with five new players on the roster. In just these five players alone, Julian Boyd, Nura Zanna, Chris Carter, Joel Hernandez and Gilbert Parga, they missed a combined 100 games this season. 100 games!! Not having Zanna and Boyd at all this season really hurt the competitiveness of this season’s LIU squad.
So comes this Saturday and the season finale for the LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball team. It is Senior Day and it will be the final game for senior Jason Brickman, grad student Julian Boyd, and redshirt junior Troy Joseph who is scheduled to receive his bachelor’s degree in May. Although there is nothing at stake for LIU as a team, it is still a meaningful game in a couple of ways.
This game is very meaningful for Jason Brickman. As we know, he is just three assists shy of being the fourth player ever to reach 1,000 career assists. With 13 assists, he will be the first player since 1988 to average a double-double in points and assists for an entire season. How remarkable is that?! He has been a steady rock at the point guard position since his arrival. He came with virtually no fanfare. People mocked his last name. Now he is leaving with everyone’s admiration, respect and appreciation for what he was able to accomplish in his four seasons at LIU.
We also need to show our great appreciation for Julian Boyd. Boyd was the first major piece to the championship puzzle and without him, there likely wouldn’t be three more years added to the NEC and NCAA championship banners hanging inside the Steinberg Wellness Center. Since we haven’t seen him play in over a year and a half we tend to forget his great talents and accomplishments. He brought confidence, a little cockiness, a desire to be great, great athleticism and highlights and moments that won’t be soon forgotten. He should be given as big an ovation as any LIU player has received. In my opinion, without Julian Boyd, there is likely no NEC three-peat.
Senior Day should still be a great day of celebration for two players that meant so much to this LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball program. They along with last season’s graduates Jamal Olasewere and C.J. Garner represented the core of this three-time NEC championship era and as we said good bye one last time to these LIU greats, let remember even though this season was a tough season for everyone to endure, those championships can’t be taken away from them or from us.
So let’s all go to the Wellness Center on Saturday and show our love and appreciation to these great seniors and then cheer on Jason Brickman to a record-breaking finale and hopefully see him and all the seniors go out with one last victory.