Final Report Card for the 2013-14 LIU Brooklyn MBB

It is time to post up the final grade for this season’s LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball team. Some players made the grade but there were others who fell short of expectation. Some surprised while others will need to take this summer and work on themselves and their games. Time to see who made the grade this season and whose got work to do over the summer.

Starters

Jason Brickman – Brickman was the undisputed leader of this team all season. He tried as much as he could to carry this team that included seven newcomers. Even though, he had played with just four players on the team prior to this season, Brickman once again lead the NCAA in assists at 10 per game and finished with his career high 11.3 ppg average. The fact that he was able to get to 1000 career assists and average a double-double this season is quite remarkable. His season was nothing short of outstanding.

Final Grade: A

Gerrell Martin – Martin started his season of good note with a career-high 24 points against Saint Peter’s. He would go on to have an inconsistent non-conference season averaging 10.7 ppg in 13 games. As the season progress, it was visibly apparent that Martin was becoming one of the leaders on this team both vocally and with his play. He averaged 10.2 ppg through the first 7 NEC games before he was out of the lineup for three games with a shoulder injury. Upon his return, Martin took it upon himself to be the go-to player on this team and twice surpassed his career-high with 26 points against Sacred Heart and then 31 points the next game against CCSU in a must-win game. He finished the last six games averaging 16 ppg. He shot over 44% from the field and from three.

“I said to Gerrell (on Saturday), he was shooting on the gun and I said to him, this is going to be your team next year. You’re going to have to be a vocal leader. You’re going to have to take on a lot of responsibility.” – Perri on this being Martin’s team next season.

Final Grade: B

Troy Joseph – Joseph came into this season with the speculation that this would be his final year at LIU as we would find out that doctors had advised him to call it a career after this season due to his bad knees which he has had micro-fracture surgery on while at LIU. He participated in Senior Day festivities this past Saturday and his LIU is still in doubt. Final answers should come in the next few weeks or so. On the court, Joseph played in all 29 games and started in 23 of them. He doubled his scoring average from last season to 6.9 ppg this season while finishing second on the team in rebounding all while dealing with a shoulder injury that had bothered him all season long. The shoulder injury might have affected his shooting this season. He has one of the prettier looking jumpers on the team but his shooting number didn’t reflect it. He shot just 35% from the field and under 30% from three this season, both below his shooting numbers last season.

“I feel bad that Troy didn’t have the statistical year that he wanted. But he did have the mental makeup. That is what you see and that is what I love to see. Everyday he played so hard in practice and he likes, Coach what else can I do? I don’t want this team to go down, we’ve come so far. He became an unbelievable leader. It made me feel so good. To see that, you can grab on to that to help out with things, so we will see with Troy.” – Perri on Joseph’s season.

Final Grade: C

E.J. Reed – Reed was coming off a very good freshman season where he was named onto the NEC All-Rookie team and was considered the runner-up for NEC Rookie of the Year. So expectations for Reed had increased with the graduation of Jamal Olasewere and without the service of Julian Boyd for the entire season. Reed showed at times why there is so much expectation with him. He scored 15 or more points eleven times this season and three times went for 20 or more. The problem with Reed all season long was keeping him on the court with his persistent and consistent foul problems. He fouled out eight times this season, the same number he had his freshman year. He easily led LIU in fouls with 101, 13 more than the next player. He committed 3.5 fouls per game and also led the NEC in fouls. Reed shooting numbers also took a dip this season. His field goal percentage fell by over 6% and his three-point shooting percentage dropped over 14%. He did lead LIU in rebounding and blocks but was also second in turnovers after Brickman. This is going to be a big summer coming up for Reed. He needs to improve on his whole game and he needs to work on becoming a leader and becoming more mature because in those departments he was very disappointing.

“E.J. is got to make a decision. Did I think he was going to be more consistent this year? Yeah and I think he had a lot of inconsistencies. It was frustrating at time for him and for me. He’s got to make a decision on how badly he wants it and how badly he wants to be great. He’s had some unbelievable people before him that, between Jamal Olasewere, C.J. Garner, and Julian, just being around those guys. If you don’t get that around those guys, you are not going to get it. I’m hoping that he does.”

Final Grade: C- 

Landon Atterberry – Atterberry came into the season thinking his role would be coming off the bench and playing 20 to 25 minutes behind E.J. Reed and Julian Boyd. But due to Boyd’s and Nura Zanna’s injuries, he was pressed into the starting lineup out of position in the 5 spot. He held his own during the first half of the season. He averaged 12.7 ppg during non-conference play while shooting 56% from the field. He was the first half co-MVP along with Jason Brickman. Once NEC play started, Atterberry play started the dip as the toll of have to guard bigger player consistently plus produce inside on the offensive end started to become a factor. In NEC play, he averaged just 9.3 ppg and he shot just 48.5% from the floor. He did have some great game including scoring 22 at Texas State and 20 versus St. Francis Brooklyn in the Battle of Brooklyn game. Overall, Atterberry did yeoman’s work for most of the season. He finished shooting over 54% and made near 32% of his threes. Might need to work on his rebounding some more over the summer and building up more strength but he did a good job for LIU this season.

Final Grade: B-

Gilbert Parga – If you want to talk a player whose season was completed derailed by injuries, you don’t have to look past Gilbert Parga. He was off to a nice start in his LIU career through the first ten games scoring 11.1 ppg and getting to the free throw line a ton which his consistent driving to the basket. He was good inside/outside threat that LIU needed to fill with the departures of C.J. Garner and Jamal Olasewere, even though he wasn’t the slasher type like those guys were. Unfortunately, injuries got in way. He got a laceration in practice which caused him to miss two games. Then he returned and played great for a game and a half before suffering an achilles injury which hampered him all season long. He missed eight more games due to his strained achilles and upon his return was not really the same player he was earlier. He shooting numbers were woeful at 35% from the floor and a miserable 29% from three in which he was suppose to be a threat from deep for LIU. Hopefully, next season he can stay healthy and become the player he was on his way to being during the first half of the season.

“Gilbert Parga unfortunately, he just never got healthy and he was such a key because he was probably our second best player all preseason. If you go back and watch the Saint Peter’s game and the Indiana game, you’re like Oh my God. Now you look at him and he is a shell of himself. You hope that he gets back.” – Perri on Parga

Final Grade: C-

Joel Hernandez – Another player who was slowed by injury this season was freshman Joel Hernandez. He missed the first twelve games of the season due to a hip/back injury and it took him awhile to get back into shape. Once he rounded into shape, he showed flashes of what Blackbirds fans can expect from him in the future. At 6’3″, he is built pretty solidly and will only get stronger. Needs to work on finishing around the rim, that will hopefully come with time in the weight room. He hit 1 of his first 8 threes before going 5 for 13. Hit double-figure three times in the last seven game including 17 in a big game versus CCSU. Will likely be a potential building piece for the future here at LIU.

“(Joel Hernandez) is a kid that I wanted and we were able to get. First week of preseason, he goes down with a back injury and he is out from mid-September. As a freshman, you don’t have a preseason or any practice time until January. I think you saw that kid has some ability that he has the potential to be an all-league player if he puts his mind to it. He does, absolutely. He has the athleticism, the skill to be a really, really talented player here.”

Final Grade: C

Iverson Fleming – Fleming was another freshman who showed some flashes of greatness this season. His best games came when he was ability to penetrate and get to the basket. Fleming has a smooth looking look to his game when he gets it going. Went for a season-high 22 against NJIT and 18 in a loss to Mount St. Mary’s and nearly made the shot of the season with a half-court that was disallowed. Was a better than expected ball handler. At brief times, ran the point and looked comfortable doing so but I don’t think that is where his future will lie with LIU. I think he has to get stronger and work more on his outside game some more. He had a little C.J. Garner to his game. If he can harness that, LIU has got something.

“I think Iverson Fleming is got some real toughness to him. He tries to win every race. He tries to win everything. That is a good quality to have in one of your guards.” – Perri on Fleming

Final Grade: C

Glenn Feidanga – Feidanga got the most playing time of the three freshman this season. Was pressed into more minutes than he was likely going to get coming into this season due to the Boyd and Zanna injuries. He fought through nagging injuries to his shoulders and ankles to play in every game this season. Once he got fully healthy, played impressively well in particularly against Bryant and Mount St. Mary’s where he got his only double-double of the season. Fouls was his biggest downfall this season. Finished second on the team in fouls behind E.J. Reed. Getting all this playing time this season should be beneficial in his progress going to next season. Will need to work on his hands and his low post game over the summer but all in all, was a helpful contributor this season.

Final Grade: C

D.J. Griggs – Griggs played in the first 23 games before riding the bench the last six games. Griggs got some more playing time this season due to all the injuries on the LIU roster. Had himself a couple of nice games this season. He had three double figure scoring games including 12 at Wagner and 10 against Mount St. Mary’s. The problem with Griggs is that he looks like he is playing out of control all of the time. He will take an ill-advised shot at bad times. He will draw a needless foul. He get caught saying to somebody and anger an opponent and get himself put on the bench. A lot of times, he was his own worst enemy. He tries to battle the trees inside at times and it usually never worked out in his favor at his height and size. He does things that makes you scratch your head and he could be a question mark going into next season.

“D.J. has been really inconsistent. He has got to be more consistent with everything. I like D.J. We’ll see.” – Perri on Griggs’ season.

Final Grade: C- 

Nura Zanna – Zanna’s season never got started with his terrible preseason wrist injury. If he can recover 100% and become the player a lot of people thought he might be coming into this season, LIU could have a potential NEC Rookie of the Year candidate on their hands. Sitting next to a player like Julian Boyd all season long can’t hurt in his future development either. Looking forward to see him on the court next season.

“Its taken long. What ended up happening, it is a really hard surgery and it was a big ligament break. So whatever happened, it split open again so he had another surgery. Now we’re talking April hopefully. He is running now and he is starting to use (his wrist). It takes a while to get that motion back because his arm has been in one position for six to eight months. He’ll be able to go full go in August I think. But he’ll able to do individual workouts and stuff throughout.” – Perri on Zanna’s progress with his wrist injury

Final Grade: No Grade

Chris Carter – Carter played in only seven games this season due to a foot injury which costed him the final 20 games of the season. He had two DNP’s before his injury due to him having not having a good preseason. Early on, it seemed like he showed some timidness or lack of confidence but there was just something off with his body language. Had a decent game against UC-Irvine hitting 4 of 7 shots. Clearly, had his best game against Seton Hall with 12 points making 4 of 6 shots. Not sure what his role will be next season. At 6’7″, he is an asset but will need to be ready to compete this summer and fall if he is to be a part of the rotation next season. I believed he missed getting a medical redshirt for the season by one game as he was available for nine games that is above the NCAA 30% games played threshold.

Final Grade: C- 

Jack Perri – Coach Perri has had two of the toughest seasons during his first two years of a Division I head coach. Last year, LIU was the favorite and had to deal with ton of adversity but ultimately won a third straight championship. This season, Perri faced a daunting task of fielding a competitive team for a try at four straight championships while intriguing seven new players. It was an uphill battle Perri was facing and things were only made harder once the injuries starting popping up and then started mounting up. The front court depth of this team was ruining before game one had even started. Then lose a few more players for long lengths of time and having to go with mostly inexperiences guys or guys that aren’t ready yet to help this team to many victories, it was a difficult season for Perri. To his credit, he stayed positive and believed in his team. Things didn’t go as expected this season but I believe Perri did the best job he could with the players he had. I think he believes he could have had a better job this season and that is likely so but he was handled a tough spot in a league that several good teams with many veterans on them. Perri will learn from this season and hopefully come back stronger with a healthier team next season.

Final Grade: B 

Offense – The offense scored 71.7 ppg this season. Not surprisingly, it is a full seven points less than what they scored last season. LIU shot under 43% as a team from the field this season and just 35.5% from beyond the arc, both their lowest percentages in four seasons. LIU was only able to break 80 points seven times. They currently are 215th in the nation in offense efficiency but should up or down by the time a national champ is crowned. Even in a down year, they were 105th in tempo but didn’t play nearly as fast in the three seasons prior where they were 3rd, 2nd and 35th in the nation.

Final Grade: C-

Defense – The defense this season was bad….really bad. They finished 344th out of 350 Division I in defense efficiency. They allowed almost 80 ppg and team shot an effective field goal percentage of 54.6% which was ranked at 340th in the nation. They allowed 80 or more points fourteen times and allow 90 or more four times including two 100 point games. They were badly exploited from three-point line with teams shooting 39% from deep. There weren’t many pretty numbers on the defensive end. It can only get better from here because it just can’t get much worse.

Final Grade: F

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