LIU Brooklyn reportedly part of the Preseason NIT

LIUNIT

LIU Brooklyn’s non-conference schedule might have gotten a whole lot clearer with news from CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein who tweeted out the following on Sunday morning:

LIU would be the fourth and final team in the St. John’s pod of the 2014 Preseason NIT which will be played at St. John’s Carnesecca Arena in November. The other two teams confirmed to play in this pod is Stony Brook from the America East and Saint Joseph’s from the Atlantic 10.

Other confirmed teams in the 16-team field participating in the 2014 Preseason NIT are Georgia, Gonzaga, Minnesota and Western Kentucky.

LIU’s participation in the Preseason NIT means four games of their non-conference schedule for the upcoming 2014-15 season is now involved in this event. Their opening opponent has yet to be announced but it would not be a surprise if LIU starts out with the host St. John’s with the other game being between either Stony Brook or Saint Joseph’s. The winners will advance and play one another and while the losers face one another.

If LIU doesn’t get out of the St. John’s pod and advance to the semi-final round at Madison Square Garden, they will then play two games at a to-be-determined host who is part of the Preseason NIT but did not advance to MSG from one of the other three pods.

With LIU reportedly included in the Preseason NIT, we now know nine games of LIU’s non-conference schedule. The list of these games as well as four of LIU’s 18 NEC games can be found in the LIU Schedule Tracker.

Kyle Johnson named to Great Britain’s 22-man squad for EuroBasket 2015 Qualifications

Kyle Johnson (#14) returns to play for the Great Britain’s national team this summer in 2015 FIBA EuroBasket qualifications. (Photo Credit: GB Basketball)

2011 LIU Brooklyn graduate Kyle Johnson has been once again named to Great Britain’s senior men’s basketball team for this summer as it was announced by GB Basketball on Friday. Great Britain will be trying to qualify for the 2015 FIBA European Basketball Championships aka EuroBasket.

This will be the 4th straight summer the 6’4″ guard has been choosing to play for Great Britain. He last wore the Great Britain jersey last summer at the 2013 FIBA EuroBasket. He played in all five games, logging 27.4 mpg. He averaged 8.0 ppg while grabbing 4.0 rpg and shooting 33.3% for the field. Great Britain finished with 2-3 record and finished in 13th place and didn’t qualify for this summer’s FIBA World Cup in Spain.

Johnson has also appeared for Great Britain at the 2011 FIBA EuroBasket, and the 2012 London Summer Olympics. Altogether, Johnson has appeared in 14 games for Great Britain averaging 5.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg and 0.5 apg in 16.7 mpg.

Johnson last season played for two teams in Europe. He first played for FMC Ferentino in Italy appearing in just five games before moving on and signing with Vanoli Cremona in Italy, appearing in 14 games for them. All totaled in 19 games last season, Johnson started twice averaging 5.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg and while shooting 39% from the floor in 17.4 mpg.

Johnson this summer will be joined by another NEC alum in recent St. Francis Brooklyn graduate Ben Mockford who was also selected to the Team GB 22-man roster. This is Mockford’s first call up to the Great Britain senior national team.

Great Britain will play warm-up games versus Latvia, Belgium, Belarus, Moldova and Georgia in July and August before taking on Iceland and Bosnia-Herzegovina in the EuroBasket qualification games from August 10-24.

LIU Brooklyn gets verbal commit from Martin Hermannsson of Iceland according to report

Martin Hermannsson (#15) is on his way to Downtown Brooklyn to play for LIU next season according to a report. (Photo credit: http://www.karfan.is)

The roster moves continue for Jack Perri and the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds, as it is being reported by Hörður Tulinius of www.karfan.is in Iceland (the website is in Icelandic, use Google translate to read in English) that they have landed a verbal commitment from 6’3″ shooting guard Martin Hermannsson from Iceland. Sources confirm the report.

Hermannsson, once it becomes official, will become the second 2014 commit from Iceland joining point guard Elvar Fridriksson who signed with LIU back in November.

Hermannsson played for K.R. Basket Reykjavík in the Icelandic Dominos League which is Iceland’s top basketball league. He started in 31 of the 32 games he played last season and averaged 18.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, and 4.5 apg while shooting 49.3% from the field and 43.6% from three-point range. He also shot 81.2% from the free throw line and had 1.91 steals per game while playing 31.5 minutes per game last season. His team finished the season with a 29-3 record and won the 2013-14 Icelandic Dominos League in their finals 3 games to 1. He is also a member of the Icelandic senior national basketball team and was the youngest member of their current roster.

Just like his country-mate Fridriksson, Hermannsson will turn 20 years old by the time the season tips off in mid-November.

Also, Hermannsson becomes the third player for Iceland to come into the NEC next season joining Fridriksson, and St. Francis Brooklyn commit 6’2″ shooting guard Gunnar Olafsson.

Here is a four-year old scouting report of Hermannsson from europeanprospects.com from when he played in under-16 Nordic Championships:

“Hermannsson can play the PG position which will probably also be his position in the future as he has quite a good court vision and can also play the drive very well with some interesting fakes and looks for his team mates. He can also control the game speed and calm the team down when it is necessary. Hermannsson can put the ball on the floor with both hands and finish as well close to the basket against taller players as he protects his lay-ups pretty well. On the defensive end, Hermannsson plays the occasional steal but is not present that much. Being not overly physical, he may struggle on this side of the court in the future when playing against stronger guards.”

Although he will be playing mostly the shooting guard spot at LIU, it is good to know he is capable of handling the ball like a point guard as this video can attest:

Unfortunately, there is very little video online of him in game action.

Hermannson becomes the fifth committed freshman and sixth newcomer to join LIU Brooklyn for the 2014-15 season joining incoming freshmans Fridriksson, Trevon Woods, Trevin Woods, and Jamil Hood Jr. Also Hofstra transfer Jordan Allen will be joining LIU next season although his commitment has yet to be made official.

With this latest addition, LIU by my count at this moment has 15 scholarship players on their roster. This means two more players who played last season will likely not be returning joining E.J. Reed and D.J. Griggs who have both transferred out of LIU Brooklyn. We should soon learn who these final two players will be.

LIU will be quite a young team next season with five true freshman, one redshirt freshman (Nura Zanna) and three sophomores (Iverson Fleming, Glenn Feidanga, and Joel Hernandez) making up about two-thirds of the team’s roster next season. 2014-15 will once again be quite an interesting season for soon-to-be third year head coach Jack Perri and his coaching staff. It will be a busy summer and fall of teaching for the coaching staff and learning for the players at the Steinberg Wellness Center in Downtown Brooklyn.

Jason Brickman signs pro contract with Dynamo Moscow in Russia; Jamal Olasewere cleared to return to the court

Three-time NEC champion and 1000 career-assist man, former LIU Brooklyn point guard Jason Brickman officially joins the professional ranks as he has signed, according to Josh Hyber of the San-Antonio Express-News, a reported 3-year deal with Dynamo Moscow in Russia.

Brickman recently graduated from LIU Brooklyn this past May and leaves LIU as their school’s and the NEC’s all-time leading assist-man with 1,009 career assists which put him fourth on the all-time NCAA career assist list. Brickman this past season became the second player in NCAA history to finish his season with double-digit season averages in points and assists.

The team Brickman signed with, Dynamo Moscow, plays in the Russian Superleague, which is Russia’s second division league. Last season, Dynamo Moscow finished sixth in the 14-team league with a 16-10 record. The team plays in a 5,000-seat arena called Krylatskow Sport Palace.

Also according to Josh Hyber, who spoke with Brickman and broke the news for the Express-News, his deal has a club option after the second season, which means he will get at least two guaranteed years from the club.

Also, in LIU alumni news, another three-time NEC champion and 2013 NEC Player of the Year, former LIU Brooklyn forward Jamal Olasewere announced on his Twitter feed this morning, that he has been cleared to return to the basketball court after sitting out this entire 2013-14 season.

Olasewere played for the Nigerian national team at the 2013 FIBA African Championship last summer in the Ivory Coast and signed a pro deal to play for Vanoli Cremona in the Italian Serie A, which is Italy’s top professional league. Olasewere did not pass his team physical for the club prior to the season and was sent back to home with an unknown heart condition.

Today, he put out these series of tweets with the news of his medical clearance:

We wish Jason congratulations and good luck as he begins his journey into pro ball and we will be keeping an eye out on him next season in Russia. Also, congrats and good luck to Jamal as he begins his return back to basketball and hopefully we will get to see him play sometime this summer and/or this upcoming basketball season.

E.J. Reed and D.J. Griggs are both reportedly transferring from LIU Brooklyn

With the additions of Jamil Hood Jr. during the regular signing period and then the reports of Hofstra’s Jordan Allen transferring to LIU Brooklyn, the Blackbirds had a surplus of players on their roster and just not enough scholarships to accommodate them all. Well, it looks like the transfer news that Blackbirds fans have been waiting to hear about has finally come to pass as reports and tweets have come out over the last 24 hours.

Brad Keith of the Stephenville Empire-Tribune first reported on Friday that junior forward E.J. Reed will be transferring from the LIU Brooklyn program and will be heading to Tarleton State University, a Division II school in Stephenville, Texas.

The news comes as somewhat of a surprise since Reed was LIU’s leading scorer this past season at 12.3 ppg and started in all 29 games for the Blackbirds. In his freshman season, he was widely considered as the runner-up for NEC Rookie of the Year award which went to Mount St. Mary’s Shivaughn Wiggins who ironically also ended up transferring after the season.

Reed played in 63 games for LIU Brooklyn and started in 31 games for Jack Perri. His scoring numbers improved this past season as he went from scoring 7.7 ppg his freshman season to 12.3 ppg last season. His shooting numbers though decreased last season from 50.6% from the field his freshman year to 44% last season. His three-point shooting also went down from 38.9% two years ago to 24.1% last season.

After his rather surprising freshman season, expectations had risen for Reed and it was the hope of many that he would be the next big star forward at LIU Brooklyn following the graduation of Jamal Olasewere and playing along side Julian Boyd in the front court. After Boyd went down once again last summer, more of the focus was put on Reed to be more of a scorer and leader on this transitioning LIU Brooklyn team.

Although Reed scoring numbers was respectable, he was constantly in foul trouble, seemingly all season long. He fouled out of eight games this past season and finished with 101 fouls which led LIU Brooklyn and was fourth in the NEC. He also had the knack of committing the bad foul at bad times in games. It just didn’t seem like he made the sort of improvement a lot of people were hoping he would make.

Reed had no shortage of athletisicm and talent during his two seasons at LIU. He put some great highlight dunks and plays in his two seasons in Downtown Brooklyn. The best for me was this one this past season against Indiana at Assembly Hall in LIU’s near upset of the Hoosiers back in November. (Highlight is from 2:06 to 2:11)

Also, the second player leaving LIU Brooklyn is backup junior point guard D.J. Griggs. Verbal Commits on Twitter tweeted the following on Saturday afternoon:

He was the third point guard on the depth chart in his freshman season behind Jason Brickman and C.J. Garner. He played in only 21 games with one start while scoring 1.2 ppg in 7.5 mpg. Griggs got his only start his freshman year while Garner was out serving a two-game NEC suspension in January of 2013.

Last season, Griggs played in 23 games, all coming off the bench. He showed flashes of good play during parts of this past season. Three times he scored over 10 ppg with his best game as a Blackbird coming in a loss at Wagner where he scored 12 points in 24 minutes.

Griggs towards the end of the season had lost his spot to freshman guard Iverson Fleming who was getting the playing time at the backup point guard position and guard Joel Hernandez was getting more playing time as well. Griggs didn’t play in the team’s final six games of the season. The writing was pretty much on the wall for Griggs.

Too many times Griggs would try to go up against the big boys inside and would consistently get blocked or create a turnover. He also would force too many bad shots from deep, not in the flow of the offense. He had more turnovers (20) than assists (19) in his two seasons at LIU.

With the departure of Reed and Griggs, there are no remaining members of the 2012 freshman class. The third member, Taurean Prince, never played a game at LIU and transferred to Baylor prior to the 2012-13 season after former LIU head coach Jim Ferry left to take the head coaching job at Duquesne.

These moves now leaves LIU with 14 players: Guards – Gerrell Martin (Sr.), Gilbert Parga (R-Sr.), Troy Joseph (R-Sr.), Iverson Fleming (So.), Joel Hernandez (So.), Elvar Fridriksson (Fr.), Trevin Woods (Fr.), Trevon Woods (Fr.), Jamil Hood Jr. (Fr.); Forwards – Landon Atterberry (Sr.), Chris Carter (Sr.), Jordan Allen (R-Jr.), Glenn Feidanga (So.), Nura Zanna (R-Fr.).

The Jordan Allen transfer has yet to be made official so, for now, LIU officially has 13 players on the roster for next season although word on if Troy Joseph will be medically cleared to play his senior season is still unknown. So the moves are not over yet for the Blackbirds but now there is more clarity to next season’s LIU Brooklyn roster.