Blackbirds adds junior college transfer Jonathan Tshibuy

LIU Brooklyn’s newest addition, juco transfer Jonathan Tshibuy. (Photo: Missouri State-West Plains Athletics)

It has been a busy 24 hours for the LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball team after a mostly pretty quiet summer. Yesterday, it was announced that redshirt senior guard/forward Troy Joseph had transferred from LIU to play in his home province of Ontario, Canada at McMaster University.

Today, there are multiple reports announcing that LIU Brooklyn has already found Joseph’s replacement on the 2014-15 roster. According to Rouel Hidalgo, who is Communications Director/Coach of the Brookwood Elite AAU team and Barry Hayes of HoopStarsCanada.com, LIU Brooklyn had gotten a commitment from another Canadian guard/forward in junior college transfer Jonathan Tshibuy.

Tshibuy is a 6’5″, 235 lbs guard/forward from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He played the last two season at Missouri State-West Plains junior college in West Plains, Missouri.

Last season, Tshibuy played in just nine games while starting in eight of them. He didn’t play another game after November 23rd. He averaged 10.3 ppg and grabbed 6.8 rpg with 2.8 apg with shooting percentages of 38.1% from the field, 17.6% from three and 56.5% from the free throw line. He scored a season-high 19 points in his final game played last season against Indian Hills Community College.

In his freshman season, he played in 25 games and started 17 of those games. He averaged 9.2 ppg and 5.3 rpg that season while shooting 41.1% from the field, 33.3% from three and 68.3% from the charity stripe.

According to a KSPR article published in April of 2012, Tshibuy was considering schools like George Washington, Dayton and George Mason before committing to play for Missouri State-West Plains.

Tshibuy would become the sixth newcomer to join the LIU Brooklyn roster this season joining the five incoming freshmen in Trevon Woods, Trevin Woods, Jamil Hood Jr., Elvar Fridriksson and Martin Hermannsson.  

Here is his most recent highlight reel from YouTube posted approximately six months ago.

The LIU Brooklyn fall semester begins on Wednesday, September 3rd.

Working the Interior: Previewing the 2014-15 NEC Bigs

Three of the top returning forwards in the NEC in SFC's Jalen Cannon, RMU's Lucky Jones and SFU's Earl Brown (Photo Credit L to R: www.philly.com, blogs.post-gazette.com, Bucknell Athletics)

Three of the top returning forwards in the NEC in SFC’s Jalen Cannon, RMU’s Lucky Jones and SFU’s Earl Brown (Photo Credit L to R: http://www.philly.com, blogs.post-gazette.com, Bucknell Athletics)

It was said at one time a team couldn’t win the Northeast Conference without great guard play. Although that edict still may be true today, it has become clearly apparent that NEC teams also need quality big men on their squads if they have plans to hoist the NEC championship trophy up above their heads come March.

Over the last several years, big time forwards have come to the forefront in the NEC, making big waves and leaving their mark on the conference. Players like LIU’s Jamal Olasewere and Julian Boyd, Bryant’s Alex Francis, CCSU’s Ken Horton, Quinnipiac’s Justin Rutty, and Wagner’s Jonathon Williams among others established themselves as dominated forces on the interior and for some on the exterior as well.

This upcoming season, there are some big names in the front court returning back to help try and lead their teams to a NEC championship as well as some emerging players who could potentially play big roles in their teams’ success in 2014-15.

Let’s take a look at some of the key front court names who you will hear and see plenty of in the NEC and who are some of the guys you should probably take notice of once this upcoming season tips off.

At the very top of this list are three forwards who return who will likely factor in the NEC Player of the Year discussion from day one. These three players are St. Francis Brooklyn’s Jalen Cannon, Robert Morris’ Lucky Jones and Saint Francis U. Earl Brown.

Jalen Cannon returns for his senior season at St. Francis Brooklyn as the only returning All-NEC first teamer from last season. He also returns as the leading returning scoring forward from a season ago where he averaged 14.9 ppg. He also led the NEC in rebounding with 8.2 rpg along with Bryant’s Alex Francis and had nine double-doubles. He has started in all but one game the last two seasons. Although last season, Cannon finished with a career-low 49% FG percentage, he is a career 52.8% shooter who further enhanced his game by adding a three-point shot to his arsenal. He took a career-high 48 threes last season and connected on 13 of those attempts. Cannon is averaging over 8 rpg for his career and he will look to boost those numbers this upcoming season. Don’t be surprised to see Cannon averages finish around 17 ppg and 9 rpg this season as he tries to help his team win the NEC for the first time ever.

Lucky Jones also returns for his senior campaign at Robert Morris. The versatile 6’6″ forward returns to lead the Colonials after an outstanding 13.9 ppg and 6.8 rpg season which earned him a All-NEC second team selection. Jones can do it all. He can score from inside and outside, rebound, get steals, and makes his free throws. He shot just under 40% from the floor last season while making 70 threes and draining over 80% of his free throws. He also had five double-doubles. This will be the first season though that Jones will be the main man on the offensive end with former teammates like Karvel Anderson, Velton Jones and Coron Williams no longer around. Jones has been preparing himself to take his game to another level if you go by his summer league stats. This is one player I’m expecting a monster year from where he will blow away his career numbers in nearly every category.

Earl Brown hasn’t gotten the notoriety of the other two in his career but last season people started to take notice of his play as the Red Flash started climbing up in the NEC standings. Brown went from a 10 and 8 player two seasons ago to a 14.4 ppg and 8 rpg player last season in starting in all of 31 of SFU’s games and there is still room for him to grow in his senior season. He was selected to the All-NEC second team and shot a career-high 53.1% from the field last season. He is the one player of the three who plays almost exclusively on the inside. All but ten of his shot attempts last season came from within the three point arc. Brown had nine double-doubles a season ago and has twenty double-doubles for his career. If Brown increases his numbers this upcoming season, there is no doubt SFU will be a likely NEC contender this season.

CCSU’s Faronte Drakeford (Photo Credit: CCSU Athletics)

Another forward to take notice of next season is CCSU’s Faronte Drakeford. The 6’7″ senior forward had a very good first season in the NEC, averaging 13.4 ppg and 5.3 rpg in 30 starts and earning a All-NEC third team selection. He was second on CCSU in scoring and third in rebounding. He had two double-doubles on his way to shooting 48.7% from the field in just 27 minutes per game. He finished with 20 or more points eight times including a pair of 25-point performances. He should once again be a key contributor to the Blue Devils offense this season.

Sacred Heart’s sophomore De’von Barnett missed the first month of his freshman campaign but made immediate contributions to Anthony Latina’s squad upon his arrival in December. The 6’4″ forward was inserted into the starting lineup upon the start of the NEC season and remained there the rest of the way. In 22 games (15 starts), Barnett averaged 11.0 ppg and 4.6 rpg including a 24-point performance versus Mount St. Mary’s. He shot 52.8% from the field in 199 shot attempts while getting 27.5 minutes of action his freshman year on his way to being named onto the All-NEC All-Rookie team. He had a offensive rating of 102.5 which was third on his team. Barnett will likely be a starter from game one this upcoming season and will be a go-to scoring in the paint with the departure of Louis Montes.

LIU Brooklyn’s Landon Atterberry (Photo Credit: Bob Dea – BHJ)

LIU Brooklyn’s senior Landon Atterberry had to fill big shoes last season. More of a “4” forward, Atterberry played a lot at the “5” position last season due to season-ending injuries to Julian Boyd and Nura Zanna. Atterberry filled in admirably, averaging 10.8 ppg and 4.1 rpg in his first season with the Blackbirds. He shot 52% from the floor and showed an ability to make the three when needed with 15 triples made. He went for 22 points in a win versus Texas State and 20 in a win in the Battle of Brooklyn game versus St. Francis Brooklyn at the Barclays Center. Atterberry will likely see more minutes back at the “4” spot this season with the LIU featuring both redshirt freshman Nura Zanna and sophomore Glenn Feidanga more at the “5”.

Another SFU forward to keep an eye out for is Ronnie Drinnon. The 6’7″ junior forward only averaged 7.4 ppg and 5.7 rpg in 27 games (18 starts) last season. Midway through the season a year ago, his game started to take off. It began with an 8 points/12 rebounds game vs Mount St. Mary’s in January which got the ball rolling. Then a 14 points/10 rebounds game against FDU in February before going berserk in the NEC tournament with a 20 points/18 rebounds game at Bryant in front of a raucous road crowd. If he carries that momentum into this upcoming season, it gives the NEC something else to think about when they face SFU.

Here are some other NEC bigs to watch out for this upcoming season: CCSU’s junior Brandon Peel (’13-’14: 7.1 ppg/6.3 rpg/54.6 FG%, 2nd in NEC in Blocks), SFC’s sophomore Wayne Martin (’13-’14: 7.0 ppg/4.9 rpg/48.3 FG%), junior Amdy Fall (’13-’14: 5.2 ppg/3.9 rpg/ 45.6 FG%/3rd in the NEC in Blocks), Bryant’s Dan Garvin (’13-’14: 6.0 ppg/4.8 rpg/47.3 FG%), and RMU’s junior forward Stephan Bennett (formerly Hawkins) (’13-’14: 4.6ppg/2.9 rpg/46.1 FG%)

The Mount return a ton of size in their front court in junior 7’0″ center Taylor Danaher (’13-’14: 7.1. ppg/5.0 rpg/ 60.4 FG%), junior Gregory Graves (’13-’14: 6.5 ppg/5.5 rpg/47.1 FG%), sophomore sharpshooter Will Miller (’13-’14: 5.6 ppg/1.3rpg/39.3 FG%/39.9 3FG%) and sixth-year grad student Kristijan Krajina (’13-’14: 5.7/4.3 rpg/60.7 FG%).

As you can see, their will be no shortage of quality bigs in the NEC this upcoming season. It should see some really good front court battles all over the NEC in 2014-15.

Also check out the first two installment of our 2014-15 NEC Previews. Part One: Manning the point: 2014-15 NEC Point Guard Preview and Part Two: Get Out the Three Goggles: The NEC’s Best Returning Three-Point Bombers.

Troy Joseph will not return to LIU Brooklyn

Troy Joseph will not return to LIU Brooklyn for the 2014-15 season as he transfers to McMaster University in his home country of Canada. (Photo Credit: Bob Dea)

One of the big question marks of the off season for the LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball team has been answered today.

Since the season ended last March, it was a question whether or not would-be fifth-year senior Troy Joseph would return back to Brooklyn for his final season of eligibiliity. Today, we learned officially that he will not be back.

Today, McMaster University, which is a school in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada that plays in the CIS, announced that Joseph will play his final two years of eligibility at the school.

This announcement doesn’t come as a major surprise. Joseph gutted out playing last season with a bad shoulder and knee issues. He averaged 6.9 ppg and 4.4 rpg while playing in all 29 games and getting 26.6 minutes per game of playing time. He earned his bachelor’s degree from LIU this past May.

Joseph had to deal with injury throughout his entire career at LIU Brooklyn. He redshirted his first season in 2010-11 after having microfracture knee surgery on his knee and his slow recovery caused him to miss the entire 2011-12 season as well.

He returned to the court in 2012-13 to play in 29 games and averaged 3.2 ppg and 2.0 rpg coming off the bench in helping to lead LIU Brooklyn to their third of three straight NEC championships.

Last season, Joseph started 23 games and had a pretty solid season considering he was dealing with injuries all season long. He had a 16 points and 6 rebounds performance at Indiana as well a 18 points and 6 rebounds game at Mount St. Mary’s. He also grabbed 12 rebounds to go along with 8 points in a loss at Lehigh.

Joseph leaves LIU as the final member with three rings from their three consective NEC championship run. The only remaining LIU player with a NEC championship ring is senior guard Gerrell Martin. He has two rings.

He becomes the third player from last season’s LIU Brooklyn team to transfer, joining E.J. Reed and D.J.Griggs.

Get Out the Three Goggles: The NEC’s Best Returning Three-Point Bombers

Four of NEC's best returning three-point shooters. (Photo Credits L to R: Bryant's Dyami Starks - bryantbulldogs.com/Sacred Heart's Steve Glowiak - CT Post/RMU's Lucky Jones - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/LIU Brooklyn's Gerrell Martin - Bob Dea/BHJ)

Four of NEC’s best returning three-point shooters. (Photo Credits L to R: Bryant’s Dyami Starks – bryantbulldogs.com/Sacred Heart’s Steve Glowiak – CT Post/RMU’s Lucky Jones – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/LIU Brooklyn’s Gerrell Martin – Bob Dea/BHJ)

In part two of our 2014-15 NEC men’s basketball previews, we focus on the NEC returning three-point snipers. These are the guys who will be called upon to take and make a boat load of threes this upcoming college basketball season.

Last season, the NEC had fifteen players who made 50 or more three-pointers and 22 players who hit on 35% of their three-point attempts. But a good number of the NEC’s top ten three-point specialists are not returning this season leaving plenty of openings for some new names to emerge as the NEC’s top three-point shooters.

Let’s take a look at who will be the ones to watch out for behind the three-point line in 2014-15:

We begin with arguably the top returning shooter in the NEC in Bryant’s Dyami Starks. Starks is the NEC’s top returnee in three-point baskets made last season. He hit on 88 of 239 three-point attempts a season ago and is a career 38.8% three-point shooter. He began last season by scoring 35, 35 and 30 points in his first three games and scored 30 or more points five times. This season, he goes in as Bryant’s number one scoring threat with the departure of Alex Francis so opposing defenses will be keying in more on Starks to slow down his scoring output. It will be interesting to see if he will be able to keep up his scoring numbers and shooting percentages as the main scoring option on offense for the Bulldogs.

Another returning three-point shooter in the NEC is Sacred Heart’s Steve Glowiak. Glowiak finished fourth in the conference in three-pointers made last season with 84 triples. He shot the ball at a very respectable 38.4% clip from three last season. He is a career 35% three-point shooter. He also went for 20 or more points three times. Glowiak likes to live behind the three-point arc as 219 of his 281 shot attempts came from three. Will look upon this season to improve on his 11.1 ppg from last year as Sacred Heart as a team looks to rebound from a rough season.

LIU Brooklyn’s Gerrell Martin finally got his change to play major minutes last season and his shooting did not disappoint. Martin finished third in the NEC in three-point shooting percentage at 44%. He made 59 of 139 three-point attempts a season ago and also shot 44% from the field overall. Martin returns this season as LIU’s top returning scorer after averaging 12.2 ppg in his junior year. Martin will be looked upon to lead a rather young LIU Brooklyn team into the 2014-15 season. He finished the season out strong with back-to-back career-high performances with 26 points at Sacred Heart and 31 points against Central Connecticut State.

One forward who can make the open triple and will make a ton of them this upcoming season is Robert Morris’ Lucky Jones. Jones took 195 threes last season and made 70 of them. Even though he made just 36% of his three last season, he is capable of hitting for a higher percentage as his 42.3% three-point shooting two seasons ago will attest. Jones will be asked to shoulder more of the scoring load this season in his senior year with the departure of last season’s NEC Player of the Year Karvel Anderson. In the Pittsburgh Pro-Am Summer League this summer, Jones was going off. He averaged 26.2 ppg and shot 42.6% from three. If he even comes close to those numbers during the season in 2014-15, he could be seeing himself named NEC Player of the Year by the end.

You may or may not be surprised to find Fairleigh Dickinson’s Mustafaa Jones on this list but don’t be. Jones started in 30 of 31 games for the Knights last season and averaged nearly 10 ppg. He shot the ball tremendously well, hitting nearly 40% of his threes and nearly 92% of his free throws. He cashed in 74 three-pointers in 187 attempts in 2013-14 in helping the Knights get a surprising NEC playoff berth. Jones returns this season as the Knights most experienced player and top returning scorer.

You can’t have a list like this without bringing up the name of CCSU’s Kyle Vinales. Vinales is on the verge to being one of the top scorers in the NEC history. He has amassed 1514 points in his first three seasons. Although he missed a good amount of time with an injury last season, he made 56 three-pointers and canned 40% of his three-point attempts which was a career-high. He scored in single figures in just four of the twenty games he played a year ago and also only started half of those games. Look for Vinales to have a monster season this year in his final go-around in the NEC.

Let’s just say, SFU’s Ben Millaud-Meunier likes to shoot the long ball. The French-Canadian took 161 of his 218 shot attempts from behind the three-point line last season. He dropped in 56 triples, hitting them at nearly a 35% clip pretty much exclusively coming off the bench. If he improves that three-point shooting percentage to close to 40% this season (he shot 47.6% from three two seasons ago), he will be a tough weapon in that SFU offense and should be a big contributor in what could be a big year for SFU men’s basketball.

Some of the other NEC players to keep an eye on from deep are FDU’s Matt McDonald (53 3FGs made, 33.5% 3FG%), SFU’s Dominique Major (55 3FGs made, 37.2% 3FG%) and Malik Harmon (45 3FGs made, 34.9% 3FG%), MSM’s Will Miller (55 3FGs made, 39.3% 3FG%) and Byron Ashe (48 3FGs made, 36.1 3FG%), Sacred Heart’s Phil Gaetano (43 3FGs made, 33.9% 3FG%), RMU’s Charles Oliver (35 3FGs made, 33% 3FG%), Bryant’s Joe O’Shea (35 3FGs made, 35% 3FG%), and Wagner’s Marcus Burton (47 3FGs made, 37.3% 3FG%).

Here is BHJ’s Top 5 NEC Three-Point Shooters for 2014-15 (image courtesy of Basketball State {bbstate.com}):

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 9.02.50 PM

The NEC News Wire – August 19

Here is the latest edition of the NEC News Wire:

– Saint Francis U. men’s basketball team recently wrapped up a european tour to France and Spain where the Red Flash went 2-2 against foreign competition.

In France, SFU lost to Evreux 94-47 in their opening game. Then they came back from 25 points down in their second game to defeat Limoges Select Team 87-80. Then SFU went to Spain and played a pair of game against the Catalan Select Team. SFU won the first meeting 75-59 before losing the second game 72-67.

SFU returns their entire team from last season that went to the NEC tournament semifinals and last week announced the addition of the three freshmen forwards to this season’s team.

– Sacred Heart will be getting a new home floor at the Pitt Center next season as they have announced via Twitter a couple of weeks ago.

Here a picture of a paint-less Pitt Center floor from last week.

The sanding is complete on the #PittCenter floor. A clean slate prepared for the new look. #PioneerPride

A post shared by SacredHeartAthletics (@shubigred) on

Maybe a fresh look is what SHU need at the Pitt Center. Last season, Sacred Heart was an NEC-worst 1-10 on their home court.

– Getting itchy for the start of the college basketball season? I know I am! Well, you can start planning for your favorite NEC team’s season opener. Here is the season opening schedule for NEC men’s basketball teams:

  • Bryant at UConn – Friday, November 14
  • Central Connecticut vs Fairfield at the Connecticut 6 at Quinnipiac University – Friday, November 14
  • Fairleigh Dickinson at St. Joseph’s – Friday, November 14
  • Mount St. Mary’s at Arizona – Friday, November 14
  • Lafayette at Robert Morris – Friday, November 14
  • Sacred Heart vs Hartford at the Connecticut 6 at Quinnipiac University – Friday, November 14
  • St. Francis Brooklyn at Georgetown – Saturday, November 15
  • St. Francis U. at Cincinnati – Friday, November 14

One team missing on this list ironically is LIU Brooklyn. It is still not known who and when they will open their season against as of yet.

– Wagner has gotten the first 2015 verbal commit for any NEC team. On August 7th, Wagner got a commit from Devin Liggeons, a 6’3” shooting guard from Philadelphia per multiple reports.

Wagner beat out St. Francis U. and Sacred Heart among others. Liggeons averaged 9.1 ppg for Imhotep Institute Charter School in Philly last season in his junior year.

Also, Wagner got a verbal commitment this weekend from former Rhode Island forward Mike Aaman who played for former Wagner head coach Dan Hurley the last two seasons. If you heard the name before, Aaman originally committed to Wagner before Hurley left to coach up at Rhode Island and Aaman decided to follow Hurley.

Aaman left URI after two difficult seasons where he battled with multiple concussions, seven in fact. URI gave Aaman his release a couple of weeks ago and after visiting LIU Brooklyn, Wagner and Niagara last week, he decided to choose the team he originally committed to back in 2012.

– 2015 FIBA EuroBasket Qualifying has gotten underway and for NEC folks, the focus is on Group A where Iceland, Great Britain and Bosnia & Herzegovina are battling to qualify for two EuroBasket spots from that group. Through two of four games, here are the Group A standings and results (image courtesy of Wikipedia):

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 9.39.51 PM

Great Britain features three NEC alums Kyle Johnson (LIU Brooklyn), Devan Bailey (Central Connecticut State) and Ben Mockford (St. Francis Brooklyn) while Iceland features a pair of incoming freshmen for LIU Brooklyn in Elvar Fridriksson and Martin Hermannsson.

Hermannson so far had the best performance thus far in this round of qualifying. He scored 22 points on 10 of 14 shooting with two rebounds and an assist against Great Britain. He is averaging 15.5 ppg through two games.

A big game is coming up this Wednesday as Iceland faces Great Britain in London. Great Britain needs a win to keep their qualifying hopes alive while Iceland can take a stranglehold of the second qualifying spot with a win with just one game left to play for both teams and with each having to face first place Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Inside the Blackbirds – August 13

Welcome to the first edition of a new feature I would like to call “Inside the Blackbirds” which is all about updating you on all the latest happenings surrounding LIU Brooklyn men’s and women’s basketball. With just about 50 days to go until the official start of the college basketball season, it is time to get all you Blackbirds fan updated on what is going on in and around LIU hoops.

Former NEC Player of Year Jamal Olasewere is set to make his return to basketball court in Belgium. (Photo Credit: Bob Dea/BHJ)

** First let’s start by congratulating LIU alum Jamal Olasewere. Yesterday evening it was announced that he is returning back to playing basketball after not being able to play last season due to a heart issue. Olasewere signed with Belgium club, VOO Wolves Verviers-Pepinster, who plays in the Belgium Basketball League, Belgium’s top tier league. The news was first reported by Belgian website, lavenir.net.

Olasewere then confirmed the news himself on Twitter after the story had broke.

Olasewere last played basketball for the Nigeria men’s basketball team at the 2013 FIBA African Championships. He had signed a deal last summer with Italian club Vanoli Cremona when a heart issue was discovered in his physical. He was recently cleared by doctors in the here in the United States to resume his basketball career.

Olasewere graduated from LIU Brooklyn in 2013 as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,871 points in his career and fourth all-time leading rebounder with 963. He also hold the LIU record for games played as a Blackbird with 130.

Olasewere now joins Jason Brickman among the ever-growing list of Blackbirds playing professionally overseas.

LIU Brooklyn new Interim Athletic Director, Brad Cohen. (Photo Credit: LIU Brooklyn/liu.edu)

** Late last week, LIU Brooklyn announced that they have named an interim Athletic Director to take over for long-time LIU Athletic Director John Suarez who will be stepping down from his position at the end of the month.

LIU has named Brad Cohen as their interim AD. Cohen will be overseeing all operations of the LIU Brooklyn athletics department. According to the release, Cohen has been a full-time employee at LIU Brooklyn for the past 20 years and was most recently LIU Brooklyn’s executive director of campus services and human resources.

LIU Brooklyn had put out a search for a new Athletic Director on July 18th, two days after the news of Suarez leaving LIU Brooklyn was revealed.

** News of both LIU Brooklyn’s basketball teams schedules has been trickling out as the summer has gone along. The BHJ LIU Schedule Tracker has been following along all summer long and right now has a better beat on the women’s basketball schedule over the men’s.

Last week, I was caught by surprise when Norfolk State released their non-conference schedule and LIU Brooklyn was not on it. Norfolk State played at LIU last season and it was thought that LIU would return the game this season but apparently that isn’t the case.

Right now, LIU MBB has just two known confirmed non-conference games: at Temple on Sunday, November 30 and vs Hofstra at the Barclays Center on Sunday, December 28. Ten of LIU’s 18 NEC games are known and can be seen on the LIU Schedule Tracker.

LIU should be hosting Lehigh and NJIT this season to complete home and home series with these teams as well as we are waiting on the schedule for NIT Season Tip-Off in which LIU will be participating in.

As far as the LIU WBB, LIU will be hosting Rhode Island, Northern Arizona and a team yet to be announced in their annual LIU Turkey Classic the week of Thanksgiving, November 28 and 29. They will also be hosting Rider on December 2nd, Howard on December 14th and Buffalo on December 21st.

Other possible return games this season which is yet to be confirmed are at NJIT, at Maine and home against Monmouth.

BHJ has unofficially gathered all 18 NEC games for LIU WBB with just four of the games against Saint Francis U. and Mount St. Mary’s being unconfirmed but I have taken a calculated guess when these four games might be played and you can take a look on the LIU Schedule Tracker.

#9 Martin Hermannsson going up for 2 of his 22 points vs Great Britain on 8/10/14.

#9 Martin Hermannsson going up for 2 of his 22 points vs Great Britain on 8/10/14.

** LIU was well represented on Sunday in a 2015 FIBA European Championship qualifying game between Great Britain and Iceland.

Great Britain’s roster once again included 2011 LIU graduate Kyle Johnson who is now playing for them for the third straight summer. Iceland’s roster included the two incoming freshmen who will be coming to Brooklyn this fall in point guard Elvar Fridriksson and shooting guard Martin Hermannsson.

In their first of two meetings in this qualifying round, Iceland got off to a fast start at home and took a 22-10 lead after the first quarter. Great Britain came back with a strong second quarter to tie the game at 34 at the half. Iceland pulled away in the 4th by outscoring Great Britain by 12 to win the first meeting 83-70.

Kyle Johnson finished with just four points for Great Britain as he went 0 for 5 from the floor and 4 for 4 from the free throw line. He also grabbed 4 rebounds and had one assist in 23 minutes.

Martin Hermannsson though was impressive for Iceland. He was their second leading scorer in the game with 22 points on 10 of 14 shooting (0 for 1 from three). He hit both of his free throws and grabbed two boards and had an assist in 29 minutes off the bench. Elvar Fridriksson only played two seconds in the game.

Here is one of the highlight plays of the game for Hermannsson, as he hits on a reverse layup and draws a foul.

Here is a highlight video of the game put up by the Icelandic basketball website karfan.is featuring some plays made by Hermannsson (#9 in white).

These two teams will play each other once again on Wednesday, August 20th in London. Before that, Great Britain will face Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday, August 13th and Iceland will also face Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sunday, August 17th.

** Former LIU point guard Jason Brickman is beginning his journey into professional basketball. Last week, he left the states to start his career in Russia to play for Dynamo Moscow this season.

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 7.55.37 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good luck Jason. BHJ will be keeping tabs on his progress in year one of his pro career.

** Current Blackbirds are getting themselves focused and ready for the upcoming season. Here are a few things put out by members of the team over the last few weeks as summer continues on.

Manning the point: 2014-15 NEC Point Guard Preview

Four of the top NEC returning point guards for the 2014-15 season. (Photo Credit: Top L: SFBK's Brent Jones - brooklyneagle.com; Top R: SHU's Phil Gaetano - ctpost.com; Bot L: CCSU's Kyle Vinales - ctpost.com; Bot R: SFU's Malik Harmon - nycbuckets.com)

Four of the top NEC returning point guards for the 2014-15 season. (Photo Credit: Top L: SFBK’s Brent Jones – brooklyneagle.com; Top R: SHU’s Phil Gaetano – ctpost.com; Bot L: CCSU’s Kyle Vinales – ctpost.com; Bot R: SFU’s Malik Harmon – nycbuckets.com)

For those of us who follow the Northeast Conference, in particular in the last few seasons, we have been sort of spoiled with the amount of high quality point guards that have being running the show from their respective teams.

We have seen point guards like Wagner’s Tyler Murray and Kenneth Ortiz, Robert Morris’ Velton Jones, Bryant’s Frankie Dobbs and Corey Maynard, Mount St. Mary’s Julian Norfleet, and LIU Brooklyn’s C.J. Garner and Jason Brickman excel in the NEC.

Now with all of these guys gone, it is time for a new crop of point guards to take the lead. Also, the spotlight now shines on guys who are returning who have been somewhat in the shadows of some of the top point guards of the past couple of seasons.

Let’s take a look at the group of point guards will be seeing leading their teams in the NEC.

The first name that pops to mind is St. Francis Brooklyn’s senior Brent Jones. Jones finally broke through the “potential” label to being a top flight NEC point guard last season. In 31 games last season, Jones averaged 7.5 ppg and a career-high 6.0 apg which was third in the NEC. Jones is the top returning assist man from last season. He had six games where he dished out 10-plus assists and had three double-doubles a year ago. The biggest difference in his game was Jones was able to shoot the ball better and cut down his turnovers. He shot a career-high 42.7% from the field and almost 34% from three last season while committing just 70 turnovers which was a career-low. He is the top returning NEC assist-to-turnover player. If he maintains or even betters his shooting numbers while continuing to take care of the basketball this coming season, this could be a pretty big season the Terriers.

Another point guard who will be stepping into the spotlight this season is Sacred Heart’s senior Phil Gaetano. Gaetano who has 545 career assists coming into this season will likely end his career in third place in the NEC career assist list behind LIU’s Jason Brickman (1,009) and Marist’s Drafton Davis (804), but is coming off a bit of a sub-par season by his standards from the his first two seasons. Although, he finished with a career-high 6.5 ppg, his assist numbers took a dip from 7.9 to 6.3 apg. That might have been attributed to not having a tremendous shooter like Shane Gibson last season as well as a rash of injuries which left the Pioneers 5-26 a year ago. Gaetano will likely lead the NEC in assist this season with Jason Brickman now gone and more talent surrounding him. His shooting numbers should also improve from the 34.7% from the floor he shot a year ago and the 33.9% he shot from three.

Now, if we are looking at scoring point guards, we don’t need to look any further than to Central Connecticut State’s senior Kyle Vinales. The 6’0” Detroit native has been a scoring machine since arriving at CCSU. A broken finger for Vinales last season caused him to miss nine games yet he still averaged 17.3 ppg and dished out 3.9 apg in what some called a down year for him after scoring 21.6 ppg the season before. If Vinales is on his game offensive, their isn’t much any defense can do to stop him. Even though, he gave most of his point guard chores last season to teammate senior Malcolm McMillan, Vinales can also distribute with the best of them. Speaking of McMillan, he also returns to give CCSU a one-two punch in the backcourt. McMillian finished with 10.8 ppg and 3.2 apg and had a good year shooting the ball at nearly 46 percent. In starting in all but two games last season, McMillan committed only 62 turnovers all season. With his sure handed play along with Vinales, CCSU should do better than the 11-19 record they had last season.

One point guard who made his name in the NEC in his very first season is Saint Francis U. sophomore point guard Malik Harmon. The former Christ the King High School point man started in every game for SFU last season. His 8.7 ppg and 2.8 apg in his freshman season along with 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio were good enough number to help win him NEC Rookie of the Year honors. He committed only 52 turnovers all season for the Red Flash which was the lowest turnover total for any starting NEC point guard with at least 25 or more starts. The scary thing is there is lot of room to improve. He only shot 33.5% from the floor and just under 35% from three last season while shooting 69.1% from the free throw line. He will likely see increase in all his numbers across the board in year two and will undoubtedly be one of the key reasons in which SFU will be considered a top contender in the NEC in 2014-15.

A point guard who will stepping into the forefront this season is Wagner’s senior Marcus Burton. Burton who has been playing behind Wagner great Kenneth Ortiz the past three seasons, will finally get his chance to run the show. Burton has only started in eight games in his entire college career, all in his sophomore season. Coming off the bench last season, Burton put up very respectable numbers. He averaged 11.0 ppg and 1.6 apg in just 22.4 mpg. He made nearly 42% of his shots from the floor last season and is an excellent free throw shooter at 86.8%. He is probably going to be asked to do a lot more for Wagner head coach Bashir Mason this season considering the amount of talent they lost from last season. With increased minutes, watch for Burton to possibly have a huge breakout season.

Other returning point guards who will be looking to begin making a name for themselves in the NEC as they move into their teams starting lineups are Robert Morris’ sophomore Kavon Stewart (4.9 ppg/2.8 apg), Bryant junior Shane McLaughlin (4.0 ppg/2.6 apg), and Mount St. Mary’s sophomore Khalid Nwandu (2.5 ppg/1.2 apg).

There will be a couple of interesting point guard battles on a couple of teams to see who will replace a pair of outstanding point guards who graduated at the end of last season. Fairleigh Dickinson will be looking for a new point guard to replace the departed Sidney Sanders Jr., last season’s NEC Most Improved Player. It looks like the battle is going to be between sophomore Malachi Nix (3.7 ppg/1.0 apg) and incoming freshman Darian Anderson.

The other battle is probably going to be the most interesting one in the NEC and that is at LIU Brooklyn and see who will be replacing 1,000 assist man Jason Brickman. The battle is going to likely end up being between two freshmen in Jamil Hood Jr. (16.7 ppg, 8.1 apg – HS SR yr) and Elvar Fridriksson (20.4 ppg/7.3 apg in Iceland) with some minutes also going to sophomore Iverson Fleming (3.9 ppg). Blackbirds Hoops Journal will delve deeper in this battle as the summer and fall goes along but it sure should be one to watch.

Here is BHJ’s Top Five returning NEC point guards going into the 2014-15 season (image courtesy of Basketball State {bbstate.com}):

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