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.
** 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.
** 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.
** 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.
** 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.
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.