The 2014-15 LIU Brooklyn MBB NEC Schedule

On Monday, the 2014-15 LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball schedule was officially released and I broke down their non-conference schedule team by team. Today, I will take a glance at LIU Brooklyn’s Northeast Conference schedule and see which are the games to look forward to, which are the games that could cause the Blackbirds some problems and which ones they will likely need to win if they plan on returning back to the NEC tournament after missing out last season.

It all starts opening week which this season consist of four games instead of the usually two with New Year’s Day falling on a Thursday this season. The Blackbirds start the conference season with a season-high three-game homestand, the first of which is on Saturday, January 3rd versus Bryant. Last season, LIU closed the season with Bryant at home, this season they will open the conference season with the Bulldogs. LIU was swept last season in both meetings against Bryant after winning seven of their first eight meetings including six straight. This should be a good first game for LIU to see what this young LIU is all about and how they will compete in the NEC.

After their conference opener against Bryant, LIU hosts FDU at the Steinberg Wellness Center. LIU lost the only meeting between the two teams last season at home by 22. The loss snapped a LIU 11-game winning streak in the series. It was a pretty ugly loss as LIU were throughly handled at home. LIU caps their three-game homestand against Sacred Heart. LIU beat the Pioneers last season on the road in their only meeting. LIU has won the last two games in this series and have won seven of the last eight meetings overall.

The Blackbirds then hits the road for three of the next four games. A meeting with Wagner at the Spiro Sports Center in Staten Island closes the first week of NEC action as every NEC team will end up playing four conference games in eight days. Wagner swept LIU in their two games last season. Wagner has won four of the last five meetings in the last two seasons. After Wagner game, the NEC schedule returns to the normal Thursday/Saturday schedule.

On Thursday, January 15th, LIU heads to Central Connecticut State. The Blackbirds had won six straight games in the series until LIU lost a heartbreaking 86-82 overtime game at the Steinberg Wellness Center to end LIU’s chances of defending their three-straight NEC championships. After the CCSU game, LIU returns back to Brooklyn to play defending NEC tournament champions Mount St. Mary’s. This game though will be at the Barclays Center. This will be the second time in three years in which LIU has played the Mount at the Barclays Center. LIU won that first meeting 86-72 back in 2013. The teams split the two meetings last season. LIU has won eight of the last ten meetings between the teams.

The following week, LIU returns back on the road for a pair of games. On Thursday, January 22nd, they play their second game of the season against Bryant and then head to FDU for the second meeting. LIU then return home to the Steinberg Wellness Center for a home game versus CCSU. Then they head across Fulton Street to Brooklyn Heights to take on St. Francis Brooklyn for their 40th annual Battle of Brooklyn game. Last season, LIU won the Battle of Brooklyn for the fourth consecutive time. This would be the 101st meeting between the two teams, the most meetings between any LIU opponent. LIU had a six-game winning streak in the series snapped in their first meeting last season.

The month of February begins with NEC perennial powerhouse Robert Morris returning to the Steinberg Wellness Center on February 5th . LIU has lost three straight to the Colonials including their last two home games. Two days later, Saint Francis PA comes to visit Downtown Brooklyn for a late afternoon affair. SFU swept a pair of games from LIU last season snapping what was previously an LIU three-game winning streak in the series. LIU has not lost three in a row to the Red Flash since the 2003 through 2005 seasons. The following week, LIU heads to western Pennsylvania to play these same two teams on the road.

On February 19th, LIU heads to Mount St. Mary’s to wrap us a three-game road swing which will be LIU’s longest and toughest road trip of conference play with three teams that may all finish in the top four of the NEC standings, before returning back to Brooklyn for their final two regular season home games, both against city rivals, the first of which is against Wagner. Then it is a home game against St. Francis Brooklyn. This game returns back to the SWC after being held at the Barclays Center last season and I, for one, am happy to see this game return back on campus. LIU has won four straight home games against the Terriers.

LIU concludes the season with a road matchup against Sacred Heart on the final day of February. LIU has won five straight home games versus the Pioneers.

LIU will need to get off to a good start to conference play with three home games to begin the campaign. After that, things get tricky with four of five on the road against what could be upper tier teams in the NEC. Then what comes is what I feel is the meat grinder of LIU’s schedule: vs CCSU, at St. Francis Brooklyn, vs Robert Morris, vs Saint Francis PA, at Robert Morris, at Saint Francis PA and at Mount St. Mary’s. This seven-game stretch will be the make or break part of their season. If LIU comes out these seven games in good shape, they should no doubt be a playoff team and quite possible a sleeper going into the NEC tournament. If they come out of it with a bunch of L’s, they are once again going to be fighting for that final playoff spot in the NEC.

The NEC game I’m most looking forward to is the January 15th road game at Central Connecticut. That game will prove to me how legit this team will be in conference play this season. Also, the return of St. Francis Brooklyn to the Steinberg Wellness Center should be a fun one as well along with the Battle of Brooklyn game at the Pope Center. These are always fun games no matter how good or bad each team is.

1/3/2015 BRYANT Steinberg Wellness Center 4:30 p.m.
1/5/2015 FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON Steinberg Wellness Center 7:30 p.m.
1/8/2015 SACRED HEART Steinberg Wellness Center 7:00 p.m.
1/10/2015 at Wagner Staten Island, N.Y. 4:00 p.m.
1/15/2015 at Central Connecticut New Britain, Conn. 7:00 p.m.
1/17/2015 MOUNT ST. MARY’S Barclays Center 1:30 p.m.
1/22/2015 at Bryant Smithfield, R.I. 7:00 p.m.
1/24/2015 at Fairleigh Dickinson Teaneck, N.J. 4:30 p.m.
1/29/2015 CENTRAL CONNECTICUT Steinberg Wellness Center 7:00 p.m.
1/31/2015 at St. Francis Brooklyn Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. 4:00 p.m.
2/5/2015 ROBERT MORRIS Steinberg Wellness Center 7:00 p.m.
2/7/2015 SAINT FRANCIS U. Steinberg Wellness Center 4:30 p.m.
2/12/2015 at Robert Morris Moon Township, Pa. 7:00 p.m.
2/14/2015 at Saint Francis U. Loretto, Pa. 1:00 p.m.
2/19/2015 at Mount St. Mary’s Emmitsburg, Md. 7:00 p.m.
2/21/2015 WAGNER Steinberg Wellness Center 4:30 p.m.
2/26/2015 ST. FRANCIS BROOKLYN Steinberg Wellness Center 7:00 p.m.
2/28/2015 at Sacred Heart Fairfield, Conn. 3:30 p.m.

 

The NEC News Wire – September 23

Ten days now until teams can begin practicing in preparation for the 2014-15 college basketball season. Things are starting to ramp up a bit more and more every week now. Almost all the schedules are out and preseason planning is taking shape. Folks, the wait is almost over.

Here is this week’s NEC News Wire:

– On Monday, the NEC announced that they will be holding their third annual NEC Basketball Social Media Day back at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Tuesday, October 21st. As usual, the event will be streamed live on NEC Front Row starting at 11am. Also for the first time, the event will also air live on ESPN3.

The format will be the same as last year where all ten NEC men’s and women’s head basketball coaches will be in attendance as well as one player from each team. Fans can send in questions and tweets via Twitter and the NEC will once again give out prizes to the day’s best tweeters.

It is also a great event. I’ve been fortunate to attend the first two and I’m greatly looking forward to attending once again this season. It is always fun to catch up with the players and coaches prior to the season.

– Congratulations are in order to Mount St. Mary’s men’s basketball head coach Jamion Christian who received a contract extension that will have him under contract until the 2018-19 season. Christian has been the head coach at the Mount for the last two seasons in which he has compiled a 34-31 (.523) record. This extension comes on the heels of Christian taking the Mount to their first NEC championship and NCAA tournament appearance since the 2007-08 season.

Christian and his Mount St. Mary’s squad begins defense of their NEC championship on Friday, November 14th at Arizona.

– A third 2014-15 college basketball preview magazine has hit newsstands as Athlon Sports has released their preview magazine. Here is how they see the 2014-15 NEC men’s basketball season shaping out:

The Athlon Sports College Basketball 2014-15 Preview Magazine (Photo: athlonsports.com)

1. St. Francis Brooklyn
2. Robert Morris
3. Central Connecticut
4. Bryant
5. Mount St. Mary’s
6. Saint Francis PA
7. Wagner
8. LIU Brooklyn
9. Fairleigh Dickinson
10. Sacred Heart

NEC Player of the Year: Jalen Cannon – St. Francis Brooklyn
All-NEC First Team:
Jalen Cannon – St. Francis Brooklyn
Earl Brown – Saint Francis PA
Lucky Jones – Robert Morris
Dyami Starks – Bryant
Kyle Vinales – CCSU

Through three magazine previews here is how they all together see the NEC finishing up (Sporting News/Lindy’s/Athlon):

1. Central Connecticut 2/1/3
2. St. Francis Brooklyn 1/5/1
3. Robert Morris 3/4/2
4. Bryant 6/2/4
5. Saint Francis PA 5/3/6
6. Mount St. Mary’s 4/7/5
7. Wagner 7/6/7
8. LIU Brooklyn 8/8/8
9. Fairleigh Dickinson 9/9/9
10. Sacred Heart 10/10/10

Although two of the mags picked St. Francis Brooklyn to win the NEC, due to Lindy’s giving them a 5th-place finish, it actually gives CCSU a magazine consensus first-place finish with St. Francis Brooklyn finishing second. In my opinion, I believe the mags going with CCSU to have a top-three finish is a bit of a reach and I don’t think anyone who follows the NEC day-in and day-out are going to pick CCSU to win the NEC this season but we shall see as more predictions begin filtering out over the next few weeks.

– There is even more NEC prediction news as Big Apple Buckets’ Ryan Peters on Twitter revealed his picks he submitted to ESPN for their annual conference previews. Here is how Peters sees the NEC going this season, at least for right now.

Last season, Peters picked Wagner (as did I) to win the NEC. Wagner finished second with Robert Morris finishing in first.

– LIU Brooklyn became the ninth NEC team to release their men’s basketball schedule on Monday. Only Saint Francis U. remains as the last hold out to not yet release their 2014-15 men’s basketball schedule. It should be coming out in the very near future.

 

The 2014-15 LIU Brooklyn MBB Non-Conference Team-By-Team Breakdown

Today, LIU Brooklyn Athletics released the 2014-15 LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball schedule. It includes 29 games like it did a season ago and will feature 14 home games including three of those at the Barclays Center. LIU will also return to the World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden on Thanksgiving, November 27th.

The LIU Brooklyn season will start on Wednesday, November 19th with an NIT Season Tip-Off matchup against St. John’s. Their season will start five days after the start of the college basketball season on November 14th.

LIU’s NEC season will tip off at the Steinberg Wellness Center against Bryant on Saturday, January 3rd.

First, let’s take a look at the teams LIU Brooklyn will be playing in non-conference play this upcoming season. In the coming days, I will take a deeper look at LIU’s 2014-15 NEC schedule.

November 19, 2014 – at St. John’s (Carnesecca Arena – Jamaica, NY) TV: ESPN3

’13-’14 Record/Finish: 20-13 (10-8 Big East)/5th
’13-’14 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 58/61
Postseason: NIT – First Round

Outlook: Last season, St. John’s got to 20 wins for only the second time in their last eleven seasons. The Red Storm missed out on the NCAA’s last season and had to settle for NIT which ended in an ugly 89-78 loss to LIU rival Robert Morris. St. John’s returns plenty of talent to their roster. It starts with D’Angelo Harrison who returns for his senior season. He led the Red Storm in scoring at 17.5 ppg. Six of their top eight scorers will return for head coach Steve Lavin. St. John’s also return shot blocker extraordinaire junior Chris Obekpa who finished with 2.9 blocks/gm and was 4th in the nation in block rate at 11.9. This is their first meeting since the 2009-10. St. John’s has won the last four meetings, all at Carnesecca Arena. The Red Storm went 14-5 at home last season between Carnesecca Arena and Madison Square Garden.

November 25, 2014 – at St. Joseph’s (Hagan Arena – Philadelphia, PA)

’13-’14 Record/Finish: 24-10 (11-5 Atlantic 10)/4th
’13-’14 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 30/46
Postseason: NCAA Tournament – Second Round

Outlook: St. Joseph’s was one of six 2014 NCAA Tournament participants from the Atlantic 10 conference. It was their first appearance in six seasons. Coming into this season, they will be looking to replace three of their top four scorers including their top two. Sophomore DeAndre Bembry is their leading returning scorer at 14.4 ppg. He is the only returnee to average over 10 ppg last season. Senior Chris Wilson (9.0 ppg) also returns for the Hawks. This is their fourth all-time meeting and the first between the two since the 1979-80 season. St. Joe’s went 11-3 at home last season.

November 27, 2014 – vs Stony Brook (Madison Square Garden, New York, NY) TV: ESPNU

’13-’14 Record/Finish: 23-11 (13-3 America East)/2nd
’13-’14 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 163/174
Postseason: CBI – First Round

Outlook: Last season was Stony Brook’s third consecutive 20-win season and their fourth in the last five seasons. Yet, Stony Brook is still looking for that elusive first NCAA tournament appearance after repeated heartbreak in the America East Tournament, having to settle for a CBI appearance last season. The Seawolves return their top two scorers from last season in juniors Jameel Warney (14.5 ppg) and Carson Puriefoy (12.9 ppg). Warney is also their top returning rebounder (8 rpg). Stony Brook did lose their third, fourth and fifth leading scorers to graduation. Sophomore Ahmed Walker also returns after a 7.0 ppg/5.3 rpg season. This will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams. LIU last played at MSG on February 12, 2012 vs St. Francis Brooklyn, a 86-77 win.

November 30, 2014 – at Temple (Liacouras Center – Philadelphia, PA) TV: ESPN3

’13-’14 Record/Finish: 9-22 (4-14 AAC)/9th
’13-’14 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 170/159

Outlook: Temple went through a rough season in 2012-13, their first in the American Athletic Conference, after six straight 20-win seasons. Temple finished 9-22, their worst record since the 1975-76 season (9-18). The Owls are looking to rebound this season but have at it without their top scorer from last season, Dalton Pepper, who graduated. Good news for them, Pepper is their only lost player. Senior Will Cummings is the Owls’ top returning scorer at 16.8 ppg. Senior Anthony Lee (13.6 ppg) returns as their top returning rebounder at 8.6 rpg. LIU were hammered by Temple last season at the Barclays Center, 101-65. Temple is 4-0 all-time vs LIU. Temple last season went 4-10 at home.

December 3, 2014 – vs New Hampshire (Steinberg Wellness Center – Brooklyn, NY)

’13-’14 Record/Finish: 6-24 (4-12 America East)/9th (last)
’13-’14 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 340/329

Outlook: UNH finished last in the America East conference last season. They haven’t had a winning season in 20 years. The Wildcats lose their top three scorers from a year ago and have no returning scorers who averaged over 10 ppg. UNH will look to a trio of sophomores to carry the load for them in Daniel Dion (8.2 ppg), Jacoby Armstrong (7.4 ppg), and Jaleen Smith (5.3 ppg). The last time these two teams faced each other was back in the 2008-09 season. LIU is 4-0 all-time vs UNH. UNH was 3-12 on the road last season.

December 6, 2014 – vs Lehigh (Steinberg Wellness Center – Brooklyn, NY)

’13-’14 Record/Finish: 14-18 (7-11 Patriot)/6th
’13-’14 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 233/256

Outlook: Lehigh in their first season without NBA draftee C.J. McCollum, went from having back-to-back 20-win seasons to a 14-18 season in 2012-13. Making matters a little worse, they also lost their leading scorer from last season in Mackey McKnight. Fortunately for them, he was their only senior from last senior so they have plenty of guys who played last season returning. Sophomore Tim Kempton is the Mountain Hawks’ top returning scorer and rebounder at 13.0 ppg and 7.1 rpg. Junior Jesse Chuku (8.7 ppg/5.9 rpg) also returns, he went for 15 pts and 10 rebs in a 76-69 win vs LIU last season. The loss to Lehigh last season was LIU’s first loss in the all-time series (1-2). Lehigh went 4-12 on the road last season.

December 9, 2014 – at Maine (Alfond Arena – Orono, ME)

’13-’14 Record/Finish: 6-23 (4-12 America East)/8th
’13-’14 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 330/338

Outlook: Maine has been on a steady decline wins-wise since 2009-10. Last season, they matched their lowest win total since 1981-82. A change at head coach was made. Out went Ted Woodward after ten seasons and in comes Bob Welsh who arrives from Division III Rhode Island College where he had .764 winning percentage in nine seasons. With the coaching change, a couple of players decided to transfer including last season’s leading scorer Xavier Pollard. They also lost third-leading scorer Dimitry Akanda-Coronel who transferred. Senior Zarko Valjarevic is their top returning scorer at 11.3 ppg. This is fourth all-time series meeting, the first since 1999-2000 season. Maine is 4-0 all-time vs LIU. Maine went 4-9 at home last season.

December 14, 2014 – vs NJIT (Steinberg Wellness Center – Brooklyn, NY)

’13-’14 Record/Finish: 13-16 (Independent)
’13-’14 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 302/312

Outlook: NJIT will play their second season as an independent as they continue their search to get an invite into a conference. They went a respectable 13-16 last season and they return back most of their roster. They bring back top scorers in sophomore Damon Lynn (17.2 ppg), junior Terrence Smith (12.2 ppg), and junior Ky Howard (9.1 ppg). NJIT played LIU tough in high-scoring 96-93 game in Newark last season. LIU is 3-0 all-time against the Highlanders. NJIT went 6-10 on the road in 2012-13.

December 18, 2014 – Florida International (Barclays Center – Brooklyn, NY)

’13-’14 Record/Finish: 15-16 (7-9 Conference USA)/10th
’13-’14 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 203/221

Outlook: In their first season in Conference USA under first-year head coach Anthony Evans, the Panthers finished a game under .500. Unfortunately for them, they lose their top three scorers due to graduation. In fact, FIU losses four of their top five scorers from last season, one of them is LIU’s newest transfer Jerome Frink. Their return top returning scorer is redshirt senior Dennis Mavin (11.8 ppg). The two teams have only meet once before, back in 2001-02 where LIU lost to FIU, 54-50 at FIU. FIU was 5-8 on the road a season ago.

December 22, 2014 – at New Hampshire (Whittemore Center – Durham, NH)

Outlook: This is the second game between LIU and UNH in 2014-15 but this time the game is up in New Hampshire. It will be the sixth all-time meeting and the first up at UNH since 2007-08. UNH’s home record in 2012-13 was 3-11.

December 28, 2014 – vs Hofstra (Barclays Center – Brooklyn, NY)

’13-’14 Record/Finish: 10-23 (5-11 CAA)/8th
’13-’14 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 276/265

Outlook: Hofstra will begin their second season under head coach Joe Mihalich. The Pride won ten games last season in Mihalich’s first go-around. Early buzz around Hofstra is that will be a contender in the CAA this coming season. Even though they lose last season’s leading scorer Zeke Upshaw to graduation, the Pride returns Monmouth transfer Dion Nesmith (13. 3 ppg/4.2 apg) as a fifth-year grad student. The Pride also returns senior Moussa Kone (7.1 ppg/5.9 rpg) and sophomore Jamall Robinson (9.5 ppg). LIU defeated Hofstra in their last meeting at the Steinberg Wellness Center in 2012-13 in a come-from-behind 88-84 win. Hofstra still leads the all-time series 16-13. Hofstra went 1-12 on the road last season.

The NEC News Wire – September 16

It has been nearly a month since the last edition of the NEC News Wire as our 2014-15 NEC men’s basketball previews series took over. So here is the latest news and notes around the NEC as the season is now only two months away.

– In the last month, three more NEC men’s basketball teams released their 2014-15 schedules bringing the grand total to eight. Mount St. Mary’s, Central Connecticut and Sacred Heart joins Robert Morris, Fairleigh Dickinson, Wagner, Bryant and St. Francis Brooklyn. LIU Brooklyn and Saint Francis U. are the two remaining teams in the NEC to have yet to release their 2014-15 men’s basketball schedule.

– A trio of recent NEC alums joined the growing list of players who will be playing professional basketball in Europe for the 2014-15 season.

Fairleigh Dickinson’s Mathias Seilund, Mount St. Mary’s graduate Rashad Whack and last season’s NEC Player of the Year, Robert Morris’ Karvel Anderson joined the professional ranks by signing contracts to play ball from a pair of european clubs. Mathias Seilund signed with the Bristol Flyers of the British Basketball League. Seilund averaged 9.3 ppg for the FDU Knights last season. Rashad Whack last week signed with Island Storm in the Canadian National Basketball League. Last season, Whack was named on the All-NEC second team after a 17.6 ppg season in helping led the Mount to an NEC championship. In late August, Karvel Anderson signed a contract with Italian club Andrea Costa Imola. Anderson led the NEC in scoring last season with a 19.7 ppg average. Anderson scored 31 points in his team’s first preseason game.

– A new season means new basketball uniforms for some teams. Robert Morris will unveil new uniforms when the season begins. They broke them out the new road unis for picture day last week.

Jalen Cannon unveiled St. Francis Brooklyn’s new road unis during their recent photo shoot.

– The first two college basketball preview magazine has hit the newsstands. The Sporting News College Basketball Yearbook and the Lindy’s Sports College Basketball Preview Magazine were released in last couple of weeks and hence released their 2014-15 NEC men’s basketball predictions. Here is how they predicted things will fall in the NEC:

Sporting News

  1. St. Francis Brooklyn
  2. Central Connecticut
  3. Robert Morris
  4. Mount St. Mary’s
  5. Saint Francis PA
  6. Bryant
  7. Wagner
  8. LIU Brooklyn
  9. Fairleigh Dickinson
  10. Sacred Heart

NEC Player of the Year: Jalen Cannon – St. Francis Brooklyn
NEC Newcomer of the Year: Chris Martin – Mount St. Mary’s
NEC Coach of the Year: Andy Toole – Robert Morris

Lindy’s

  1. Central Connecticut
  2. Bryant
  3. Saint Francis PA
  4. Robert Morris
  5. St. Francis Brooklyn
  6. Wagner
  7. Mount St. Mary’s
  8. LIU Brooklyn
  9. Fairleigh Dickinson
  10. Sacred Heart

NEC Player of the Year: Dyami Starks – Bryant
NEC Newcomer of the Year: Jamil Hood Jr. – LIU Brooklyn
No selection for NEC Coach of the Year

Athlon Sports College Basketball Preview Magazine is the next preview magazine that is due out. It should hit newsstands next week.

New Season, New Blood: The 2014-15 NEC MBB Freshman Class

In the fifth installment of our 2014-15 Northeast Conference Men’s Basketball previews, it is time to look at the 2014 freshman class around the NEC. We will take a look at each incoming freshmen and try to identify which ones could have a change to make an impact to their teams this upcoming season.

As always, it is hard to predict which freshmen will come into the season and get playing time right away or slowly gain the trust of the coaching staff and gradually get more minutes as the season goes along. From some teams, the opportunities are there for certain freshmen to take reins on a starting job and run with it. Others will have to impress coming off the bench to start the season but could seeing themselves forcing their way into the starting lineup by the time conference play rolls around.

Let’s take a look at the NEC’s Class of 2014 and take a look at which of these guys which should keep an eye on this season.

We start with Central Connecticut State who brought in two freshmen to their roster for this upcoming season. The Blue Devils added 6’7” forward Mustafa Jones from Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx. Jones averaged 13.4 ppg in 21 games during his senior year last season and led Hayes to the NYC Catholic League final. They also added 6’0” point guard Kevin Seymour from Blair Acadamy. He played in only eight games his senior season averaging 8.5 ppg and 1.2 apg. Seymour could likely backup either Malcolm McMillian or Kyle Vinales at the point for CCSU.

Saint Francis University comes into the 2014-15 season with a veteran team and this season they added more size with three freshmen, who are all forwards, to the roster. SFU head coach Rob Krimmel added 6’7” Michael Clark, 6’6” Basil Thompson and 6’8” Daniel Wallace to a team that quite frankly needed to add more size to their roster. Last season, SFU had just three players who were 6’6” or taller. With this class, SFU doubled that number.

Clark averaged 10 points and 7 rebounds in his senior season and 20 points in his junior season. He is considered a good rebounder by the SFU coaching staff as well as a finisher around the basket. Thompson averaged 11 points per contest in his junior season in high school. Was ranked #121 in the nation for small forwards by ESPN. Defense and rebounding seems to be two of his strengths coming into his rookie season. Wallace averaged 11 points and 12 rebounds in his senior season and earned first-team honors in his high school conference. He missed the majority of his junior season due to an undisclosed injury. Like Thompson, it seems like defense and rebounding are his two biggest strengths coming into his freshmen season.

I can’t see these three making a huge splash in year one considering they will be playing behind guys like Earl Brown and Ronnie Drinnon who will get the bulk of the minutes in the SFU front court. All three though might get an opportunity in non-conference play to get some minutes and see what they got and see if they can more minutes during the NEC season.

Bryant comes into 2014-15 with a three-player rookie class. The Bulldogs have gotten a few gems in the Oceania region of the world, mostly from Australia, but this time head coach Tim O’Shea found himself a New Zealander in 6’8” forward/center Angus Riley. Recently, he played 16 games for the Nelson Giants of the New Zealand NBL in and averaged 3.4 ppg and 2 rpg and shot 40% from the floor. He averaged 18 points and 13 rebounds and four assists in his senior season in high school. He was also captain of New Zealand’s Under-18 men’s national team in 2013.

6’2” guard Hunter Ware from Powder Springs, Georgia might be a freshman to keep an eye on. Ware started the last three seasons at point guard for North Cobb Christian HS in Georgia. He averaged 19.4 ppg last season as a senior and was second-team all-state. He received a three-star rating from scout.com. Ware certainly will have to fight to get some minutes at the point for Bryant this season. Right now, the Bulldogs have five points guards on the roster with Shane McLaughlin the likely starter. He will join the competition with sophomore Justin Brickman for backup minutes. 6’5” guard Blake McBride also arrives at Bryant after starting the last two seasons for J Serra Catholic in California. Averaged 10 points, four rebounds and five assists as his team’s senior captain.

Reigning NEC champions Mount St. Mary‘s brings in a five-player freshmen class along with redshirt freshmen 6’1” guard Charles Glover. Glover tore his ACL last year and didn’t play last season. He averaged 11.1 ppg as a senior high school season. The other five true freshmen looks like they fit the Mount Mayhem style of play.

The star of Mount’s class might be 6’8” center Mawdo Sallah. He prepped last season at Fishburne Military Academy. He is an ESPN three-star ranked big man who averaged 18 points, 14.8 rebounds and 4.5 blocks his senior season. He is a big-time rim protector who can score inside and has a knack for grabbing the boards. He will only further help enhance an already big Mount front court.

6’9” Troy Henderson is considered an athletic wing with a 7’1” wingspan, who can shoot the ball and play defense. As you would expect from a Mount recruit, he can stroke the three-point shot and his shooting ability should help alleviate the loss of the shooting that they lost due to graduation.  Another long wing is 6’8” Chris Wray who averaged 11 points and six rebounds last season. He has a 7’2” wingspan and the Mount coaches believe he can guard any player on the court. Wray played with Mawdo Sallah at Fishburne.

6’6” forward Chris Manning is considered as another above the rim player who can shot block and rebound as well as score inside. Finally, 5’7” point guard Lamont Robinson Jr. averaged 22 points and five assists his junior season. He is quick and possesses an over 40-inch vertical leap. He could make point guards around the NEC lives difficult when he steps on the floor.

Fairleigh Dickinson brings in a five-player freshmen class led by 6’4” shooting guard Marques Townes from Edison, NJ. Townes had a three-star ranking from ESPN and a 70 grade. Ranked 51st in the nation by ESPN among shooting guards. He won a NJ state championship last season while averaging 17 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals his senior year and was named third-team all-state. He could make an immediate impact for head coach Greg Herenda’s squad.

The Knights also landed 6’1” Darian Anderson, a guard from Washington D.C. who averaged 13.6 points per game last season. He is described as quick with good shooting range. He is able to play both the point and the shooting guard positions. 6’4” guard Terrell Bagley from Linden, NJ averaged 12 ppg last season on his way to being named second-team All-Union County. 6’6” combo guard Earl Potts Jr. from Severn, Maryland prepped last season at Coastal Academy in Belmar, NJ. Potts Jr. averaged 17.8 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.4 blocks per game his senior season two years ago and earned first-team All-Baltimore Catholic League. Look for Potts to get an opportunity to play early on. Lastly, 6’1” guard Stephan Jiggetts, who transferred in from Albany, will be eligible to play this season. He averaged 18 points and five assists per game in his senior season.

Robert Morris finished last season with just eight players so a re-tooling of the roster was expected. Head coach Andy Toole brought in a four-player freshmen class this upcoming season. 6’3” guard Marcquise Reed highlights this RMU rookie class. Reed averaged 31.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game last season. Scored 52 points in last prep game. Topped 40 points in a game five times last season. He is a big-time scorer and will be looked upon to help fill void left behind by the departure of last season’s NEC Player of the Year Karvel Anderson.

6’2” guard Jafar Kinsey from Syracuse, NY, averaged 20.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 5.3 apg his senior season. He was twice selected first-team All-Freedom Conference. He was a starter the last three seasons and was team captain the last two. RMU also added two big men in 6’8” Elijah Minnie and 6’8” Andre Frederick. Minnie averaged 15.7 ppg, 12.3 rpg, and 5 bpg last season while Frederick averaged 12.4 ppg, 9.6 rpg and 3.2 bpg and shot 59 percent from the floor last season. Minnie was a Pennsylvania All-State First-Team member while Frederick was earned Connecticut All-State Second-Team honors.

Wagner has brought in a five-player freshmen class as well. Head coach Bashir Mason signed a trio of point guards in 6’1” JoJo Cooper, 6’3” Corey Henson and 5’10” Aaren Edmead. Both Cooper and Henson could see minutes at either guard spot. Cooper averaged 17 points, 5 assists, and 4 steals per games in earning first-team All-State in Delaware while Henson played at famed DeMatha Catholic and averaged 13.2 ppg his senior year. Edmead will compete for minutes as a backup point guard. The Deer Park, NY native averaged 19.5 ppg and made nearly 2.5 three-pointers per game his senior season. Newsday selected him as Long Island’s 2014 Player of the Year.

Also playing at Grymes Hill this season are 6’3” shooting guard Romone Saunders and 6’7” forward Japhet Kadji. Saunders prepped last season and averaged 17 points and 6 rebounds per game while dishing out 3.7 assists per game. He improved on his 12.2 ppg average from his senior year. He could get an opportunity at shooting guard as Wagner looks to replace the departed Latif Rivers. Kadji could get a chance to get himself to get playing time with Wagner’s lack of depth in the front court. It will depend on if Wagner can get transfer Mike Aaman eligible this season or not. He averaged 7 points and 5 rebounds last season in his prep year.

Over at Sacred Heart, head coach Anthony Latina brings in four freshmen onto his roster. First, 6’0” point guard Cane Broome joins Sacred Heart after a prep season at St. Thomas More where he averaged over 13 ppg last season. He made the McDonald’s All-American Nominee list last season. He is described as a quick point guard who will look to push the pace which is the style of play Latina wants on offense. Will play behind and get to learn from one of the best pure point guards in the NEC this season in senior Phil Gaetano.

Sacred Heart also signed a pair of shooting guards in 6’2” Vince Fritz and 6’3” Chris Robinson. Fritz averaged 12.3 ppg and 4.3 rpg his junior season and was second-team All-State in Kansas. Robinson played at Cardinal Hayes in the Bronx where he averaged 14 ppg as a senior and 17 ppg as a junior. Sacred Heart is looking for the next Shane Gibson to work into their gym. Lastly, 6’10” big man Filip Nowicki will be SHU’s tallest player on their roster. The Poland native averaged 11 ppg and 9 rpg while playing prep ball in Indiana last season. He was also a member of Poland’s Under-18 men’s national team and competed in the 2013 Under-18 Euro Championships.

In Brooklyn Heights where expectations are likely to be high this season, St. Francis Brooklyn added three freshmen to their roster in 5’11” point guard Glenn Sanabria, 6’2” shooting guard Gunnar Olafsson and 6’4 shooting guard Keon Williams. Sanabria will play behind senior starter Brent Jones. Sanabria averaged 13.6 points and 6 assists per game last season for St. Peter’s in Staten Island. He was named to MSG Varsity’s New York City’s first-team. He is considered a point guard who makes good decisions on the court as well as a strong defender.

Olafsson, one of three incoming freshmen into the NEC from Iceland, played for SC Keflavik in Iceland where he averaged 8.1 points and 2.7 rebounds in 24 games last season. He shot 43% from the field and 27.4% from three. He is already 21 years of age. Williams just recently signed with the Terriers just before the school year began. Williams averaged 18.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg 2.4 spg, and 1.9 bpg last season for John Hardin HS in Kentucky. SFC has an opening at the starting shooting guard position with the departure of Ben Mockford so these two guys will likely compete for the spot.

Finally, LIU Brooklyn brings in five true freshmen to their team this season in addition to redshirt freshman Nura Zanna who missed all of last season to a wrist injury. I will have more on LIU’s freshmen class in the future as I breakdown the entire LIU Brooklyn 2014-15 roster but to summarize, LIU brought in two point guards in 6’0” Elvar Fridriksson from Iceland and 6’1” Jamil Hood Jr. to compete for the open point guard position left by Jason Brickman’s departure. Head coach Jack Perri also brought twin 6’6” forwards Trevin Woods and Trevon Woods to add much needed front court depth and added 6’3” combo guard Martin Hermannsson also from Iceland who could see immediate playing time. It will not be all at surprising to see all of LIU freshmen get quality playing time this season as LIU looks to rebuild a year removed from their three consecutive NEC championships.

Also check out the first four installments of our 2014-15 NEC Previews. Part One: Manning the point: 2014-15 NEC Point Guard Preview, Part Two: Get Out the Three Goggles: The NEC’s Best Returning Three-Point Bombers, Part Three: Working the Interior: Previewing the 2014-15 NEC Bigs and Part Four: Who’s New in the NEC: The 2014-15 Transfers

LIU Brooklyn MBB Official 2014-15 roster announced, Jerome Frink added.

This morning, LIU Brooklyn Athletics released the official men’s basketball roster for the upcoming 2014-15 season.

There was no real surprise to the roster with the exception of LIU announcing the addition of 6’7” junior forward Jerome Frink who comes to Downtown Brooklyn from Florida International University. He will play for the Blackbirds in 2015-16 after he sits out the 2014-15 season due to NCAA transfer rules.

At FIU, Frink played one season under current Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino, the son of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, and last season played under Anthony Evans who came to FIU from Norfolk State.

Former FIU forward Jerome Frink will play for LIU Brooklyn, will sit out 2014-15 season. (Photo Credit: FIU Athletics/www.fiusports.com)

Former FIU forward Jerome Frink will play for LIU Brooklyn, will sit out 2014-15 season. (Photo Credit: FIU Athletics/www.fiusports.com)

Frink, in his freshman season at FIU under Pitino, started in 25 of the 32 games played that season. He averaged 10.2 ppg and 6.3 rpg while shooting 46.4% from the field. He shot 30% from three and 60.4% free throw shooter. Last season, Frink numbers dipped a bit under head coach Anthony Evans. He started in all 31 games played and averaged 8.4 ppg and 4.4 rpg while shooting 45.9% from the field. He shot just 19.4% from three in 36 attempts and was a 73% free throw shooter. He has fouled out of nine games in his two seasons at FIU.

In April, Alex Kline of the TheRecruitScoop.com tweeted that Frink would be transferring from FIU. Then in May, he tweeted that Frink was taking a visit to LIU Brooklyn.

Frink played his high school basketball at New Jersey power St. Anthony’s High School in Jersey City, NJ under legendary high school coach Bob Hurley Sr. Some of Frink high school teammates include former UCLA point guard Kyle Anderson who was recently drafted into the NBA by the defending champions San Antonio Spurs with the 30th pick in the first round, Tariq Carey who played a year at Quinnipiac before transferring to junior college last season, and Hallice Cooke who played at Oregon State and will transfer to Iowa State.

With Frink addition, LIU Brooklyn will have seven new faces to the roster from last season’s team, five freshmen and two transfers. The team returns back just six players who played last season. The roster includes six freshmen, three sophomores, two juniors, and three seniors. With this announcement, we also learn that guard/forward Gilbert Parga who spent the last two seasons with LIU and played last season after sitting out his first, will not be returning back for his senior season.

Here is the class breakdown of the 2014-15 LIU Brooklyn roster:

Seniors:

  • #4 Gerrell Martin – 4th season
  • #1 Landon Atterberry – 2nd season
  • #20 Chris Carter – 2nd season

Juniors:

  • #32 Jonathan Tshibuy – 1st season
  • #2 Jerome Frink – 1st season (will sit out 2014-15 season)

Sophomores:

  • #3 Iverson Fleming – 2nd season
  • #11 Joel Hernandez – 2nd season
  • #23 Glenn Feidanga – 2nd season

Freshmen:

  • #13 Nura Zanna – 2nd season (redshirted 2012-13)
  • #0 Trevin Woods – 1st season
  • #5 Trevon Woods – 1st season
  • #10 Elvar Fridriksson – 1st season
  • #24 Martin Hermannsson – 1st season
  • #12 Jamil Hood Jr. – 1st season

Players not returning from last season’s team:

  • E.J. Reed – transferred to Tarleton State University (Division II)
  • D.J. Griggs – transferred to Pace University (Division II)
  • Troy Joseph – transferred to McMaster University (Canada)
  • Gilbert Parga

Also, a couple of uniform number changes to be aware of. Landon Atterberry will wear #1 this season. Martin Hermannsson will wear Atterberry’s old number #24. Nura Zanna will go with #13 this season.

LIU Brooklyn will hopefully be announcing their 2014-15 men’s basketball schedule in the very near future. It is likely they are waiting for the official NIT Season Tip-Off announcement to be released. So far just one of the eight participation teams (Minnesota) has released their 2014-15 schedule.

Who’s New in the NEC: The 2014-15 Transfers

After every college basketball season, the list of transfers on the move is seemingly increasing year after year after year. This summer was no exception as the transfer number might have reached an all-time high with nearly 500 players making their way to new schools.

The NEC is not immune to the transfer dilemma as nearly 20 players who were on NEC rosters in 2013-14 have left their teams for any of a multitude of reasons whether it is either for more playing time, to be closer to home, to play at a level more suitable to their skills, etc.

With these departures comes openings on rosters and a good way to fill some pressing needs is to bring in transfers, from either the junior college ranks or guys who left their previous schools for reasons mentioned above, that can help contribute right away.

This season, seven of the NEC’s ten teams with have at least one eligible transfer on their roster who will look to make an instant impact to their team’s success. Let’s take a look at this season’s NEC transfers looking to make their mark on the conference.

Sacred Heart transfer Jordan Allen (Photo: Hofstra Athletics)

Sacred Heart will look to get immediate contributions from 6’6” Hofstra transfer Jordan Allen. Allen, who had reportedly been considering playing for LIU Brooklyn before making his final decision to play for head coach Anthony Latina and his Pioneers in July, started in all 30 games he played for Hofstra last season. He averaged 6.6 ppg and 4.8 rpg in his 28.2 minutes per game a season ago. He shot 45% from the floor last season. He does have some flaws to his game. He is a poor free throw shooter at 44.8% last season and committed 118 fouls and fouled out of 13 games. He reached double figure scoring eight times with a season-high of 18 points versus Delaware. Allen will likely be inserted right into the starting lineup in the front court as Sacred Heart will look for him to replace some of the production lost from Louis Montes and Mostafa Abdul Latif from graduation. Allen will have two years of eligibility remaining and is immediately eligible since he graduated from Hofstra in May.

Robert Morris will have a pair of junior college transfers coming in, both from Cloud County Community College in Kansas in 6’9” junior forward Lionel Gomis and 6’5” junior guard Rodney Pryor. Gomis played in 30 games last season with 29 starts and scored 5.3 ppg with 7.6 rpg. He shot 39.5% from the floor in 2013-14. This guy is a monster rebounder. He had ten games of at least ten rebounds or more last season and had one game where he ended up with 21 rebounds. He fouled out seven times and had 22 total blocks last season. Gomis is not much of a scorer, hitting double figures just twice and scoring a season-high 12 points both times. He does fit the defensive style head coach Andy Toole loves to play at RMU. Could see him making an impact on the defensive end this season for the Colonials.

Pryor is a bit of an enigma. He didn’t play last season after he tore his ACL last October. He played his freshman season at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa. He played in 22 games that season, scoring 91 total points. He shot 44% from the floor and was 8 for 31 from three. It will be interesting to see how much of a contribution Pryor will have on this RMU team in 2014-15 with guards like Charles Oliver and David Appolon likely ahead of him on the depth chart.

The Bryant Bulldogs will have one eligible transfer on their roster this season in 6’5” redshirt junior guard Zach Chionuma. He sat out last season after transferring to Bryant from Boston University. At Boston U., he appeared in 60 games during his two seasons at BU and averaged just 1.8 ppg while shooting 32.8% from the floor. He shot 28% from three and averaged just 6.7 mpg. If there is one position Bryant is loaded at, it is at guard, both point guard and shooting guard, and with Dyami Starks, Joe O’Shea and Curtis Oakley likely getting the bulk of the playing time, it is going to be hard to figure what kind of an impact if any Chionuma will have with Bryant this season.

Mount transfer Andrew Smeathers. (Photo: http://www.indystar.com)

At Mount St. Mary’s, there is plenty of size returning back for the reigning NEC champs. They add one more front line guy in 6’8” junior forward Andrew Smeathers. Smeathers sat out last season after transferring to the Mount from Butler where he averaged 1.5 ppg in 43 games played over two seasons. He shot 28.4% from the field and 26.2% from three in limited minutes at Butler. He did have a career-high 17 points against non-Division I opponent Oakland City. Smeathers like to shoot the three and at the Mount, that is encouraged so he should fit right in immediately into Christian’s Mount Mayhem offense which relies heavily on the three.

Another transfer coming into the Mount is 6’0” junior guard Chris Martin who arrives from Marshall. Martin sat out last season after playing in 41 games over two seasons at Marshall. He averaged 2.6 ppg over his two seasons there and shot 28.9% from the field and 27.6% from three. Averaged 15.1 minutes per game his sophomore season in 2012-13 and scored 13 points at Villanova and 12 points at Hofstra. Martin could possibly could see himself in the mix at guard as Christian is known for playing a lot of guys in the Mayhem system to keep the pressure on opponents both offensively and defensively.

Wagner transfer Stedman Allen. (Photo: Labette Athletics)

Wagner got a bit of a surprise this offseason with the transfer of Mario Moody to Bethune-Cookman. That created a big hole in their front court. Wagner head coach Bashir Mason decided to hit the transfer market to plug in the holes up front. He landed 6’6” junior college transfer Stedman Allen from Labette Community College in Kansas. Allen put up some impressive numbers in junior college. He averaged 18 ppg and 10 rpg his freshman season and then repeated his fine play last season with an 18.1 ppg and 7.3 rpg season. He shot 45.4 % from the floor last season and hit nearly 77% of his free throws. He had sixteen games last season where he went for 20 or more points in a game and scored a season-high 31 points. Allen is also an outstanding rebounder. He had seven doubles-doubles a season ago and only fouled out of three games so he keeps himself in games. I would have to imagine Allen will be immediately inserted to Wagner’s starting lineup from game one to fill the hole left behind by Mario Moody.

Wagner also landed a late transfer in former Wagner commit Mike Aaman. Aaman transferred in from Rhode Island where he played the last two seasons under former Wagner head coach Dan Hurley. The 6’8” forward averaged 4.4 ppg and 3.1 rpg in 30 total games at URI in his two seasons there. He played just five games last season due to various injuries including issues with concussions that ultimately caused him to leave URI. Aaman shot 28.9% from the field and 27.6% from three and just 44.4% from the free throw line while at URI. He choose to commit to Wagner in August after visits to LIU Brooklyn and Niagara. Aaman has applied for a transfer waiver in an attempt to play this season. If the NCAA accepts his waiver request, Bashir Mason will have another good piece for his front court. Aaman is a bit of a gamble considering he has major issues with concussions and could be one more concussion away from having his career being ended. On Tuesday, Aaman was medically cleared to play this season if he becomes eligible. Aaman reportedly played well and looked great at the Jersey Shore Summer League this summer. If he plays this season, he should have immediate impact on Wagner’s team this season.

LIU Brooklyn last week landed a late transfer in 6’5” junior college junior forward Jonathon Tshibury. Tshibury arrives to Downtown Brooklyn from Missouri State-West Plains. Here is more in-depth info I posted up last week regarding Tshibury. He joins a young but what may be a rather entertaining LIU Brooklyn team this season.

One team who went heavy on the transfer market was St. Francis Brooklyn. Head coach Glenn Braica and his staff brought in four junior college transfers. Two who signed early on this offseason is 6’6” junior forward Chris Hooper and 6’2” junior guard Tyreek Jewell. They also signed a pair of late transfers just last week in 6’5” guard/forward Jonathon Doss and 6’8” forward/center Antonio Jenifer.

Hooper is a Bronx native who did not play in 2013-14 after playing the previous two seasons at two different junior colleges. Two seasons ago at Odessa Community College, he played in 29 games and averaged 6.9 ppg and 5.8 rpg in shooting 51.6% from the floor. In his freshman season at Kaskaskia College, he played in 30 games and averaged 11.7 ppg and 9 rpg and shot 62% from the floor and averaged nearly a block a game defensively. Hooper adds depth to an already pretty loaded front court.

St. Francis Brooklyn transfer Tyreek Jewell (Photo: http://www.post-journal.com)

Jewell comes to Brooklyn Heights after a great season in 2013-14. He played at Jamestown Community College outside of Buffalo and averaged a tremendous 25.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg and 3.8 apg in 24 games a season ago. He shot 44.3% from the floor and 39% from three. Had four games where he DIDN’T go for at least 20 points in a game and nine times went for at least 30 or more points including a season-high 37 points. He also had an equally impressive freshman season where is averaged 21.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg and 2.1 apg and shot 46.2% from the floor and scored a career-high 38 points in his very first college game. There is little doubt he will land the open starting shooting guard spot available after the graduation of Ben Mockford.

Doss was one of two late transfers to the SFC roster. Doss is a 6’5” junior guard who comes from Eastern Wyoming College in Wyoming. Last season, Doss played in 17 games and averaged 18.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.1 apg while shooting 51.2% from the floor and 40.5% from three. He had a season-high 30 points in a game a season ago. Also had a nice freshman season where he played 31 games and averaged 13.8 ppg and 4.3 rpg and shot 41.5% from the field. Doss should be in competition to get himself into the rotation at the third guard spot with these kind of numbers in junior college. Will have to fight for time with guys like Kevin Douglas and Lowell Ulmer returning.

Lastly, Antonio Jenifer is arriving to SFC from Hagerstown Community College in Maryland. Jenifer did not play in 2013-14 although he was mentioned on Cal State Bakerfield’s athletics website last August but was never on their roster for last season. Two seasons ago at Hagerstown, Jenifer averaged 21.1 ppg and 8.4 rpg in 33 games that season. He shot 47.8% from the floor and 35.7% from three. Scored 30 or more five times in 2012-13 and scored a season-high 35 point in a game. In 2011-12, he averaged 16.6 ppg and 8 rpg in 32 games that season. He shot 54% from the floor and 32% from beyond the arc. He is also a good shot blocker with 49 blocks two seasons ago and 71 blocks his freshman season. It will be interesting to see how Glenn Braica will utilize Jenifer’s size in the middle. There is an opening at the five with Matt Milk’s departure but Jalen Cannon can play that spot and have other forwards play along side with him. Jenifer could make it interesting if he knocks off the rust and plays somewhat close to how he played in junior college. Far and away, SFC looks like they brought in some big time transfers that can play big roles in their success in 2013-14.

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