Kenny Onyechi (right) is among the top LIU performers in field goal percentage, from the forward position.
Photos by C. Gottlieb
Photo by C. Gottlieb

The Blackbirds’ basketball team at Long Island University-Brooklyn is having one of its finest season during recent years and maybe in the school’s history if the wins continue the way they have been.

With less than a month left on their remaining regular season schedule, the Blackbirds could be headed to the NCAA Division I post season tournament just like they did last year. At press time they have the best record in their Northeast College Conference, and in the met area for league games.

Led by Julian Boyd and Jamal Olasewere, both of whom went over the 1,000 point mark this season during their careers, and the work of their backcourt, the Blackbirds, who were the favorites to win the title before the campaign started, took nine straight games at one stage of the season.

Jim Ferry, in his tenth year at the helm of the team, employs a three-guard offense comprising backcourt players CJ Garner, Jason Brickman and Michael Culpo. The latter is their only senior starter. There are two seniors on their roster. The rest are all under classmen.

Brickman is the best point guard in the Northeast Conference, according to the veteran coach. “He controls games. He lets the game come to him, He can make the three-point shot. If a lay-up shows, he can do that, too. And he’s a great passer.”

“Last year, the Blackbirds had so many good players,” said Ferry. “We were bringing in Culpo and Brickman and Kenny (Onyechi) off the bench. This year we don’t have much depth. It was hard to keep so many good players. Now our returning players are better than we were last year, but we don’t have so many as we did.”

Olasewere and Boyd have been playing tremendous basketball, and have been starting almost every game. They put the ball into the hoop and guard Brickman is doing a great job in setting them up and passing off for those assists. Ferry said that Boyd and Olasewere are the cornerstones of the team. But Brickman can’t be left out.

“They are two monsters,” Ferry said. “The reason we are really good is because we have Brickman at the point and those two guys at the forward positions. We are staying together as a group. We have good chemistry.”

Good coaching and outstanding players usually produce a winner and that’s just what the team has been doing.

“Coach Ferry has done a tremendous coaching job this year,’ athletic director John Suarez said. “Going into the year we lost key players but had a lot of players coming back.

“Since our depth has been up and down a bit, we relied a lot on our first five players. Jimmy’s got them playing on all cylinders again. We need everyone for support.”

The Blackbirds still have to get better, and hopefully they can capture the regular season title, win the conference tournament, and go deep into the NCAA tourney.

Julian Boyd (center) has been the top scorer for LIU in the 2010-1011 season.
Photo by C. Gottlieb

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