Long Island University forward Boyd shoots over Michigan State University's Green and Payne during their men's NCAA college basketball game in Columbus

Four LIU players reinstated following brawl

Leave a comment

Long Island announced in a Monday afternoon release that four men’s basketball players involved in an on-campus brawl have been reinstated and will be suspended for the first two Northeast Conference games of the 2012-13 season.

The team’s top three scorers, seniors Julian Boyd, Jamal Olasewere and C.J. Garner, along with redshirt sophomore Troy Joseph will also be placed on probation by the school, all stemming from a Sept. 15 brawl with members of the school’s track and field team. All four were charged with third-degree assault.

“The University has concluded its investigation and has heard the appeals of the four members of the LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball team. After a thorough review, the University has lifted the suspensions of the student-athletes and has placed them on probation,” LIU Athletic Director John Suarez said in a release. “In addition to sanctions implemented by the University, the Athletic Department has suspended the four players for the first two Northeast Conference games of the 2012-13 season.”

This is good new for the Blackbirds and coach Jack Perri, who returns a bulk of their squad from last season’s NEC tournament championship team that lost to Michigan State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

As a whole, LIU gets back 46.9 points and 19.3 rebounds from it’s 2011-12 team in Garner, Boyd and Olasewere. Joseph has yet to play at LIU after a redshirt season as a true freshman and missing last season due to injury.

Kudos to the LIU administration for making the suspension count by suspending the players for the first two games of the conference season. LIU opens the regular season against Morehead State in the brand-new Barclays Center in town and at Lafayette on the road, but conference games in a one-bid league like the NEC matter more, so these suspensions could greatly affect the season for LIU if those two games are losses.

The NEC has yet to announce the conference schedule.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.