The 2012-13 season was expected to be a special one for LIU Brooklyn as the Blackbirds welcomed back many of the players who played a role in the program winning consecutive NEC titles.
Even with Jim Ferry moving on to take over at Duquesne, the presences of players such as forwards Julian Boyd and Jamal Olasewere and guards Jason Brickman and C.J. Garner was seen as enough to make sure LIU remained in its perch atop the NEC.
However those hopes have taken a significant hit, as it was reported by Nelson Castillo of Blackbirds Hoops Journal that Boyd would miss the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL. Boyd suffered the injury diving for a loose ball in LIU’s 97-70 win at Rice on Wednesday night.
This is the latest turn in a college career that began with Boyd earning NEC Rookie of the Year honors following the 2008-09 season, only to see his entire 2009-10 season end before it began due to a heart ailment. Boyd would bounce back to earn First Team All-NEC honors in the next two years, winning NEC Player of the Year last season.
2012-13 didn’t get off to the best start as Boyd was one of four players suspended for the Blackbirds’ first two conference games due to their involvement in an on-campus brawl, and LIU dropped their first four games before beginning their current four-game win streak.
In eight games Boyd averaged 18.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, and the hope is that he will be eligible to receive a medical hardship waiver. Per NCAA rules you cannot play in more than 30% of your team’s games in order to be eligible for a waiver, and with 30 games (not counting the NEC tournament or postseason play) on the Blackbirds’ schedule Boyd falls below that threshold.
With Boyd out of the lineup head coach Jack Perri will rely even more on Jamal Olasewere (19.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg), who tallied 26 points and eight rebounds in the win at Rice. With Boyd done for the year and Kenny Onyechi just returning from a broken foot that sidelined him for the first six games, players such as E.J. Reed and Booker Hucks will be asked to do more as well.
Does Boyd’s injury rule out a third straight title for LIU? No, but it certainly makes the road to that crown much tougher to navigate.