The collegiate career of LIU Brooklyn sixth-year senior forward Julian Boyd has hit another bump, as it was reported by Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports that Boyd re-tore the ACL in his right knee this summer. According to the report the earliest that the one-time NEC Player of the Year would be able to return to action would be in January.
This is yet another serious blow for Boyd, whose career nearly came to an end following a freshman season in which he earned NEC Rookie of the Year honors due to a heart ailment. After sitting out the entire 2009-10 season as a medical redshirt Boyd returned to the court with a vengeance, earning first team All-NEC honors while helping to lead the Blackbirds to the first of their three consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament.
Boyd was even better as a junior as he averaged 17.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per contest, winning NEC Player of the Year honors. But eight games into the 2012-13 season he suffered a torn ACL in LIU’s 97-70 win over Rice. Head coach Jack Perri was able to lead the Blackbirds to another NEC tournament crown due to the presence of veterans such as forward Jamal Olasewere (who won NEC Player of the Year) and point guard Jason Brickman.
And just when it seemed as if Boyd was on track to return to the starting lineup, he re-injures his right knee.
While Brickman is back for his senior season Olasewere is out of eligibility, meaning that LIU’s task of winning a fourth consecutive NEC crown gets even tougher with Boyd out of the lineup. Of LIU’s front court returnees sophomore E.J. Reed is the most experienced, as he averaged 7.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per game as a freshman.
Can Reed make a significant jump in production now that Boyd is unavailable (there’s also the graduation of both Olasewere and Kenny Onyechi to deal with)? He’ll need to, and junior college transfers Landon Atterberry and Chris Carter will need to hit the ground running as well. LIU also adds a pair of freshmen in Glenn Feidanga and Nurra Zanna, with the latter being the younger brother of Pitt senior forward Talib Zanna.
LIU won’t lack for bodies in Boyd’s absence, but the loss of a player as talented and experienced as the sixth-year senior is a tough blow to take less than a month before practice begins. What kind of player will Boyd be if he’s able to return to the court this season? That’s a tough question to answer, especially when it comes to serious knee injuries.
But given his career up to this point, if there’s anyone who can come back and ultimately flourish it’s Julian Boyd.