Long Island’s Julian Boyd Back From One-In-Million Diagnosis

Posted by jstevrtc on December 20th, 2010

We’re constantly impressed by the fearlessness shown by athletes in coming back from injuries and medical hurdles, playing as if nothing had ever happened, ignoring that the rolled ankle becomes a little less stable every time it happens, that concussions can have an additive effect over time, that blood sugar levels have to be monitored no matter if it’s during study hall or a time out during an overtime. It’s even more amazing when players play with or through medical issues that 18-22 year-olds, quite frankly, shouldn’t have to deal with, espeically those involving the ticker. After nearly dying twice this past summer from cardiac issues, do you think Seton Hall’s Herb Pope won’t enjoy every snowflake this winter or every fruitcake he gets as a Christmas present, let alone the chance to continue playing basketball?

We Say Bravo That Boyd Is Back For the Blackbirds (Photo: LIU)

In that spirit, check out this AP story from the Wall Street Journal today about the return of Long Island University’s Julian Boyd, who has returned to the court this season after taking a year off. After a freshman campaign that earned him the honor of being named the Northeast Conference’s Rookie of the Year after the 2008-09 season, Boyd began to experience symptoms resembling kidney failure. Tests revealed that he had a congenital (meaning it often occurs while you’re in the womb, no matter the cause) heart condition called noncompaction cardiomyopathy, a disorder in which the muscle in your heart stays soft and spongy during its development, causing it to enlarge and not beat as efficiently as it should.

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Morning Five: 12.15.10 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on December 15th, 2010

  1. Quiz time: of conferences which are eligible for consideration in the CollegeInsider.com mid-major rankings, which league has racked up the most wins against teams from the big six? Time’s up — it’s the Atlantic Sun. We dig it when a small conference takes an opportunity to strut a little bit, especially when they provide good evidence as to why you should take heed. Yes, that’s the A-Sun’s Belmont tucked in neatly at 66th in the latest KenPoms, and that is indeed the A-Sun listed in the top half of all conferences at CollegeRPI.com (14th). Another good thing about the linked article is that it reminded us about the names of the two divisions in the Cancun Challenge: Riviera and Mayan (won by the A-Sun’s North Florida). Come on. At least it skunks Leaders and Legends.
  2. We can’t say for sure, but hopefully the folks at Siena take it as a compliment that we’ve come to expect so much from them every year, especially come tournament time. It’s in that spirit that we ask…what happened, here? We all knew it wouldn’t be easy replacing studs like Alex Franklin and Edwin Ubiles, not to mention departed coach Fran McCaffery. Sure, the Saints seem to have taken a serene, trance-like approach to playing defense at times this season, but nobody handicapped a 3-6 start. Mark Singelais of the Albany Times Union details how Siena has decided to put the first month of the season behind them, and proclaim Tuesday’s win over Florida Atlantic as the new beginning to their 2010-11 campaign.
  3. There’s now a Wolf among the Huskies. Connecticut has announced the mid-season addition of Enosch Wolf, a 7’1 center from Germany, to the squad. He’s enrolled and ready to go, eligible to practice on Sunday and play his first game on Monday. Coppin State – the Huskies’ foe on that night, whose tallest player playing at least 20 MPG stands at 6’8 — is not amused. Wilkommen in Connecticut!
  4. If Syracuse’s Rick Jackson looks different to you this season…good eye. Here’s a nice piece from Fanhouse about how Jackson’s lopping off of about 10% of his body mass during the off-season has led to increased expectations for Jackson from his coaching staff and teammates. You can sense the pride that fellow Orange(-man) Kris Joseph and guru Jim Boeheim feel toward Jackson in the way they talk about him in the article. More noteworthy is that you get the same sense of increased confidence from how Jackson talks about himself, his increased responsibility, and his improved skills. Averaging a robust 14.0 PPG and 12.5 RPG doesn’t hurt the ol’ confidence, either. But it’s all cyclical…
  5. We’re among those who really want New York to become a college hoops town again, and New York magazine’s Will Leitch — yes, that guy – has provided a tidy summary of how the NYC schools are doing so far. It’s shocking to see the depths to which Manhattan has plunged, and to note that, even though the Johnnies are limping right now, there’s still a Secretariat-like gap between St. John’s and the next-best NYC team (Long Island). So, even though the Steve Lavin rebuild of SJU is still in its infancy (or possibly still a fetus), all hopes of turning NYC back into the college basketball town that it should be still rest with them. We really want this to happen, no matter which school leads the way, but if it’s the Johnnies, that’s fine with us. Plus, that means we’ll probably all have more Erin Sharoni in our lives (SJU sideline reporter — it’s only a matter of time for her), and that’s just good for everyone.
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RTC Conference Primers: #27 – Northeast Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 8th, 2010

Ray Floriani of NBE Basketball Report and College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC.

Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Quinnipiac (15-3)
  2. Long Island University (13-5)
  3. Robert Morris (13-5)
  4. Central Connecticut State (11-7)
  5. St. Francis (NY) (11-7)
  6. St. Francis (PA) (9-9)
  7. Wagner (9-9)
  8. Mount St. Mary’s (7-11)
  9. Fairleigh Dickinson (7-11)
  10. Monmouth (6-12)
  11. Sacred Heart (4-14)
  12. Bryant (3-15)

All Conference Team

  • Ricky Cadell (G) – St. Francis (NY)
  • James Johnson (G) – Quinnipiac
  • Justin Rutty (C) – Quinnipiac
  • Mike Scott (G) – Fairleigh Dickinson
  • Karon Abraham (G) – Robert Morris

Sixth Man

  • Will Felder (F)St. Francis (PA)

Impact Newcomer

  • Tevin Baskin (F) – Quinnipiac

Karon Abraham and the Colonials nearly upset Villanova in March, but how does Robert Morris stack up this year? (northjersey.com)

What You Need To Know

  • The NEC is a 12-team conference. Bryant plays a full conference slate but is two years away from eligibility for the conference crown. The top eight teams in the conference qualify for the postseason tournament. In the tournament, each individual game is contested at the home court of the higher seed.
  • In the past, the conference tried to move the tournament to a neutral site.  Another format saw opening rounds at the higher seed’s home with the ‘final four’ at one school. Following those experiments. the conference decided several years back to revert to the original format.
  • For one, it gives an almost certainty of solid attendance and better media coverage (even if it is only local) through the playoffs. More importantly, special meaning is given to the regular season right up until the final day. No going through the motions on the final night on a long road trip. Teams are playing not just to qualify, but also to put themselves in a position to host as many games as possible. Given the nature of home court edge in the college game, that is a major factor.
  • As is the case in any mid-major conference, a school will build for a contending run of a year or two, then slowly slip back as they reload. In the NEC, it seems as though Robert Morris and Mount St. Mary’s were battling it out for honors for the past decade. Robert Morris will slip a bit but still is a team to watch. “The Mount” will most likely fall back, regroup and be the one in that ‘rebuilding’ cycle.
  • Players come and go, and there is quite a turnover on the sidelines. Four new mentors are on board. Glenn Briaca, a former assistant, takes over at St. Francis (NY). Danny Hurley is on board at Wagner. Mike Rice exited Moon Township and headed to Rutgers. Former assistant Andrew Toole takes over at Robert Morris. Finally, Robert Burke is on board at Mount St. Mary’s. Technicalities aside, there is a fifth ’new’ coach, Greg Vetrone, who spent last season as an interim at Fairleigh Dickinson and is now the full time head coach.

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Keon Lawrence…Reinstated At Seton Hall?

Posted by jstevrtc on November 21st, 2009

From Zagsblog comes the news today that Seton Hall junior guard Keon Lawrence will be reinstated to the team within the next week, in time for the Pirates’ game against Long Island next Saturday.  This news comes twelve days after Lawrence’s November 9th arrest for driving the wrong way on the Garden State Parkway and causing a two-car accident.  At that time, he was charged with DWI and driving with a suspended license.  No blood test was performed at the scene, but two sets of blood tests — one done at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and another done later by the New Jersey State Police — revealed Lawrence’s blood-alcohol level to be below the legal limit of 0.08, despite initial reports of the contrary.

Let’s get the most important aspect of this out of the way, first:  we think it’s a miracle and we’re incredibly happy that nobody was seriously injured in this thing.  Someone obviously could have been killed, and thank God that didn’t happen.  But that’s the point.  When this happened, there was evidently ample reason to charge Lawrence with DWI and take him to the hospital to draw blood, and for coach Bobby Gonzalez  to issue an immediate and indefinite suspension to Lawrence (admittedly, he had enough reason to suspend Lawrence just with the suspended license charge).  So we know alcohol was involved.  We don’t know anything about Lawrence’s constitution or his liver’s ability to process alcohol, but maybe he’s the kind of guy who’s blottoed at some level below the arbitrary 0.08.  That’s speculation on our part, but it barely matters.  What really matters is that Lawrence knew how many things he was doing wrong when he got in that car that night, which was also a mere four nights before playing his first game for SHU after transferring from Missouri and sitting out a whole year.  We don’t know Lawrence personally, and he might be a great kid.  But this was one bad decision after another, and someone, including Lawrence himself, could have paid the ultimate price.

That in mind, doesn’t three early-season games sound a little light as far as a suspension?  We’re all for second chances, here, and we pride ourselves in not being one of those sites that just goes out and finds reasons to pick on 18-to-22 year-old kids so we can pass judgment and appear clever.  But…decisions that break various laws and that could kill you or others = three games?

We’ll say this — if Lawrence has learned his lessons regarding this whole issue, that’s great.  That’s what matters in the end, that people learn from their mistakes and change their behavior accordingly.  That’s the object of any punishment.  We hope he learns to take full advantage of all the opportunities he’s been awarded.  But reinstating Lawrence after a mere three games after an incident like this makes it look like the Seton Hall program didn’t take this whole thing very seriously at all.

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Checking in on the… NEC

Posted by rtmsf on December 1st, 2008

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC Conferences.

SOUTH ORANGE , NJ –  There were a few tough starts for teams in the Northeast Conference. Chalk it up to difficult opponents, road games and just heartbreaking disappointments. On the bright side were several individual accomplishments standing out to give their respective programs something to build on.

FDU got off to an 0-3 start. The schedule was not too forgiving as the Knights faced three strong teams on the road. They dropped decisions in the Legends Classic at Washington State and Mississippi State and lost at Pitt.

Central Connecticut State lost a pair of contests decided  literally in the final seconds. The Blue Devils were defeated by Colgate on a Mike Venezia jump shot at the buzzer. Additionally, Central rallied from 18 points down and took a lead against Albany. Following a turnover, Albany’s Tim Ambrose hit a shot with 3.8 seconds to give the Great Danes the victory. A bright spot for Howie Dickenman’s club is the fine play of  sophomore forward Ken Horton who had 33 points against Albany.

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