To return to the NCAA tournament for a third straight season, LIU Brooklyn will again have to find a way to get there without its best player.
Julian Boyd, the Northeast Conference player of the year in 2012, tore the ACL in his right knee for the second time in nine months earlier this summer, assistant athletic director Dan Lobacz confirmed to Yahoo Sports on Wednesday. A January return for Boyd would be the best-case scenario, but the 6-foot-7 senior could miss the entire 2013-14 season, thus ending his college career.
Boyd was averaging 18.5 points and 6.1 rebounds through eight games last season when he tore his ACL diving for a loose ball near mid-court in the second half of a 97-70 win over Rice. He could only watch from the sideline as his teammates initially dropped six of their first seven games without him before righting themselves, winning 12 league games and capturing the NEC tournament.
Though Boyd also missed the 2010-11 season as a result of a heart condition, the NCAA granted him a sixth year of eligibility in April. Lobacz said he was on track to make a full recovery from the first ACL tear before re-injurying the knee this summer.
Whereas LIU Brooklyn had enough scorers on its roster to overcome Boyd's absence last winter, the Blackbirds may struggle more next season. NEC player of the year Jamal Olasawere and NEC tournament MVP C.J. Garner are among the four key players already gone from last year's team.
The best returning player for LIU Brooklyn is point guard Jason Brickman, who set an NEC assists record last season at 8.5 per game. Brickman has thrived creating scoring opportunities for the wealth of scorers around him the past few seasons, but the pass-first point guard may have a harder time as a senior with Olasawere, Garner and Boyd each unavailable.