Click Here For Article
Somerset, NJ --
LIU forwards Julian Boyd (San Antonio, TX/William H. Taft)
and Jamal Olasewere (Silver Spring, MD/Springbrook)
, along with Sacred Heart guard Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT/Killingly)
are household names around the Northeast Conference, and are on the verge of breaking through nationally as they head into their senior seasons. Already taking notice is national writer Jeff Borzello
, who included the trio on his Top-30 "Under the Radar" players list on CBSSports.com
All three players are returning first team All-NEC performers, and Boyd is the reigning NEC Player of the Year.
Boyd has gathered nearly conceivable accolade in his three years at LIU Brooklyn. The San Antonio, TX native was the NEC Rookie of the Year in 2008-09, has twice been tabbed to the All-NEC first team, and earned both NEC Player of the Year and NEC Tournament MVP honors in 2011-12. Setting his sights on an LIU “three-peat,” Boyd will attempt to expand his game even further. A year ago, he incorporated a reliable three-point shot (21 3PFG, 42.0 3PFG%) into his arsenal, while continuing his domination in the paint. Boyd paced the NEC with 14 double-doubles, and ranked fourth in scoring (17.4 ppg), third in rebounding (9.3 rpg) and sixth in field goal percentage (.557). An above-the-rim finisher in transition, the 6’7” forward helped the up-tempo LIU attack average 81.4 ppg, the second-highest mark in the nation. Boyd enters his final year as the NEC’s leading active rebounder (794) and second-leading scorer (1,319). If he were to match his 2011-12 total, the 2012 AP Honorable Mention All-American would surpass Justin Rutty (1,032) as the NEC’s all-time leading rebounder.
Olasewere’s speed, agility, ability to beat defenders off the dribble and unorthodox style has made him a matchup nightmare since arriving in Brooklyn back in 2009. The southpaw from Silver Spring, MD claimed first team All-NEC honors last season after he posted top-ten marks in the conference in scoring (fourth, 16.9), rebounding (fifth, 7.5) and field goal percentage (fourth, .571). Olasewere’s ability to draw contact is second to none, and his 225 attempts from the line were the second most in the league. He carried the Blackbirds on his back en-route to the 2011 NEC crown, earning the NEC Tournament MVP award in the process, then collected All-Tourney plaudits in last year’s title defense. A 6’7” small forward, Olasewere has racked up 1,266 points and 689 rebounds over the course of his career.
There have been few guards in the history of the NEC that can match Gibson’s pure scoring ability. As if possessing a deadly accurate shot and unlimited range wasn’t enough, his ability to create space and elevate makes him nearly impossible to guard one-on-one. A penchant for delivering the dagger in clutch spots only adds to Gibson’s aura as he enters his senior year. In 2011-12, Gibson was the nation’s fourth leading scorer and his 22.0 ppg was the highest registered by an NEC player in seven years. Incredibly efficient, the Killingly, CT native made 51.0 percent of his shots from the floor, a remarkable figure when considering over 200 of his shots came from three-point range. Gibson’s 87 trifectas led the conference and his 43.3 percent success rate from long distance was the second-best mark on the circuit. Not to be outdone, he also ranked third in the NEC in free throw percentage (.862) and fourth in steals (1.5). A two-time All-NEC honoree, Gibson leads all returnees with 1,453 career points and could become the fifth player in league annals to reach the 2,000-point mark. His 199 three-pointers is also tops among returning NEC players.