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Earlier today, we relayed the announcement that four members of the Long Island men's basketball team had been arrested in connection with an on-campus fight that took place almost a week ago.
The four included the top three leading scorers from last season's team, almost 47 points per game between them. That group also included the current Northeast Conference Player of the Year, Julian Boyd.
With the school in charge of the suspensions (appeals will be heard), the Long Island AD reportedly had no more to comment on at this time. There is no announcement of suspensions -- the kids might not even be coming back to school. There was no idea of what the possibly repercussions even are at this point.
We followed that story up with a link to John Templon's very strong analysis of the situation at Big Apple Buckets. It is a bleak statement to read, but as Templon mentioned on Twitter earlier today: there is little to go on here.
All of the players might be back before the conference season begins, some of them might be back, or none of them might be back. There is just no way to tell.
To add to the analysis, we ran the HOOPWAR on the Blackbirds, looking at the impact that these players made last season.
Our analysis is the same as that turned in by Templon with the biggest pain coming from the loss of Boyd and Jamal Olasewere. That should go without saying -- both were at least all-conference selections.
But their combined HOOPWAR was 13.3. On its own, that is enough to get a team comfortably over 20 wins. Forget what the other players did, that is a big hole to fill just from a single number.
Add in C.J. Garner's loss -- another 1.3 HOOPWAR player -- and you have a trio that accounted for almost all of the wins that helped the Blackbirds to the Northeast Conference title last season.
And what is left? Outside of Jason Brickman, the starting point guard and a huge distributor of the ball (249 assists), there is little out there for Long Island if the four arrested players can't come back.
A lot of Brickman's value came form his ability to pass the ball. But who will he pass to? None of the other players remaining from last season's roster have a positive HOOPWAR.
Booker Hucks and Brandon Thompson both turned in 100-plus offensive ratings on Ken Pomeroy's site ($), but neither one did it in significant minutes for the Blackbirds. I just don't see how those players are even going to fill half the shoes of Boyd or Olasewere.
If the players are gone, it won't be easy for Long Island and first year head coach Jack Perri. If they come back, the only hope for the Blackbirds is that it is before the conference season begins.
And if it is the former, Perri should do everything he can to get the other players on the team the minutes they need to grow and set the table for future years. This year is essentially a lost cause.