The LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds took a significant hit on Thursday when it was announced that guard Martin Hermannsson signed a professional contract overseas.
Hermannsson, the Blackbirds’ second-leading scorer last season, will forgo his final two years of eligibility and play for Etoile de Charleville-Mézières Ardennes in France.
The Iceland native averaged 16.2 points, 4.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds while playing over 36 minutes per game last year, scoring in double figures 28 times in 31 contests. He also had three games last season where he logged more than 40 minutes — overtime contests against Fordham, Niagara and St. Francis-PA.
Hermannsson’s loss is an unusual one for LIU to deal with, coming late in the offseason, weeks after the NBA Draft. With little time to replace him and now two open scholarships on the roster, the Blackbirds might have to look from within the program to fill the void.
LIU would benefit greatly if Joel Hernandez can become a more consistent outside shooter. Hermannsson was one of only two LIU players to shoot better than 30 percent from outside, and Hernandez showed flashes of touch from the perimeter, but was inconsistent.
The Blackbirds are still on track to return three starters from last year’s team and should figure into the equation in the Northeast Conference race. The race to the top, however, just got a whole lot steeper.