Off to a 6-11 start after the middle of January, the Long Island University Black Birds did not have many pluses about their team during the current season. Two losing streaks, one by as much as six games, and a brief one of three contests definitely hurt the squad. Yes, they went into the season with a young squad but the results were not as expected. Then they started to improve.
One of their bright spots was the offensive play by senior guard Gerrell Martin who put together four 20 or more point games.
Off the court, and a definite high point on their schedule, the Blackbirds conducted a half-time ceremony honoring the college’s Hall of Fame induction of six new members.
A committee comprising staff members, including a past coach, and Greg Fox, along with other personnel from the college, helped in the process of choosing the inductees. They were chosen by a committee of administrators on campus and by a couple of administrators from the athletic department and along with Senior Associate Director of Athletics Margaret Alaimo. Greg Fox served as chairman of the committee.
The inductees are Ashley O’Connor in women’s soccer, Louis Brignoni for basketball, Ricardo Aguilera in soccer, Ron Solomone in baseball, Lonnie Barton men and women golf, posthumously, and Shuna Wilde in women’s golf.
These players were stars in their own fields and certainly gave LIU’s student body, fans, staff members and faculty, something to cheer about and look forward to.
“It feels nice to be remembered here,” said point guard Brignoni.
“We are very excited about this class of inductees,” said a spokesman from Long Island University. It’s just a great day for all of us.
Over the past years, the Hall of Fame ceremonies were held in conjunction with a basketball game on campus either in the old building or in the new one, where the games are now conducted. But this year the committee decided to host it in the new Barclays Center, home of some of LIU’s games, and the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association. Last week’s ceremony came at half time of a game between LIU and Mount St. Mary’s college.
Richard James, who originally comes from Jamaica, West Indies, where he started his track career, and took it to Brooklyn was present at the event.
“I got inducted last year for my work in track and field,” said James. “This ceremony meant a lot to me and all athletes. This is what we work for. We work to give the University noterority and also to show the world that LIU exists and that we are awesome in what we do,” added James.
“We get the kids in. My job is to make them bigger, faster, and stronger… It’s about learning their movement, getting their movements a little better, and it’s a lot of biology, lot of bio-chemistry. It’s not like pe (physical education). It’s a specialized area where you have to be certified in… It’s very interesting and a lot of fun.”
For the immediate concern, the coaching staff of the basketball team and the players must get together and make the conference playoffs. Just to get there, then anything can happen.