By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
LIU Brooklyn was hoping to get Julian Boyd back any day now, but instead the 2012 Northeast Conference Player of the Year had his season cut short before it even started as he re-tore his ACL the day after Christmas, Blackbird head coach Jack Perri announced on Thursday.
“I feel so badly for Julian, he has worked tirelessly over the past year to rehabilitate his knee,” Perri said in a statement. “He was determined to make it back on the court in whatever capacity he could. He has such an incredible work ethic that you thought if anyone could do it, he could. I just can’t help but feel sick with all that he has gone through and had to deal with over his career. He is truly a special person and competitor that helped LIU Brooklyn basketball achieve unparalleled heights.”
Boyd initially injured the knee on Dec. 12, 2012 against Rice University. Somehow, the Blackbirds managed to win a third consecutive NEC title without him last year, but with Jamal Olaseweregraduated they were going to need Boyd to return strong to win a fourth. Unfortunately, Boyd had a setback this past July while rehabbing and would miss the start of the season with the hopes of returning this month.
He was cleared to begin practicing by doctors last month, but on the day after Christmas, Boyd tore the ligament in his knee for the third time while he participated in a non-contact drill.
The school didn’t announce the setback until Thursday, but Boyd tweeted that night, “Idk wat ima do” and then “Now it’s over” the following day, presumably after he spoke with doctors. On Friday afternoon, Boyd tweeted, “Gotta wait another year ta get back to wat I love. But when I come back itll b known from all the hard… #WorkHardStayDetermined” Unfortunately, if he does come back it won’t be with LIU Brooklyn as he has exhausted his NCAA eligibility.
Boyd will go down as one of the best players in LIU Brooklyn’s history. He was honored with the NEC’s Rookie of the Year award, the Player of the Year award and was All-NEC First Team twice. He finished 11th all-time among Blackbirds for scoring with 1,467 points and sixth for rebounding with 843. It’s likely that he would have been first in both categories if not for the knee injury and the noncompaction cardiomyopathy that forced him to miss the 2009-10 season.
He was the perfect combination of size, strength and athleticism that allowed him to drive to the net with authority, hit both mid-range and long-range shots and gave opposing defenders fits.
His life as a Blackbird started back in 2008-09 when he was named NEC Rookie of the Year after he averaged 10.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. After he missed the 2009-10 season, he came back and averaged 13 points and 8.9 rebounds per game as the Blackbirds won the first of their three NEC titles.
His junior year, 2011-12, was probably his best as he averaged 17.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game as the Blackbirds won their second consecutive NEC title. He was named NEC Player of the Year that year. Last season, when he only played in seven games, Boyd averaged 18.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
Aside from his personal achievements, Boyd will best be remembered as part of LIU Brooklyn’s recent NEC dynasty along with teammates Olasewere, C.J. Garner and Jason Brickman. With those four running the team, the Blackbirds won three consecutive titles and featured one of the most powerful offensive teams in the nation.
Now the Blackbirds will have to try for a fourth consecutive NEC title without him. They are 5-8 overall this season and are set to open up conference play against St. Francis Brooklyn on Jan. 9. Without Boyd it’s probably still possible, but the Blackbirds have struggled this season because they are so undersized and were desperate to have him back.