By John Torenli
Jim Ferry built a Northeast Conference dynasty by recruiting and signing players from Texas.
Ferry's replacement, Jack Perri, is following suit.
The Blackbirds' new coach last week inked Lake Jackson's D.J. Griggs to a National of Letter Intent in his quest to lead LIU to an unprecedented third consecutive NEC regular-season and tournament title.
“We are thrilled with the addition of D.J. to our program,” said Perri, who was promoted from his assistant's post after Ferry took the Duquesne job following the Blackbirds' first-round loss to Michigan State in the opening round of this year's NCAA Tournament. “He is another talented guard from the state of Texas. D.J. is a great kid, from a great family, that will fit in nicely with the way we play.”
Griggs, a 6-foot guard, averaged 22.6 points, 5.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game in helping Brazosport High School to a 25-7 record as a senior. He was named District MVP following his final season for the Exporters. Griggs finished with 2,590 career points at Brazosport, ranking 43rd all-time in the state of Texas.
Prior to his senior campaign, Griggs was named a Top Player to Watch in Texas by ESPN's High School Sports site and was selected as one of 20 candidates for the Guy V. Lewis Award, given annually to the Boys High School Player of the Year in the Greater Houston Area.
“D.J. has a tremendous ability to constantly put pressure on the defense and create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates,” Perri said. “His speed and strength will allow him to adapt quickly to the college game on both sides of the floor and I think he has the potential to have a major impact on the continued success of our program.”
The Blackbirds, who went 25-9 last season en route to their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, return four starters and nine letterwinners. Griggs will join fellow Texans Jason Brickman (San Antonio), Julian Boyd (San Antonio), Kenny Onyechi (Sugar Land) and Brandon Thompson (San Antonio) on the 2012-13 squad.
Boyd, the reigning NEC Player of the Year, and Brickman, an All-Second Team NEC selection, will both benefit greatly from the addition of Griggs, who figures to help the Blackbirds resume their break-neck, hard-charging style.
LIU, which went a perfect 15-0 at home last year while extending the nation's second-longest home winning streak to 27 games, is scheduled to play four home contests at the Barclays Center next season.
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In other LIU-Brooklyn sports news, senior Corryl Boyd set a school record in the long jump and earned a spot in the NCAA Championships last Thursday with a second-place finish in the NCAA East Preliminary Round in Jacksonville, Fla.
Boyd's leap of 7.73 meters in his first of two jumps left him only three inches behind Florida's Marquis Dendy in the competition, which will continue from June 6-9 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Waldorf, Md., native broke his own school mark by .08 meters, dashing the record he set at the 2012 NEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships on May 5.
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Over at St. Francis College, head women's volleyball coach Micah Acoba, coming off a disappointing one-win campaign following a breakthrough 10-win season in 2010, is hoping Arizona's Maggie Niu can get the Terriers back on track in 2012.
Acoba signed the San Tan Valley native to a National Letter of Intent earlier this month, and she'll be in her red and blue in time for the team's season opener in August.
"Maggie is an endearing young lady," Acoba said of the four-year letter-winner and team captain from Desert Ridge High School. "We are thrilled she will be joining our St. Francis family."
Niu should bring some much-needed punch to the Terriers' lineup after leading Desert Ridge in kills (392) and aces (51) as a senior. She was second on the team in digs (242) and digs per game (2.4). In her first season at the Outside Hitter position, Niu earned All-State Honorable Mention. She currently plays Middle Blocker and Rightside for the Arizona Storm Volleyball Club.
"Maggie's versatility will be an asset to the team," Acoba added. "She is so agile and athletic. She will make our offense more dynamic and our defense more tenacious."
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Brooklyn College's Duong Thai (men's volleyball), Catherine Chan (women's swimming and diving), Keiran Halton (men's basketball and volleyball) and Lauren Plagianos (women's basketball) all received 2012 CUNYAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year Honorable Mention during the school's awards dinner earlier this month.