BROOKLYN - The LIU Blackbirds have high expectations this season, but it may not come to fruition after the arrest of its top players.
Julian Boyd, Jamal Olasewere and CJ Garner were each entering their senior season and make up the core of the program, which has won back-to-back Northeast Conference championships and made two straight trips to the NCAA tournament.
Boyd is the reigning Northeast Conference Player of the Year and the team's leading scorer for each of the last two seasons. Olaswere was First Team All-Conference last season. Together, the three players combined for 57 percent of the Blackbirds' points last season, 50 percent of its rebounds and 35 percent of its assists.
The 22- and 21-year-olds, along with a fourth player, Troy Joseph, are each facing assault charges and have been suspended indefinitely in the wake of a campus brawl last week.
An appeal is being processed, which officials say can take up to two weeks. If the players aren't reinstated, new head coach Jack Perri, who replaced Jim Ferry this year, will be forced to rebuild the team a year earlier than expected.