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The Blackbirds are looking to nest with the Nets.
The suddenly world-class Long Island University men’s basketball team is in negotiations to play a portion of its home games at the Barclays Center, catapulting the plucky squad to a national audience when the arena is completed next year.
“LIU [is part of] a strategic partnership that will encompass many areas of our business, including having several LIU games played at the Barclays Center,” said Nets spokesman Barry Baum.
The LIU cagers were valiant in their ultimately futile first-round loss to North Carolina in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament last week — but Coach Jim Ferry thinks that his squad could have benefitted from regular competition against the big boys.
“Some of these bigger schools won’t play us on our home court,” he said.
But the prospect of playing in a “neutral” NBA arena might be enough of a carrot to dangle, Ferry suggested.
“This will really get this to the national stage,” he said.
St. John’s University’s plays many of its home games at Madison Square Garden — a lure for top city ballers.
“Barclays is bringing more attention to us,” said Ferry, whose Downtown campus is just a few blocks away from the $1-billion arena currently rising at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.
The Blackbirds once played their homes games in the old Paramount Theater, a storied Flatbush Avenue moviehouse built by Paramount Pictures in 1928.
Since 2005, the Blackbirds have been playing at the $45-million, 3,000-seat Athletic, Recreation and Wellness Center at DeKalb Avenue and Ashland Place.
The talk of LIU games at the Barclays Center is the latest positive news for the venue. Last year, developer Forest City Ratner inked a deal to bring the Ringling Bros. circus and Disney on Ice to the arena. The company is also set to bring in big in musical acts.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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