No holiday cheer for two of Brooklyn’s top hoops stars

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The New Year certainly wasn’t a happy one for two of Brooklyn’s best basketball players trying to return from injuries.

Long Island University forward Julian Boyd and Brooklyn Collegiate wing Jahlil Tripp saw their seasons ended instead of restarted.

Boyd, a graduate student, again torn his anterior cruciate ligament in non-contact drills on Dec. 26 as the Blackbirds prepared to play Texas State. It is the same knee Boyd injured against Rice in December 2012.

A day later, Brooklyn Collegiate star Jahlil Tripp was set to return to action after being struck in his right calf by a stray bullet in early December. He was suited up and ready, but just minutes before game time he slipped taking a layup during warm ups and broke his left tibia in two places. Tripp will miss the remainder of the season.

“It was hard to see,” Lions junior Willie Barnes said.

It is the kind of news in both cases that hits home and reminds you that life can be as unfair and cruel and as it is giving and exhilarating. The timing, especially around the holidays, just seemed to make it worse.

You can’t help but feel for young men who worked so hard to come back and were unable to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

The original hope was to have Boyd in uniform, even in a limited capacity for conference play, which opened on Jan. 9 in Brooklyn Heights against rival St. Francis College. Boyd returning for that game would have been special.

Boyd, who missed the 2009–10 season with a heart condition, was destined to at least make a very good living playing professionally overseas and take a run at the NBA. But all of that just got a lot harder.

“He was determined to make it back on the court in whatever capacity he could,” Blackbirds coach Jack Perri said. “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.”

Tripp, who has scholarship offers from Manhattan and Quinnipiac, was looking to take his career to the next level and attract more schools. He and his veteran Brooklyn Collegiate team was supposed to challenge Abraham Lincoln for a city title. It still might, but having Tripp in the line up could be the difference between a trip to the final and falling short.

“The kid deserves to be out here on the court,” said Thomas Jefferson coach Lawrence ‘Bud” Pollard. “He’s a good kid. It is just luck. It’s just bad luck.”

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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