Balanced LIU wants to return to elite status

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Iverson Fleming didn’t wait for someone else to set the pace for a Long Island University senior-less men’s basketball team — he’s doing it himself.

The junior guard approached forward Glenn Feidanga over the summer, proposing they fill the void leading-scorer Gerrell Martin left after he graduated. So far, it’s working, Fleming said.

“That was my approach, just coming in and having guys follow me and get on my lead,” Fleming said.

And their coach heaped praise on Fleming for his work with Feidanga and red–shirt junior Jerome Frink.

“He’s one of the best leaders at LIU since I’ve been here,” coach Jack Perri said.

Fleming, who averaged 4.7 points per game last season, heads an experienced group looking to take the next step. The Blackbirds went 12–18 overall last year and 8–10 in the Northeast Conference. Coaches in the preseason picked Long Island University to finish fourth, and the squad plans to do so with balance and versatility.

Martin and the now-departed Elvar Friderksson made nearly 20 points per game, but Perri doesn’t think one buy can make up for that — rather, he plans to spread out those points among several players, including Frink, Fleming, sophomore forward Nura Zanna, and sophomore guard Martin Hermannson. He expects freshmen Raul Frias and Julius van Suers to contribute, too, he said.

“With no seniors — that has been an interesting dynamic, but we do have a lot more experience than we did last year at this point of guys who have game experience,” Perri said. “We have a lot more size and length. We have good shoot ability.”

Hermannson played with the Icelandic National team over the summer Perri expects him to take another step forward off his excellent freshman season, he said. He averaged 10.1 points per game, was second on the team in assists, and haled in 3.8 rebounds per contest. Perri wants him be even more active offensively, he said.

“He is a talented kid,” Perri said. “He makes the right decision a lot. He takes care of the basketball for the most part. He has been more aggressive to take is own shot.”

The fourth-year coach thinks the mix that will be tough to deal with if it plays as unselfishly as it has in practice.

“I want this team to achieve something special — whatever that is for them,” Perri said. “I want to be as competitive as the want to be.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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