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St. Francis men’s basketball hopes recruits can help turn tide

Terriers Add Three Players to Program Following Disastrous 4-27 Campaign

June 8, 2017 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Glenn Braica hopes a fresh crop of recruits and some returning talent help St. Francis Brooklyn rebounds from a dismal 2016-17 campaign. Photo courtesy of SFC Athletics

Just over two years removed from being on the precipice of reaching their ultimate goal, the St. Francis Brooklyn men’s basketball program has taken a precipitous fall of late.

The Terriers, a Northeast Conference-worst 4-27 last season, including 2-17 in league play, announced the addition of three new recruits for the 2017-18 season on Wednesday, hoping to again become a serious contender for that elusive NCAA Tournament berth.

“All three guys are a great fit for our program,” SFC Brooklyn head men’s basketball coach Glenn Braica said of Milija Cosic, Chauncey Hawkins and Jalen Jordan. 

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“Each of them possess exemplary character, are outstanding academically, and have terrific basketball ability,” added Braica, who guided the Terriers to the brink of the NCAAs in 2015, only to see the program’s first-ever March Madness bid fall short with a heartbreaking home loss to Robert Morris in the NEC title game.

The Terriers went 11-7 in the NEC in 2015-16, and entered the league tourney on a four-game winning streak before suffering a 61-50 loss to Mount St. Mary’s at the Pope Center in the quarterfinal round.

Last year, SFC managed just two conference victories, a pair of overtime triumphs over Bryant and Central Connecticut State just before the start of the new year, but failed to even qualify for the NEC Championships.

Braica, a long-time assistant at the Remsen Street school before taking the reins as head coach in 2010, needs a bounce back season, and is hoping the trio of new players, coupled with returning regulars like sophomore Rasheem Dunn and junior Glenn Sanabria, can boost the Terriers’ chances next season.

Cosic, a native of Belgrade, Serbia, should provide some length up front for SFC. A transfer following one season at Frank Phillips College in Texas, the 6-foot-6 forward averaged 6.9 points and 4.2 rebounds over 15 games last season, missing part of the campaign due to an early season ankle injury.

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 “Milija will give us a versatile big who can play inside or out as he can face up and shoot the 3-point shot,” said Braica.

“He’s also a very effective driver from the perimeter and is an older player that owns a very high basketball IQ.  We are excited to add a player with such diversified offensive skills and toughness.”

Hawkins of Spring Valley, NY and Jordan out of Conyers, Georgia will try to help fill the void left in the Terriers’ backcourt by Yunus Hopkinson, who averaged 11.1 points per contest during his final season at SFC.

Hawkins, a 5-foot-8 guard, earned first-team All-North Jersey honors this past season after averaging 19.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 3.4 steals. 

Needing 29 points to reach 1,000 for his career, Hawkins exploded for a career-high 38 points to lift St. Joseph to a 77-73 win over Pascack Valley in early February.  He finished with 1,198 career points and led St. Joseph to a No. 11 ranking in the NJ.com Top 50 Poll.  The team reached the North Jersey, Non-Public A semifinals after besting Delbarton in the quarterfinals.
 
“Chauncey is an extremely skilled point guard who will bring quickness and high energy to our backcourt,” Bracia stated.

“He’s an excellent 3-point shooter who can create shots for himself as well as his teammates.  We love his leadership ability and the fact that he comes from a very successful high school background with an outstanding coach in Michael Doherty.”

Jordan, a 6-foot-3 guard, finished his high school career in 2016, averaging 17.5 points a game as a senior and scored over 1,000 career points.  Jordan, who also added four rebounds, three assists and two steals per game, was named Region 2-AAAAAA Player of the Year. He contributed 21 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists in his final state playoff game. 

Jordan spent the 2016-2017 campaign at National Top Sports Institute (NTSI), a first-year prep program in Scotland, Pennsylvania led by three-time National Prep Coach of the Year Chris Chaney.  He averaged 18.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game and scored a season-high 34 points against Combine Academy.

“Jalen is a versatile guard who can play both backcourt positions,” Braica explained.  “He can really score the ball and is extremely athletic.  He gives us another player who can create a shot for himself or for others.

“We look forward to this group contributing to our success here at St. Francis College.”
 
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Over at LIU Brooklyn, track and field coach Simon Hodnett and his assistants were named the Northeast Conference Men’s Outdoor Coaching Staff of the Year, the league announced last Friday afternoon.
 
The accolade is Hodnett’s eighth overall from the NEC, but only his first during the outdoor season.

His staff was previously honored during five men’s indoor seasons (2010, 2012-13, 2015-16) and a pair of women’s indoor campaigns (2010-11).
 
Hodnett, who completed his 18th season at LIU and 10th as head coach in 2016-17, led the Blackbird men to a fifth consecutive silver medal in the NEC Outdoor Championships in May.

The team scored 134 points, finishing behind only Central Connecticut State’s 146.5.
 
LIU was the only program to have multiple athletes earn major awards at the championship meet, with senior Adam Walker-Khan receiving Most Valuable Performer honors and sophomore Caleb Williams being named Most Outstanding Track Performer in the sprints.
 
Hodnett is assisted by fellow coaches Michael Robinson, Ron Edmundson, Janine Davis and graduate assistant Isatta Kenneh.

 


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