Homeward Bound

Security check.

Pete Aguilar and Troy Joseph.

Jason Brickman, Kurt Joseph, and Robinson Odoch Opong.

Julian Boyd.

Pete Aguilar, Jason Brickman, and Mike Culpo.

Robinson Odoch Opong and Gerrell Martin.

Home Sweet Home

I want to sincerely thank everyone at LIU Brooklyn for the opportunity to share this experience with them and to document it for them. I would like to especially thank the team and coaching staff for the access, patience and trust that they granted to me to be involved in all aspects of their daily life on the road. I would also like to thank the Athletic Department, Athletic Director John Suarez and Director of Media Relations Shawn Sweeney for the opportunity and for making it all happen. Thank you. I hope we get to do it again next year!

All Photos ©2012 Mike McLaughlin / All Rights Reserved www.mikemclaughlin.com

Read more.. Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds v. Michigan State Spartans 03.16.2012

The big night finally came, Friday March 16th, 2012, the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds versus the Michigan State Spartans in the Division I game with 16th seed LIU Brooklyn facing 1st seed Michigan State, the #4 team in the country. With a great sized group of fans making the trek from Brooklyn to Columbus, Ohio for the game, the team was greeted in the hotel lobby with fanfare before boarding the bus for Nationwide Arena. The outcome of the game aside, I was seriously impressed by the Blackbirds showing against a much bigger Michigan State. They came out strong and let everyone know just who they were and that they weren’t going to back down. With a very exciting first half, they held held up strong and didn’t let up. Michigan State began to pull away in the second half, but the boys from Brooklyn never slowed down, fighting hard right up until the end. I watched with pride and hope that they left that game feeling the same. They should feel proud.

Leaving the hotel and cheered on by the Blackbirds faithful.

Senior Mike Culpo leaves the hotel amid cheering fans.

The bus rdie to Nationwide Arena.

The team warms up in the tunnels at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

Jamal Olasewere runs out onto the court at Nationwide Arena.

The Blackbirds warm up on the court at Nationwide Arena.

Coach Jim Ferry.

LIU Brooklyn fans made the long trip to Columbus, Ohio to show their support.

Game time.

Jason Brickman.

Julian Boyd.

Kenny Onyechi.

Julian Boyd.

C.J. Garner.

Mike Culpo.

Coach Jim Ferry.

From left: Assistant Coach Rich Glesmann, Head Coach Jim Ferry, Associate Head Coach Jack Perri, Assistant Coach Jason Harris, and Director of Basketball Operations, Danny Lawson

C.J. Garner.

C.J. Garner.

Brandon Thompson.

Jamal Olasewere.

Jamal Olasewere and Kenny Onyechi.

Arnold Mayorga and Troy Joseph.

Kurt Joseph.

Head Coach Jim Ferry, senior Mike Culpo, and Assistant Coach Rich Glesmann.

Jamal Olasewere and Julian Boyd answer questions at the post game press conference.

Julian Boyd is interviewed in the locker room after the game.

Heading home...

Lots of pictures here, but if you’d like to look at all of the photos from the game, you can go to http://archive.mikemclaughlin.com

All Photos ©2012 Mike McLaughlin / All Rights Reserved www.mikemclaughlin.com

Read more.. Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

A Slight Twist in the Plan

Sorry for the delay in finishing up the posts from the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds trip to Ohio. I can explain…

The week had been going great, the team was having a good time leading up to Friday night’s game against Michigan State and enjoying their time in Columbus, Ohio. I was having a great time traveling with the team and getting some great pictures of them off the court. Everyone was pretty excited heading into Friday. After breakfast Friday we headed to Ohio State University for game day practice before their late night meeting with the Spartans. All was going well, the bus ride was relaxed with a bit of playfulness among teammates. We arrived at OSU and there was a band of rogue ninjas waiting! I fought them all off single-handedly and saved the team from imminent doom, but suffered an injury to my ankle in the process. Ok, so I actually took a bad step off the bus onto a rounded curb and ended up spraining my ankle and tearing the ligaments in my ankle and foot, but if you’re going to retell the story, please go with the ninja version! After a little TLC from the maestro, Athletic Trainer Danny O’Connor, I was wrapped and iced and back to work Friday night for the game. Unfortunately, I pushed the ankle a bit hard in the last two days in Ohio and was useless and laid up for a bit when I got back, hence the delay. So here it is…the remainder of the Road to Ohio! Thanks for playing along.

LIU Brooklyn's Arnold Mayorga, left, and Troy Joseph listen to music on the bus to Ohio State University for practice before their game against Michigan State.

Booker Hucks listens to music on the bus to Ohio State University for practice before their game against Michigan State.

Arnold Mayorga, left, and Troy Joseph share a laugh on the bus to Ohio State University for practice before their game against Michigan State.

Jason Brickman listens to music on the bus to Ohio State University for practice before their game against Michigan State.

And then the fun ended. Athletic Trainer Danny O'Connor checks my foot and ankle after Kenny Onyechi ran in and scared the hell out of him, thinking it was senior starter Mike Culpo who had fallen. Thank God it was only me! Photo by Shawn Sweeney.

More fun on the ground, while Danny checks things out. Photo by Shawn Sweeney.

Not one to be kept down, I still got some shots of the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds practice at Ohio State, albeit from the cheap seats while icing my ankle!

Next up, the big game!

All Photos ©2012 Mike McLaughlin / All Rights Reserved www.mikemclaughlin.com

Read more.. Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

The Night Before…

After practicing during the day Thursday, and a break for lunch, it was back to business Thursday night as the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds headed to Nationwide Arena in Columbus for a press conference, interviews and another practice, though this one was mostly for the media.

Columbus Police arrive to escort the team to Nationwide Arena.

Jamal Olasewere checks his hair on the ride to the arena.

From left: Julian Boyd, Jamal Olasewere, and Mike Culpo talk to reporters at the NCAA press conference at Nationwide Arena.

Coach Jim Ferry answers reporter's questions during the NCAA press conference at Nationwide Arena.

Julian Boyd, left, and Jamal Olasewere are interviewed in the locker room before practice at Nationwide Arena.

Brandon Thompson talks with a reporter in the locker room before practice.

The team stretches at the start of practice.

From left: C.J. Garner, Julian Boyd, and Kenny Onyechi run a play during practice.

Julian Boyd starts the dunkfest off during practice.

Julian Boyd going for another dunk during practice.

Assistant Coach Jason Harris guards Kenny Onyechi during practice.

Jamal Olasewere participates in Dunkfest 2012 during practice.

Arnold Mayorga makes a nice showing for Dunkfest during practice.

C.J. Garner runs a drill during practice.

Back in the locker room after practice, Team Manager Clinton Moore, left, and C.J. Garner show off their martial arts skills.

From left: Booker Hucks, Brandon Thompson, and C.J. Garner in the locker room after practice, Cold Pimpin'.

Kenny Onyechi and James Ferry in the locker room after practice.

Always one to hog the spotlight, Jason Brickman leads the way out of the arena and back to the bus after practice at Nationwide Arena.

Finally, at the end of a long day of practices and interviews, it's time for a break back at the hotel. From left: Team Manager Clinton Moore checks the computer while Jamal Olasewere and Troy Joseph play NBA 2K12 with Jason Brickman watching.

Don’t forget, Friday night at 9:20 on TBS, the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds will play the Michigan State Spartans.

All Photos ©2012 Mike McLaughlin / All Rights Reserved   www.mikemclaughlin.com

Read more.. Friday, March 16th, 2012

A Quick Correction/Update

If you’ve been following along with the posts from Ohio, I need to announce a mistake! Tomorrow nights game between LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds and Michigan State Spartans is on TBS at about 9:20, NOT ESPN2 as I had stated previously. Sorry!

Read more.. Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Day 3: Continued

Back again, settling in a bit after a long day of practices and running around. Longer day and more running around for the team, but kept me from getting more pics up. So here’s some more from earlier in the day today from practice at Columbus State Community College. I will have some from tonight’s press conference and practice at Nationwide Arena by early tomorrow. Enjoy!

Matt Scally, LIU Brooklyn Director of Compliance, and Shawn Sweeney, Director of Media Relations, discuss the nuances of NCAA logo placement on the team jerseys.

Shawn Sweeney, Director of Media Relations, places NCAA logo stickers on the team jerseys.

Julian Boyd and Mike Culpo wait in the Sheraton lobby for the bus to practice at Columbus State.

Booker Hucks and Pete Aguilar listen to music while waiting in the lobby for the bus to practice.

C.J. Garner on the bus ride to Columbus State Community College for team practice.

The beginning of the end. The now famous "Massacre in Ohio" took place after the end of the teams practice when the gauntlet was thrown and Team Manager Clinton Moore took on 14 year old James Ferry.

Moore never knew what hit him as young James ran him down the court taking basket after basket.

Leaving Moore begging for mercy, James Ferry is carried off victoriously, by Julian Boyd.

Julian Boyd has found a new direction at Columbus State Community College.

Troy Joseph and Jamal Olasewere on the bus back to the hotel after practice.

Julian Boyd, Team Manager Clinton Moore, and Troy Joseph discuss the "Massacre in Ohio". Not everyone agrees on the details.

Stay tuned for pics from tonight’s practice at Nationwide Arena, and watch the game tomorrow night at about 9:20 on TBS.

All Photos ©2012 Mike McLaughlin / All Rights Reserved www.mikemclaughlin.com

Read more.. Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Day 3: Practice, Practice, Lunch, Practice

Not a lot of time right now, so I’ll get more up later. Today, with one day left before the big game against #4 Michigan State, was practice at Columbus State Community College. The team looked good and Coach ran them hard. A quick break and now we’re off to the arena for more practice. Tune in for more later tonight…


Coach Jim Ferry talks with the team before practice.


Troy Joseph, James Ferry, and Team Manager Clinton Moore.


Coach Jack Perri reads out plays during practice.


Julian Boyd, left, and Troy Joseph run a play during practice.


LIU Brooklyn Head Coach Jim Ferry.


Senior Mike Culpo gets some air during practice.

All Photos ©2012 Mike McLaughlin / All Rights Reserved www.mikemclaughlin.com

Read more.. Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Day 2: Back to Work

After a travel day on Tuesday, and the night off, the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds got back to work today with a stats breakdown and game films of Friday’s opponent, the Michigan State Spartans, followed by their first practice in Ohio, hosted by Columbus’ Capital University.


Associate Head Coach Jack Perri breaks down the Michigan State defense before watching game films with the team.


Head Athletic Trainer Danny O’Connor tapes up junior Kenny Onyechi before game films and practice.


Head Coach Jim Ferry, left, and Associate Head Coach Jack Perri, right, go over Michigan State’s strengths and weaknesses with the team before practice.


Junior Kurt Joseph looks out the bus window on the way to practice at Capital University two days before the big game.


Sophomore Robinson Odoch Opong on the bus ride to Capital University for practice two days before the big game.


Head Athletic Trainer Danny O’Connor works on junior C.J. Garner’s back before practice at Capital University.


Associate Head Coach Jack Perri works on plays before practice at Capital University.


Team practice at Capital University.


Walking to dinner at Mitchell’s Steakhouse on 3rd Street in Columbus.


Team dinner at Mitchell’s Steakhouse.


After dinner, junior Jamal Olasewere, left, and senior Mike Culpo are interviewed on the phone by The New York Post.

Read more.. Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Welcome to Ohio!

After getting off to a rough start with flight issues, the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds arrived in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday, March 13th for the NCAA Basketball Championships. With their first game on Friday night against Michigan State, the team had the day off for travel. After getting settled in at the hotel, everyone went out for a team dinner at The Elevator on High Street and then in for the night to rest up for their first day of practice.

The team arrives at their hotel from the airport.

Junior Booker Hucks, freshman Gerrell Martin, and senior Mike Culpo wait in the hotel lobby before going to The Elevator for a team dinner.

Walking past the Capitol Building on High Street in downtown Columbus, Ohio.

Freshman Gerrell Martin with his phone during team dinner at The Elevator.

Freshman guard Pete Aguilar cooks his own surf and turf during team dinner at The Elevator.

Back at the hotel, the team is welcomed with a banner and lots of good will from the Ohio community.

All Photos ©2012 Mike McLaughlin / All Rights Reserved www.mikemclaughlin.com

Read more.. Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

A Quick Recap, in Case You Missed It…

Ok, so last Wednesday I got to watch the defending Northeast Conference champs, the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds, defend their title against Robert Morris University in front of a sellout home crowd at LIU. The Blackbirds took the title for a second year in a row with a 90-73 win over Robert Morris, and secure themselves a spot in the NCAA Basketball Championship Tournament in Ohio. It was a hell of a game with LIU coming out strong and keeping RMU on their toes the whole game.

After shooting their run at the NEC Championship last year, but unable to go with the team to the NCAA Tournament in North Carolina, I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to travel with the team to Ohio this year. Their first game is against Michigan State on Friday night, It’ll be on TBS about 9:20 if you want to catch it. Until then I will be posting some photos from the week here in Columbus and a full gallery over the weekend. So check back here for more…

Junior C.J. Garner in the NEC Championship game against Robert Morris.

Junior Jamal Olasewere with a slam dunk in the NEC Championship game against Robert Morris.

The team and fans rush the floor to celebrate their victory.

LIU Brooklyn Head Coach Jim Ferry cuts a piece of the net after the game.

Jamal Olasewere, left, and Julian Boyd got big heads after their victory.

Junior Jamal Olasewere takes a minute with the championship trophy in the locker room.

Junior Kenny Onyechi with the NEC Championship trophy in the locker room.

All Photos ©2012 Mike McLaughlin / All Rights Reserved www.mikemclaughlin.com

Read more.. Wednesday, March 14th, 2012