The looks on the NJIT students’ faces as they entered the brand new Health and Wellness Center told you all you needed to know Saturday night.
A mixture of “Wow”, “This is ours?”, “Unbelievable”, and good-old silent mouths agape were heard and seen as nearly 3,000 entered, approximately a third of those students. To understand the present (and future) of why the $110-million facility is so staggering and important for NJIT, you have to start in the past.
Disrespecting the deceased is never a good look, but now that it’s gone I think we can all say that NJIT’s Fleisher Center was, well, inadequate for a Division I team. Or possibly your local varsity high school squad.
Roland Nyama, perhaps Stony Brook’s best defender, walked through the bowels of Island Federal Credit Union Arena after Wednesday night’s game where he ran into NJIT’s Damon Lynn. Nyama had spent the better part of 40 minutes trying to chase Lynn all over the court earlier, but could do nothing but flash a big smile afterward while shaking Lynn’s hand.
“They told me to chase you off the three-point line, but man, you’re tough,” Nyama said.
Nyama actually did a good job keeping Lynn from hurting Stony Brook from outside the arc Wednesday, as he hit just a pair three-pointers (both in a 90-second span late in the first half) in 11 attempts. But by night’s end, the final stats showed Lynn with 26 hard-earned points, and NJIT with its seventh win of the season, 64-61.
Picture if you will, a basketball world where you can commit as many fouls as you would like, without fear of disqualification. Basketball is virtually the only sport where that’s the case, after all. Sure, other sports have penalties and violent conduct is sure to see you removed from participation in just about any athletic endeavor.
But a specified number of common fouls having a direct link to a player’s removal for the rest of the contest? Only our beloved hoops.
Now picture Iona senior Jordan Washington in that blissful no-foul out utopia. Washington has been borderline unstoppable for the last two seasons, a matchup quandary (especially for mid-major opponents) at 6’8”, especially when surrounded with the shooters that the Gaels seem to breed. He led the nation in usage last season (involved in 38.5% of Iona possessions), and is fifth this season. Washington also checks in second nationally in points per minute (behind the nation’s leading scorer, Central Michigan’s Marcus Keene at 30.8 ppg) and he is also sixth in number of minutes played … on his own team (20.7 minutes per game)? Continue reading →