COLLEGE BASKETBALL POWERHOUSE KENTUCKY HEADLINES 2016 BROOKLYN HOOPS™ WINTER FESTIVAL AT BARCLAYS CENTERMay 12, 2016
Barclays Center will host two of the winningest programs in college basketball history when Kentucky and St. John’s join LIU Brooklyn and Hofstra for the BROOKLYN HOOPS™ Winter Festival on Sunday, December 11. In the doubleheader matchup, Kentucky, whose 2016-17 recruiting class is ranked No. 1 by ESPN, will play Hofstra, and LIU Brooklyn will take on St. John’s, which also welcomes a nationally-ranked group of newcomers next season.
For group tickets, please call 800-GROUP-BK. For more information on individual suites, please call 718-BK-SUITE. Individual tickets will go on sale in September.
“We are thrilled to welcome Kentucky back to Brooklyn for the fourth time,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. “Supporting local schools has also been a priority for our BROOKLYN HOOPS platform, and we are proud to showcase three of the area’s programs in St. John’s, LIU Brooklyn and Hofstra.”
Kentucky is coming off a 27-9 season in which the Wildcats captured a share of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) regular-season championship and the SEC Tournament title. It was the second consecutive season UK won both the regular-season and tournament titles. The Wildcats made the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time under head coach John Calipari. UK will be without the services of All-Americans Tyler Ulis (consensus First Team All-America) and Jamal Murray (Associated Press Third Team All-America), both of whom are entering the 2016 NBA Draft, but the Wildcats will reload with the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class, which includes highly-touted signees Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, De’Aaron Fox, Wenyen Gabrial, Sacha Killeya-Jones, and Malik Monk.
“We are very excited to return to Barclays Center this upcoming season to play Hofstra,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “Barclays Center is one of the premier venues in the country and a favorite of our fans. This will be our fourth game at Barclays Center since it opened, and all three previous games the Big Blue Nation has made it feel like a home away from home. We expect the same this year.”
Led by head coach Chris Mullin, who is entering his second year at the helm, St. John’s brings back a core of rising sophomores which includes the team’s top returning scorer Federico Mussini (10.7 ppg), BIG EAST All-Freshman Team selection Kassoum Yakwe (2.5 bpg) and fellow shot blocking specialist Yankuba Sima (2.4 bpg), along with Malik Ellison, who averaged a team-best 2.7 assists in conference play. A talented cast of newcomers, featuring highly rated first-year players Marcus LoVett, Shamorie Ponds, and Richard Freudenberg, along with transfers Tariq Owens and Bashir Ahmed, are expected to have an immediate impact and will complement St. John’s group of experienced returnees.
“We look forward to being part of the BROOKLYN HOOPS Winter Festival at such a tremendous venue right here in our backyard,” said St. John’s head coach Chris Mullin. “I grew up in the borough so it will be exciting to have our basketball program take center stage at Barclays Center for this doubleheader.”
The Hofstra Men’s Basketball team went 24-10 in 2015-16, winning the regular season Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) title and advancing to the National Invitation Tournament. It marked the most wins for the program since the 2005-06 season and the regular season title was the program’s first since joining the CAA in 2001. In addition, the NIT appearance was the program’s first since 2007.
“We are honored to be part of a great day of basketball at the beautiful Barclays Center," said Hofstra head men's basketball coach Joe Mihalich. "Our student-athletes and staff are grateful to our administration and Barclays Center’s staff for providing us with the opportunity to compete against a legendary program like Kentucky during the BROOKLYN HOOPS Winter Festival. ”
A veteran group of upperclassmen leads LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball in 2016-17, as it looks to return to the top of the Northeast Conference (NEC). Fifth-year head coach Jack Perri returns a pair of First Team All-NEC performers in senior forward Jerome Frink and junior guard Martin Hermannsson. The versatile Frink led the Blackbirds in scoring (16.6 ppg) and rebounding (8.9 rpg) last season, while the crafty Hermannsson ranked among the conference leaders in scoring (16.2 ppg), assists (4.7 apg) and steals (1.8 spg). Two other starters, senior swingman Joel Hernandez (12.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and redshirt junior forward Nura Zanna (6.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg), return to a team that advanced to the NEC Tournament semifinals in 2015-16.
“We are once again excited about the opportunity to play in the BROOKLYN HOOPS Winter Festival at Barclays Center this upcoming season,” said LIU Brooklyn head coach Jack Perri. “It is an honor to be part of such a tremendous doubleheader that includes high-quality programs such as Kentucky, St. John’s and Hofstra. We continue to enjoy our partnership with Barclays Center, and look forward to building a greater relationship with the premier basketball facility in Brooklyn.”
Barclays Center’s college basketball platform, BROOKLYN HOOPS, is presented by Ticketmaster, with other partners including adidas, GEICO, High Point Solutions, Honda, McDonald’s, Modell’s, JetBlue, and Powerade.