There’s a lot to be excited about in Brooklyn as the Derek Kellogg heads into year 3 at LIU
Coach Derek Kellogg began his coaching career serving as an assistant coach at George Mason and Youngstown State before becoming an assistant to coach John Calipari at Memphis. After eight years in Memphis, Kellogg finally landed his first coaching job at his alma mater University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass), where he played point guard from 1991-1995. In nine seasons at the helm, Kellogg led UMass to the NCAA Tournament once in 2014, while compiling a 155-137 record.
Kellogg took over at LIU Brooklyn in April of 2017 after being let go by UMass. In his first season with the program, LIU Brooklyn made it to the NCAA Tournament after winning the NEC Conference Tournament. In 2019, the LIU Brooklyn finished with a .500 record, but were a game away from the NEC Conference Tournament finals.
In 2018 it was announced that LIU Brooklyn and LIU Post (a division II program) would merge programs for the 2019-2020 school year. They became the LIU Sharks and Kellogg would serve as the Sharks first head coach.
Now in year three, Kellogg has a veteran team that is ready. When asked about what we can expect from this year’s team, Kellogg replied, “We will be in the hunt and one of the better teams in the conference. Our starting five comes back. The leadership and maturity is there. It is a big year for guys to get better. I like my team and we have a chance to be real good.”
LIU has their starting five returning as well their top two scorers in redshirt senior Raiquan Clark (18.9 ppg) and redshirt junior Ty Flowers (13.5 pig). The backcourt with seniors Julian Batts and Jashaun Agosto also return for coach Kellogg. Coach Kellogg spoke about the presence of his upperclassman on his roster mentoring the younger players and said, “We’ve established a good culture. They show leadership on and off the court. When you do that it becomes a routine. We have a group of kids doing a great job in class also.”
LIU currently has a unique roster with no freshman, but are loaded with juniors and seniors. This summer he added two transfers in guard Tre’ Wood (from UMass) and guard Alex Rivera (from UMass Lowell). Wood and Rivera will sit out next season and both have three years of eligibility remaining. According to Kellogg, “Both players are becoming acclimated to the culture and have had a seamless transitions. They enjoy the family atmosphere.”
Huge news going into this season for LIU was the NCAA granting Raiquan Clark a fifth year of eligibility after appearing in just one game as a freshman. The former walk-on who has become a star for the program has improved his game year after year. When talking with Kellogg about Clark getting another year of eligibility, he expressed, “It is a great story for anyone who wants to be special. He is always in the gym and has a good attitude. You don’t see if often, from walk-on to a co-preseason player of the year. I am happy for him.”
The two players that Kellogg expressed to look out for this year are Jashaun Agosto and Julian Batts. Agosto, who will be their senior point guard, brings leadership to the program while Batts is in the best shape he’s been. “The backcourt will set a tone for the program.”
Year 3 for Kellogg will open up on the road against Rhode Island, who has made the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons. The non-conference schedule also features George Mason, San Diego State, and last year’s runner-up Texas Tech. All these games will be played on the road, but Kellogg said, “These are good parameters to see where we are and where we need to improve. I expect to compete and fight and I think we have a chance to win.”
The Sharks are battle tested and the seniors are prepared for one last chance to make it to the NCAA Tournament and leave their mark on the program. As for Kellogg, he has made it a point to enjoy his time in New York and Brooklyn. He is taking in all the things the city has to offer, but once the season kicks off, it’s all business for Kellogg and the LIU Sharks.