Former Stony Brook University basketball star Jameel Warney was set to return to Korea, where he plays for the Seoul SK Knights in the Korean Basketball League. But before he was scheduled to return to Korea on Sunday, he received word that the Korean Women’s Basketball League had canceled the remainder of its season, and so he canceled his flight.
On Tuesday Korean time but late Monday EDT, the Korean Basketball League canceled the remainder of the men’s schedule, including playoffs. As Warney said on Twitter: “Well guess it’s an early summer.” That was followed by five laughing emojis with tears running from their eyes.
On Monday night, Warney told Newsday, “I’m still in New Jersey . . . I waited for an official statement to come out before the WKBL canceled.”
In an interview with Newsday last week, Warney expressed confidence that he would be healthy in South Korea, and he described the extensive testing that country has implemented in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. He explained that people in that country had been tested going in and out of various facilities, including restaurants. Sometimes it was a matter of taking temperatures, but it also included frequent testing for the coronavirus, which was available as part of the national healthcare system that is free to all.
But after the WKBL and the Korean Volleyball Federation canceled the remainder of their seasons, the KBL followed suit. Its last games were played on Feb. 29 and then suspended after a team stayed in the same hotel where a COVID-19 patient was quarantined.
The KBL had hoped to return to action on March 29, but Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun urged the suspension of play at least through April 5 as part of a social distancing initiative.
Warney’s SK Knights were tied for first place in the KBL with a 28-15 record, and he was fourth in the league in scoring (20.4) and rebounding (10.4).