Everybody loves a good big man.
Unfortunately, everybody doesn’t have a good big man.
College basketball is filled with great guards and wing players. Finding a good big man who can play both sides of the ball is a different story. That’s what separates the major conference programs from the mid majors.
Stony Brook (8-3) is one of the few mid-major programs that knows what it feels like to have a power player who can command a double team in the post in Jameel Warney.
The 6-8, 255 pound freshman is averaging 12.4 points and 7.5 rebounds and was named America East rookie of the week last week for the fourth time.
He’s been incredibly efficient from the field, shooting 64.7 percent. He isn’t just feasting on inferior competition either. Warney had 17 points and four rebounds in a 75-69 loss at Maryland and eight points and 11 rebounds in a 73-62 loss to Connecticut.
"I'm most excited to have the seventh leading field goal percentage shooter in the country in my freshman class,” said Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell. “It's not every day that you have a talented low post player like Jameel at this level.”
Warney’s play in the post has opened up the shooting lanes for Anthony Jackson, Dave Coley, Marcus Rouse and Carson Puriefoy, who are all shooting 36 percent or better from three-point range. Rouse and Puriefoy are both shooting 40 percent from long range.
Junior forward Eric McAllister (5.1 ppg, 3.3 reb, 52% FG) is also benefiting from Warney’s presence.
“He benefits our offense a great deal, and not just because he can score. He's also our best post passer. And that opens up a lot of things for us on offense,” added Pikiell.
The next big test for Warney and Stony Brook is a trip to New Jersey for a battle against Seton Hall (10-2). It’s a rematch from last season’s NIT game between the two. Stony Brook took the Pirates to the very end before falling 63-61.