Stony Brook forward Jameel Warney is eight points away from surpassing Emeka Smith’s career school record of 1,978. Warney should set the mark Wednesday night in Albany when the Seawolves put their 18-game winning streak on the line against the defending America East champion Great Danes.
Smith will be monitoring the game from his home in Brooklyn. With a victory over Albany, Stony Brook would clinch the regular-season title in the conference and gain an automatic bid to the NIT Tournament. But they have the Big Dance in mind and would own home-court advantage in the conference tournament, where the winner earns an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
“I’ve been following that they’ve got a little winning streak going on,’’ Smith said Tuesday. “They’re making a splash in Division 1. It’s hard to miss if you follow social media.’’ The Seawolves have the longest current D-I streak in the nation.
“I mean, records are meant to be broken,’’ said Smith, a 44-year-old Army veteran who said he served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He played from 1989-93 when Stony Brook competed in Division III.
Smith was a 5-10 guard who could shoot from anywhere on the floor. Warney is a 6-8 power forward who scores most of his points down low and often with a short hook shot from about 12 feet.
Smith laments that he could have scored more points at Stony Brook. His senior year was cut short by what he called an act of “immaturity’’ when he, another men’s basketball player and two other students were arrested in January 1993 for burglary of electronic equipment in campus dormitory rooms. Smith was suspended from the school. According to criminal records, the charge was reduced to trespassing, a misdemeanor. Smith pleaded guilty to the trespassing charge.
“I was young, it’s something I can’t take back,’’ he said. “I’ve grown from it. I went to the military and retired after 20 years honorably.
“I’m proud that I held it,’’ he said of the record, “but it’s always in the back of my mind I still had another 30 games to play that year.’’
Devon Daniel, Stony Brook’s director of development for athletics, recently reached out to Smith. “It was just really a need for us at Stony Brook to really connect with those who really laid the foundation of the success we’re having,’’ Daniel said. “Embracing our past from Division III to Division I.’’
Smith, who has met Warney and other Seawolves players, has been invited with other alumni to Stony Brook’s final regular season home game against Vermont on Feb. 27.
Smith, who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Multidisciplinary Studies from Stony Brook in 1994, is happy to be back in the fold. “I don’t think anybody is holding anything against me,’’ he said.