Stony Brook sophomore forward Jameel Warney burst onto the scene his freshman year, and burst might be an understatement. For his first year not only did he gradually get better, but dominatied in conference play. He averaged 12.8 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game in conference play while leading the league in field goal percentage making 65% of his shots. Warney won Rookie of the Year last year and made the second team All-Conference. Coaches around the league cite him as a nightmare to match up against and he is our pick for America East preseason Player of the Year.
Big Apple Buckets: A lot of places are picking you for preseason Player of the Year, what do you take away from that?
Jameel Warney: That some people in the league are noticing my talent, what I can do, but at the end of the day it’s just a preseason poll so it’s not really doing anything for me.
Big Apple Buckets: Do you feel like that selection is warranted after how you played last season?
Jameel Warney: I think it’s okay but I think there’s a few people out there that who have the same talent as me as in Brian Voekel in Vermont and the kid in Hartford, but we just have to it’s just all about the team.
Big Apple Buckets: What’s the biggest difference we will see out of you this year, compared to last season?
Jameel Warney: More talking from me, I need to be more of a leader, lead by example because last year you probably never heard a word out of me in the game I just need to be more confident be a great teammate. When somebody’s struggling I have to pick them up and say don’t worry, when the freshmen start to struggle I can help them because I’ve been through the pain, so hopefully I can just bring good leadership.
Big Apple Buckets: What do you feel like you have improved upon most since the end of last season?
Jameel Warney: I improved a lot over the past few months after the Iowa game, just at home just playing my friends, shooting midrange jump shots, free throws, learning new post moves, watching video about post moves and just taking it all in of what I need to do be a great player. I think I improved over a good amount of months and I think this is the best I’ve been playing all my life.
Big Apple Buckets: What would you say the biggest difference is between when you got on campus here as a freshman and now?
Jameel Warney: Great shape. I’m way stronger than I was when I got here. I know all about the defensive schemes now so I’m in the right place all the time now instead of last year when I was learning where to go. I know all the screen coverages and I’m just more vocal this year.
Big Apple Buckets: Where is the toughest place to play on the road in the America East?
Jameel Warney: Vermont, definitely Vermont. Just a long ride there, the crazy environment, my first year here. I didn’t notice that environment until we got to Vermont and it was just crazy from the start.
Big Apple Buckets: If you were playing any other sport right now, what would it be?
Jameel Warney: I might still be wrestling because I was a good wrestler in middle school, but basketball got my calling card.
Ryan Restivo covers the America East for Big Apple Buckets, read his America East preview on ESPN.com as part of the ESPN Insider College Hoops 2013-14 Preview. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.