One of the most consistent facts about Stony Brook’s historic season in 2013 was Jameel Warney’s improvement every night he stepped onto the court.
The first-year player ran away with Rookie of the Year honors and was named to the preseason All-Conference team as a sophomore, sharing that distinction with Binghamton’s Jordan Reed. Warney led the Seawolves with 12.4 points per game and grabbed 7.2 rebounds per game, second only to last season’s America East Player of the Year Tommy Brenton.
Now though Warney has to be even better if Stony Brook wants to remain amongst the elite in the America East. Warney has made it his task to get even better and should get serious consideration for the league’s Player of the Year. He dedicated himself in the weight room, worked on post moves, improved his mid-range game, and said he’s much stronger than when he started his freshman season.
“I improved a lot over the past few months after the Iowa game,” Warney said. “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.”
Head coach Steve Pikiell said that motivation has not been an issue for the sophomore, who has been working on adding new dimensions to his game for the coming season.
“Jameel is so much better than he was at this time last year,” Pikiell said. “It’s not even close. He’s dunking more, he’s over the rim more, he’s blocking more shots, he’s harder to guard in the post.”
“He’s added a lot to his game and he spent a lot of time this summer. I’m proud of the work he put in. I think last year gave him a lot of confidence and this year we need him to do more too and I think he’s ready to do that.”
Warney said it took time for him to learn Pikiell’s system, but by the time conference play hit last season everything was clicking. It showed in a freshman season that saw him lead the conference play in field goal percentage, finish second in blocked shots, and fourth in offensive rebounding.
“My confidence is up,” Warney said. “I feel like I’m one of the best players in the league. I believe I can do anything.”
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.