Stony Brook Basketball alumnus Jameel Warney will return to play his second season for the Texas Legends, the Dallas Mavericks’ G-League affiliate. The second-year professional averaged 17.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game with the Legends last year.
Warney’s re-signing comes after a banner summer for Stony Brook Men’s Basketball’s all-time leading scorer. The 23-year-old power forward led Team USA to a gold medal in the FIBA AmeriCup in South America, winning tournament MVP honors in the process. Warney’s performance raised hopes that the New Jersey native would be signed to an NBA team before the season began, but Warney remains optimistic about his prospects.
“It’s kind of weird,” Warney said. “I’m putting myself in a better position than after the Summer League. I’m happy with my performance in the AmeriCup, but I still have some things to work on. It’s just put more of chip on my shoulder to get me motivated, and I’m ready for a good season.”
Texas Legends head coach Bob MacKinnon Jr. said Warney’s return to the team had to do with the timing of the AmeriCup.
“We think Jameel’s definitely an NBA player,” MacKinnon said. “I think timing is a lot of it. That performance in the AmeriCup happened kind of late. A lot of spots were already filled up as far as NBA training camps go. So I think he kind of got caught in a timing situation.”
Last season, Warney’s first with the Legends, saw the rookie finish as the team’s fourth-leading scorer and third-leading rebounder. MacKinnon said he expects Warney to take a leading role for the team once again.
“I want him to just do what he does and control what he controls,” MacKinnon said. “That’s playing hard and rebounding the basketball and being a main low-post threat for us on offense. And on defense I thought he was the best pick-and-roll defender in our league as far as big people go last year. I think he needs to do that again and show these teams that he’s a guy that they want on their roster.”
While MacKinnon said having Warney back was a plus for his team, he suspects Warney will not be playing in the G-League for long.
“We’re excited that he’s going to be back,” MacKinnon said. “Based on the way he’s playing, I don’t expect him to be with us the whole year, that’s for sure.”
For Warney, more time with the Legends just means more time to work on his game.
“I’m not going to change who I am, I’m just going to keep on improving at what I do,” Warney said. “It’s not like I’m 33 years old trying to make one last push into the NBA. I have time, I’m going to push myself to get better and push my teammates to get better. I want all of us to get called up.”
The Legends will kick off their season on the road against the Austin Spurs at the H-E-B Center in Cedar Park, Texas on Saturday, Nov. 4.