Stony Brook's Jameel Warney didn’t hear his name called during the NBA Draft, but his hopes of joining the league are still alive. He became a free agent when the draft ended, and within an hour, received an offer to play for the Dallas Mavericks’ Las Vegas Summer League team.
"They talked to my agent throughout the draft," Warney told sbstatesman.com "We thought it was the best. Ideal situation is, ‘you go to the Mavericks.’ It was unbelievable."
Warney was touted as the best player in the America East Conference, and according to sbstatesman.com, he had the best player efficiency rating in the nation as a senior. Sports-reference.com also places him ninth in the NCAA in career rebounds (1275) since the 1993-94 season. The only two players to record more rebounds in his class were Joel Bolomboy (Weber State) at 1312 and Shawn Long (Louisiana-Lafayette) at 1447.
If Warney is to get a shot in the NBA, it will be because of his rebounding ability -- an always sought-after skill.
Warney made his Mavericks debut Saturday and finished with six points, seven rebounds and three blocks in a win over Miami.
Despite having only one professional game under his belt, Warney has set his sights high, with the hope of being Stony Brook's first-ever NBA player.
"[Stony Brook] already got one football player, a lot of baseball guys, they’re missing basketball," Warney told sbstatesman.com. "I feel like I want to be the first one to do that."
But Warney has his work cut out for him. Among his teammates is another solid rebounder in 7-foot Purdue center A.J. Hammons. With an extra four inches and having actually been chosen in the draft, Hammons is going to be a big obstacle.
"I know he’s a really big guy, another great rebounder," Warney said. "He’s a really great player. I’m happy to compete against him and go on the same team as him."
Warney is not one to back down from a challenge like that; he’s known as a hard worker, always trying to find ways to improve himself on and off the court. He’s shown that he’s capable of taking a team on his shoulders, as his 43-point, 10-rebound and four-block performance in the America East championship game proves. While he won’t be taking on such a heavy load now, he definitely has the ability to push himself to new limits.
Warney will get another chance to shine in the Mavericks' second Las Vegas Summer League game Monday night against the Raptors.