FIBA Americup MVP Jameel Warney most recently played for the Texas Legends, which is the G League affiliate for the Dallas Mavericks.
The next stop for Warney, a 23-year-old, 6-foot-7 power forward and former college basketball star for Stony Brook University, could be in the NBA. Always a dominant baller, he is one of just 10 players since 2010 who have recorded 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds while playing NCAA Division-I Men’s Basketball.
The three-time AP Honorable Mention All-American was not drafted after college despite leading his school to their first-ever NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament appearance. In his conference title game, he recorded 43 points with 10 rebounds.
Once again the New Jersey-born Warney shined during the recent Americup games. He led the United States to overcome a 20-point deficit to win a Gold Medal in the championship game. Six players (including Marshall Plumlee and Kendall Marshall) have NBA experience.
He spoke to HoopsHype about the accomplishment, also thanking his teammates for the incredible bond they formed together.
“It was a great experience to play in places like Uruguay and Argentina,” he said. “Those fans are really passionate about their basketball and those environments were some of the biggest games of my 23 years.”
His success, however, is nothing new. During his March Madness contest, he led players from both teams in points (23) and rebounds (15) against the Kentucky Wildcats. Several of the players he faced (Jamal Murray, Skal Labissiere, Tyler Ulis and Alex Poythress) are now in the NBA.
If he continues to succeed, he could soon join them. Last season, he averaged 17.3 points and 8 rebounds per game with a 57.6 shooting percentage in the developmental league. During his 2016-17 campaign, his Player Efficiency Rating (PER) ranked No. 13 overall.
He also recently started four games for the Mavericks during the summer league, averaging 12 points and 5.2 rebounds while shooting 65.6 percent from the field. We named him one of the top-five players in Orlando.
Warney also played (albeit in a smaller role) for the Clippers during their summer league appearances in Las Vegas.
Of course, this summer he will be remembered for winning a Gold medal.
“I’ve learned a lot of the last few weeks from head coach Jeff Van Gundy and his coaching staff,” Warney said. “I’m definitely going to use this to my advantage and hopefully, I get a chance to play in the NBA soon.”
While he has not yet made his NBA debut, it seems possible that teams with a two-way contract available to offer may soon reach out to Warney if they have not already.
Teams with an available roster spot for their NBA squad include the Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets and New Orelans Pelicans. The Suns, in particular, could be interested as Phoenix GM Ryan McDonough recently suggested players like Warney may be a good fit (via AZ Central):
“I think we will lean toward younger guys, with the mid-to-late 20s being the upper limit of what we’ll look at. Is there one guy out there who could be an exception to that? Maybe. But I think that will be the target of the initial process, somebody who fits with the timeline of our young core.”
The head mentor for the Suns’ minor league affiliate, Ty Ellis, was one of the Americup assistant coaches.
If front offices believe he is more of a fringe prospect, however, perhaps a two-way deal would make the most sense.
Various teams around the league including the Dallas Mavericks and L.A. Clippers, where he already has experience, have room to offer him a two-way deal. Meanwhile, the New York Knicks (near his hometown) also have a two-way opening.
So, too, do the Deroit Pistons, who is coached by Stan Van Gundy, the older brother of his Americup coach.