Jameel Warney

Steve Pikiell

Stony Brook hands No. 13 Washington its first loss of the season

Leave a comment

Through 11 games Lorenzo Romar’s Washington Huskies, picked to finish in the bottom half of the Pac-12 in the preseason poll, was one of college basketball’s biggest surprises as they racked up 11 wins and moved to 13th in the AP poll. With wins over San Diego State and Oklahoma to their credit, Sunday’s matchup with Stony Brook didn’t look to be much of an issue for the Huskies in their final tune-up before the start of Pac-12 play.

However the Seawolves, preseason favorites to win America East, didn’t quit despite trailing by as much as 16 and Steve Pikiell’s team ultimately came back to win 62-57. Jameel Warney, a forward who deserves more national praise than he’s received, banked in a shot with 29.1 seconds remaining to give Stony Brook its first lead of the game. The junior scored 15 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out six assists with fellow forward Rayshaun McGrew adding ten points to go along with a career-high 14 rebounds to lead the way for Stony Brook.

But it was guard Kameron Mitchell, who is averaging just 3.9 points per game on the season, who made some key plays that sparked Stony Brook’s second half rally. Mitchell, who finished the game with 12 points, made three of his four three-pointers during a three-minute stretch in which the Seawolves managed to cut Washington’s lead to 55-52 with just over four minutes left in the game.

And with second-leading scorer Carson Puriefoy struggling from the field, Mitchell’s second-half contributions couldn’t have come at a better time for Stony Brook. Puriefoy, currently averaging 14.6 points per game, shot just 2-for-12 from the field and scored six points Sunday night.

For many teams that kind of performance from a key player would essentially guarantee defeat, but that wasn’t the case for Stony Brook thanks in part to Mitchell’s perimeter shooting.

As for Washington, this wasn’t the best of nights for any of the three players who have been so important for them this season. Guards Andrew Andrews (eight points, seven rebounds and four assists) and Nigel Williams-Goss (ten points, three assists) combined to score 18 points on 8-for-26 shooting, and center Robert Upshaw (ten points, 11 rebounds and four blocks) shot 5-for-13 from the field.

As a team the Huskies shot just 34.3% from the field, marking just the third time this season that they’ve failed to shoot at least 40 percent. While those numbers, and the fact that Stony Brook converted 12 Washington turnovers into 19 points, would make it easy to ask the “what’s wrong with Washington” question the Seawolves deserve the credit for not going away from what they do best despite the 16-point margin.

For programs such as Stony Brook their most important chapter will be written in March, with the goal of an NCAA tournament berth coming down to their ability to win three straight games in the conference tournament. But even with that being the case, their first-ever win over a ranked opponent is one Stony Brook won’t forget anytime soon.

Stony Brook works toward NCAA appearance after DII transition

stony brook
Leave a comment
source: AP
AP

Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

MORE: 2014-2015 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

Stony Brook has slowly built its men’s basketball program into a respectable annual postseason contender.

They just haven’t made the NCAA Tournament and drawn a lot of national attention.

But the vision is there for a successful long-term Division I basketball program.

If you look at the profile of head coach Steve Pikiell’s program during his 10 seasons as coach, and the history of Stony Brook basketball, you’ll see they’re on an impressive run.

Four out of the past five seasons have resulted in at least 20 wins and postseason appearances, three of those times in the NIT for the Seawolves. They’ve had three of the last five America East Players of the Year, led most recently by junior forward Jameel Warney, who won the award as a sophomore.

The problem is, Stony Brook has fallen short the last couple of seasons of making the field of 68 and they’ve watched teams like Albany and Vermont make multiple postseason appearances from the league.

Pikiell and Warney hope that changes this year. Stony Brook fell just short again last season, falling in the America East Conference Tournament title game at home against Albany, but they have no seniors on the roster and a talented group of returnees.

Warney is one of the most impressive mid-major front-court players in the nation. The 6-foot-8 junior forward averaged 14.5 points and 8 rebounds on 61 percent field goal shooting as a sophomore and worked very hard this summer. Pikiell said it was Warney’s first full summer on-campus in the weight room and he’s added muscle while losing weight.

“It’s his team now. He’s in as good as shape as he’s ever been in. He’s added a 15-foot jump shot to his game,” Pikiell told NBCSports.com. “He’s young. He came in as a young freshman and I think he’s really matured the last couple years. I think he has a chance to be a really terrific player on the national level, too.”

RELATED: America East Conference Preview

Warney returns along with fellow junior Carson “Tre” Purifoy, who averaged 12.9 points last season and shot 43 percent from three-point range, as well as German import and redshirt freshman Roland Nyama, a 6-foot-6 wing who Pikiell called, “as athletic as any player we’ve had in the program.”

The urgency is there to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time because Stony Brook has historically never achieved success for any sustained number of years in men’s basketball. The Division III run produced some 20-win seasons and the Division II years only produced two total winning seasons.

In the first 10 seasons as a Division I program, since 1999, Stony Brook only had two winning seasons.

So this latest run of 20-win seasons and postseason appearances is historic for the school and a NCAA Tournament appearance for the first time in school history would be big for the sustained future of the program.

“I’m most proud of where it started off (to now),” Pikiell said. “We had spots of success at Division III. At Division II we really struggled and then we jumped into Division I. I’m really proud to win 20 games and play in postseasons, which is not something we’ve ever done.”

The recent success has helped give the program unprecedented momentum as they move into a new 4,000 seat arena this season from a 1,700 seat arena. Pikiell said that season ticket numbers in his 10 years as head coach have jumped from 40 to 2,000 as the fan base is clearly enjoying this new era of success.

“It’s amazing. Now that it’s here more fans can come so we’re just excited,” Warney said. “Every year it keeps getting better and better. More fans; more support. It gets louder and louder.”

Success at Stony Brook would mean as much to Pikiell as anybody. He started his 10-year run as head coach with a four-win season, oversaw a program on probation, had academic casualties and didn’t sustain a winning record until year four.

Unlike a lot of administrations of Division I men’s basketball programs, Stony Brook stuck with Pikiell and their shared long-term plan to make the Seawolves successful.

Stony Brook finally reaching a national stage would mean the vision worked.

2014-15 America East Preview: Does Stony Brook finally make the Tournament?

Jameel Warney of Stony Brook (AP Photo)
Leave a comment
source:
Jameel Warney of Stony Brook (AP Photo)

Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

Today, we are rolling out our America East preview.

MORE: 2014-2015 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

The major storyline entering the America East in the 2014-2015 season is if Stony Brook can finally get over the hump and make the program’s first NCAA Tournament. After four 20-win seasons in five years and multiple losses in the America East conference tournament title game, the Seawolves are the close favorites in a conference that loses some talented and experienced players.

Stony Brook and head coach Steve Pikiell return reigning conference player of the year Jameel Warney at forward and guard Carson Puriefoy and his 12.9 points and 43 percent three-point shooting to the rotation and gain some talented players as well. Redshirt freshman Roland Nyama is a high-upside athlete from Germany who could see significant minutes and Pikiell is expecting a potentially deep rotation.

Hartford likely poses as the biggest threat to Stony Brook as the Hawks will welcome back their top seven scorers from last season. Senior forward Mark Nwakamma is an all-league talent and Yolonzo Moore II and Wes Cole are an experienced senior back court. If there is one thing Hartford has to improve: rebounding. The Hawks were outglassed by an average of 4.3 rebounds per game last year.

Albany is always stronger as the season goes on under head coach Will Brown, and they’ve won the America East conference tournament title four times — including last season — to only one league regular season title. Junior guard Peter Hooley and senior wing forward Sam Rowley both return for the Great Danes and that should give them a good start to build one.

After winning 22 games a season ago, Vermont loses six seniors and its top four scorers, but the program hasn’t had a losing record in league play since 2005-06 and returns some talent. Junior forward Ethan O’Day and senior forward Hector Harold is the foundation of an experienced front court and Vermont also has a decent recruiting class.

Binghamton and UMBC will compete in the America East thanks to all-league guards. The Bearcats have 6-foot-4 guard Jordan Reed while UMBC returns league Rookie of the Year Rodney Elliot.

PRESEASON AMERICA EAST PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jameel Warney, Stony Brook

The reigning America East Player of the Year is only a junior and the 6-foot-8 forward has shot 61 percent from the field in both of his seasons at Stony Brook. Warney averaged 14.5 points, 8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game last season and is one of the most dominant offensive forces in the conference.

THE REST OF THE PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA EAST TEAM:

  • Mark Nwakamma, Hartford – The 6-foot-8 senior forward was a first-team All-America East selection last season after averaging 15.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
  • Peter Hooley, Albany – The 6-foot-4 junior guard averaged 15.5 points per game last season and will be the Great Danes’ key player this season.
  • Jordan Reed, Binghamton – Another 6-foot-4 junior guard, Reed totaled 15.4 points and 8.9 rebounds per game while upping his three-point percentage to 35 percent from 13.
  • Rodney Elliott, UMBC – The 6-foot sophomore is the reigning America East Rookie of the Year after averaged 15 points, 3.6 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.

ONE TWITTER FEED TO FOLLOW: @onebidwonders

PREDICTED FINISH

1. Stony Brook
2. Hartford
3. Albany
4. Vermont
5. Binghamton
6. UMBC
7. UMass Lowell
8. Maine
9. New Hampshire

The Chase for 180: Riley Grabau utilizing increased opportunities

grabau
1 Comment

Who is the best shooter in the country?

It’s a tough question to answer, isn’t it? Does being a “shooter” simply mean merely being a high-level marksman from beyond the arc? Can a player who thrives in the mid-range but rarely ventures out into three-point land be eligible? How heavily should we be valuing stats like efficiency and effective field goal percentage when taking all of this into account?

One number that we like to use is “180″. How do you become a 180 shooter? By shooting 50% or better from the field overall, 40% or better from three and at least 90% from the charity stripe. From this point forward we’ll track this until the end of the regular season, providing weekly updates as well as a look into how some of the nation’s best find (and connect on) their quality looks.

As a sophomore, Wyoming guard Riley Grabau started 30 of the 32 games in which he played but averaged just 6.0 points per game while shooting 35.2% from the field and 32.3% from beyond the arc. With seniors Derrious Gilmore and Leonard Washington leading the team in scoring and both boasting shot percentages around 26%, Grabau was in the position of being a supplementary piece for the Cowboys.

With those two out of eligibility it was clear that there would be more opportunities for players such as Grabau, and to this point in the season he’s taken advantage. Averaging 11.5 points per game, Grabau’s raised his shooting percentages to 45.4% from the field, 46.7% from three and 90.8% from the foul line. According to hoop-math.com nearly 74% of Grabau’s shots have been three-pointers, and he’s avoided taking many of the two-point jumpers (14.3% of his shots) that he hasn’t converted at a particularly high rate thus far (26.9% FG on those shots).

The key for Grabau down the stretch is whether or not he can build on the two games he put together last week, averaging 17.5 points per game in wins over then-No. 5 San Diego State and San Jose State. Against the Aztecs Grabau connected on five of his nine shot attempts from the field, shooting 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. Grabau followed that game up with a 5-for-11 afternoon against San Jose State, performing well offensively in a game that was anything but an offensive masterpiece (Wyoming won, 46-38).

So why would those games be so important moving forward? Wyoming’s lost leading scorer Larry Nance Jr. for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL, which he suffered in their win over Fresno State on Tuesday night. Nance leads Wyoming in shot percentage (27.0%), and the Cowboys will need to find a way to account for the 15.4 points per game (and 8.6 rebounds/game) that he provided if they’re to build on their current three-game win streak.

Among the players who will be asked to do more is Grabau, who scored just six points on Tuesday night (1-for-6 FG). But even with that effort, overall the junior guard has made strides within Larry Shyatt’s system. Can he take another step forward? The Cowboys certainly hope that will be the case.

THE TOP TEN (Note: Players much be eligible to be ranked in FG%, 3PT% and FT%. And here’s a glossary that includes the stats you’ll see used in these posts. Tempo neutral numbers per kenpom.com.)

1) Matt Kennedy (Charleston Southern)
51.0% FG, 51.9% 3PT, 90.8% 3PT = 193.7
Shot %: 19.2
eFG %: 59.0
True shooting %: 63.8

2) Jason Calliste (Oregon)
52.9, 51.2, 84.8 = 188.9
Shot %: 17.0
eFG %: 66.3
True shooting %: 71.9

3) Doug McDermott (Creighton)
51.3, 44.4, 90.1 = 185.8
Shot %: 38.0
eFG %: 58.5
True shooting %: 63.6

4) Brett Olson (Denver)
48.0, 42.5, 93.4 = 183.9
Shot %: 22.6
eFG %: 57.7
True shooting %: 64.0

5) Riley Grabau (Wyoming)
45.4, 46.7, 90.8 = 182.9
Shot %: 18.0
eFG %: 63.2
True shooting %: 68.9

6) Austin Tillotson (Colgate)
59.3, 50.0, 72.7 = 182.0
Shot %: 18.7
eFG %: 67.4
True shooting %: 69.0

7) Johnny Dee (San Diego)
43.9, 43.9, 93.3 = 181.1
Shot %: 30.4
eFG %: 54.6
True shooting %: 60.3

8) Trevor Releford (Alabama)
50.5, 40.1, 90.5 = 181.1
Shot %: 27.5
eFG %: 60.0
True shooting %: 65.5

9) Anthony Brown (Stanford)
49.1, 49.4, 81.8 = 180.3
Shot %: 18.9
eFG %: 58.3
True shooting %: 62.8

10) Tyler Haws (BYU)
47.8, 44.2, 87.2 = 179.2
Shot %: 31.2
eFG %: 51.8
True shooting %: 59.4

Inside the Arc (zero three-point attempts)

1) F Curtis Washington (Georgia State)
66.9% FG, 1.59 points/shot

2) C Sim Bhullar (New Mexico State)
66.1% FG, 1.71 points/shot

3) F Marquise Simmons (St. Bonaventure)
64.1% FG, 1.56 points/shot

4) F Jameel Warney (Stony Brook)
63.9% FG, 1.54 points/shot

5) F Marshall Bjorklund (North Dakota State)
63.6% FG, 1.54 points/shot

Previous Installments
November 11
December 4
December 11
December 18
January 8
January 15
January 22
January 29
February 5
February 12

The Chase for 180: Taking Tyler Haws for granted

Tyler Haws, Damyean Dotson
Leave a comment

Who is the best shooter in the country?

It’s a tough question to answer, isn’t it? Does being a “shooter” simply mean merely being a high-level marksman from beyond the arc? Can a player who thrives in the mid-range but rarely ventures out into three-point land be eligible? How heavily should we be valuing stats like efficiency and effective field goal percentage when taking all of this into account?

One number that we like to use is “180″. How do you become a 180 shooter? By shooting 50% or better from the field overall, 40% or better from three and at least 90% from the charity stripe. From this point forward we’ll track this until the end of the regular season, providing weekly updates as well as a look into how some of the nation’s best find (and connect on) their quality looks.

After returning from his two-year LDS mission a few months before the start of the 2012-13 season, BYU junior guard Tyler Haws had some adjustments to make. From a personnel standpoint gone were Jimmer Fredette and Jackson Emery, with Fredette taking the nation by storm with his prolific scoring ability during the 2009-10 season and Emery also being a valuable cog in that particular team’s attack. That change not only meant that Haws (11.3 ppg in 2009-10) would have more opportunities to score, but also that BYU would need him to hit the ground running.

Add in the school’s move from the Mountain West to the West Coast Conference, and Haws would also need to do this while adjusting to new opponents and styles of plays. It’s safe to say that Haws handled his return to college basketball very well, scoring 21.7 points per game while shooting 48.3% from the field and 38.1% from beyond the arc. It became commonplace to see Haws scoring 25 points or more, and the same can be said for Haws’ production in 2013-14.

Now averaging 24.6 points per game, Haws has become a much better three-point shooter (up to 46.5%) while maintaining his field goal (47.8%) and free throw (88.0; 87.7 last season) percentages. Through 22 games (Haws missed two games in November) Haws has scored 25 points or more in ten games, most notably racking up 48 points in a triple-overtime loss at Portland on January 23, and of those ten games he’s scored at least 30 in seven of them.

Given how good Haws has been for BYU it makes you wonder if his production has been taken for granted, and this is something head coach Dave Rose mentioned after his junior guard scored 33 in a win over Saint Mary’s on Saturday.

“That’s amazing that he’s been as good and consistent as he’s been,” Rose said. “I think even you guys (the media) are starting to overlook (that).

“He’s always been really good for us in closing out games,” Rose said of Haws, whose number was retired at Lone Peak High last Friday night. “He was good again (Saturday). You’ve got to give so much credit to Ty because of the work he puts in, the skill level that he has, and the consistency that he plays with. The rest of our team — you look at Matt (Carlino) and Kyle (Collinsworth), they deliver the ball to him in the right spot at the right time to do what he does.”

Haws, while certainly a proficient shooter from beyond the arc, tends to do the majority of his work inside of the three-point line. According to hoop-math.com just 19.5% of his shot attempts this season have been three-pointers, with two-point jumpers making up 60.2% of his shot attempts. Haws has made 39.5% of those shots, and when combined with the fact that he converts when at the rim (70.3% shooting on those looks) the end result is a player who’s both an elite shooter and an elite scorer.

Haws is the first line (if not paragraph) on every opponent’s scouting report and with good reason. The various ways in which he can score makes for a tough matchup night in and night out, and that will continue to be the case. The task for us observers is to not take that for granted.

THE TOP TEN (Note: Players much be eligible to be ranked in FG%, 3PT% and FT%. And here’s a glossary that includes the stats you’ll see used in these posts. Tempo neutral numbers per kenpom.com.)

1) Jason Calliste (Oregon) 
52.9% FG, 51.4% 3PT, 88.2% FT = 192.5
Shot %: 17.0
eFG %: 65.9
True shooting %: 72.5

2) Riley Grabau (Wyoming)
45.7, 48.0, 91.7 = 185.4
Shot %: 17.4
eFG %: 63.7
True shooting %: 69.7

3) Phil Forte III (Oklahoma State)
45.8, 47.3, 91.8 = 184.9
Shot %: 22.0
eFG %: 64.2
True shooting %: 69.0

4) Doug McDermott (Creighton) 
50.0, 43.9, 89.3 = 183.2
Shot %: 37.9
eFG %: 57.5
True shooting %: 62.5

5) Max DiLeo (Monmouth)
55.1, 53.1, 75.0 = 183.2
Shot %: 15.9
eFG %: 67.3
True shooting %: 69.5

6) Billy Baron (Canisius)
47.4, 44.6, 90.7 = 182.7
Shot %: 28.4
eFG %: 57.9
True shooting %: 64.3

7) Tyler Haws (BYU)
47.8, 46.5, 88.0 = 182.3
Shot %: 31.0
eFG %: 52.3
True shooting %: 60.1

8) Johnny Dee (San Diego)
44.6, 43.9, 92.9 = 181.4
Shot %: 30.5
eFG %: 55.4
True shooting %: 60.8

9) Brett Olson (Denver) 
48.1, 40.6, 92.5 = 181.2
Shot %: 22.0
eFG %: 56.9
True shooting %: 63.5

10) Jarvis Summers (Ole Miss)
50.8, 52.2, 77.8 = 180.8
Shot %: 25.1
eFG %: 58.1
True shooting %: 632.8

Inside the Arc (zero three-point attempts) 

1) C Sim Bhullar (New Mexico State)
66.7% FG, 1.76 points per shot

2) F Steve Forbes (IPFW)
66.5% FG, 1.77 points per shot

3) F Curtis Washington (Georgia State)
65.3% FG, 1.57 points per shot

4) Jameel Warney (Stony Brook)
64.8% FG, 1.55 points per shot

5) Marquise Simmons (St. Bonaventure)
63.7% FG, 1.56 points per shot

Previous Installments
November 11
December 4
December 11
December 18
January 8
January 15
January 22
January 29

Stony Brook hangs on against Vermont, moves to 6-0 in America East

Steve Pikiell Stony Brook
Leave a comment

With the top two teams in the America East doing battle, it should come as no surprise that this one came down to the final possessions.

What may have been a surprise, however, is Stony Brook relinquishing a 17 point lead with 16 minutes remaining, and nearly giving the game away at the end with missed free throws. Vermont had three three-point opportunities in the final 16 seconds, but none would fall; the final effort by Ethan O’Day clanked off the rim.

Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell will be happy with this win, but probably not satisfied. He will have left the floor tonight breathing a sigh of relief, not pounding his chest. When he watches the game tape from the second half, he will find the staunch defense that Stony Brook threw at Vermont in the first half suddenly evaporated.

All that said, he just beat Vermont — the only other undefeated team in the league. As such, is there such thing as an ugly or bad win?

The Catamounts trailed 50-33 when the under 16 media timeout hit, but went on a quick 13-0 run over roughly a five minute stretch to close the gap. Ethan O’Day caught fire, scoring on four consecutive possessions to bring the deficit within single-digits.

Give the Seawolves credit, however; they didn’t flinch. A Jameel Warney layup and consecutive three-pointers by Anthony Jackson pushed the lead up to nine. While Vermont would continue to make runs, they never got over the hump and took the lead — Stony Brook never folded.

Pikiell and Vermont head coach John Becker wouldn’t tell you this, but their teams are — far and away — the two best teams in the league. Albany and Hartford are both solid and will challenge, but are a notch below.

These two America East juggernauts won’t meet again until late February in Burlington. The Seawolves held serve at home, but heading north is never easy, where they haven’t come away with a win since the 2009-10 season.