When it comes to reaching the peak in a basketball player’s career in the United States, three things come to mind: Making it to the NBA, winning a championship, and representing your country by playing for Team USA. Not many can say they have accomplished all three of these feats, especially being apart of USA Basketball. Now, for Texas Legends big man Jameel Warney, he may not have made his way to the league or won an NBA championship yet (strongly emphasize the yet), but he can proudly say he’s worn “USA” across his chest.
The process began in late August, as USA Basketball held a training camp for the 2017 USA Basketball Men’s AmeriCup Team in Houston. Out of the 17 players who tried out, only 12 made the roster, which included Warney. Along with Warney, C.J. Williams, who was a member of the Legends in 2016-2017, also made the team.
Led by former NBA coach and current ESPN color commentator Jeff Van Gundy, Team USA took their talents to Uruguay to play in the preliminary rounds of the AmeriCup. Along with the United States, Group C consisted of Uruguay, Dominican Republic, and Panama. Team USA ran through the competition, earning their spot in the final stage of the AmeriCup in Argentina. In the semi-final, the United States dominated the Virgin Islands and fought off host Argentina in the finals to take home the Gold.
Who won the 2017 AmeriCup MVP? You guessed it; Jameel Warney. #BullySzn is a global phenomenon, ladies and gentlemen! Warney averaged 12.8 points and 8.6 rebounds over the five games, including a dominant 21 point, 7 rebound performance in the Gold medal game against Argentina.
Following the AmeriCup, qualifying for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 began last month in November. Only four players from the Team USA AmeriCup roster returned, including Warney. Alongside Warney, current Texas Legends teammate and former NBA guard Donald Sloan, also made the World Cup Qualifying Team.
Training camp for the World Cup Qualifying Team began November 17 in North Carolina as Van Gundy prepared the team for their first round match-ups against Puerto Rico and Mexico the following week. In the first game against Puerto Rico, Warney continued to shine, logging 17 points and 11 rebounds in 29 minutes as USA squeaked by 85-78. In the second game against Mexico, the United States had no troubles, winning 91-55.
The first round of the World Cup qualifying will continue February 22-26 as Team USA will host Cuba and Puerto Rico. The final set of first round qualifying matches will take place June 28-July 1, where Warney and Team USA face off once again with Mexico and Cuba.
Speaking post-game following a 110-107 loss to the Canton Charge on Wednesday, the Legends forward reflected on his experience playing for Team USA and Jeff Van Gundy, “The 10 days I spent there with Jeff Van Gundy, his coaching staff, and my teammates was a great experience for me. I learned a lot from Coach over the summer. It’s always great to learn from one of the best.”
Warney, a college standout at Stony Brook and three-time America East Conference Player of the Year, cherishes the moments spent with USA Basketball and would love to continue his stint playing for Team USA.
“It was a great experience. Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to do it again and take it by the horns every time.”
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