‘Giant Killer’ Profile: Stony Brook

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Stony Brook Seawolves
America East Conference
Stony Brook, NY
Head Coach: Steve Pikiell (11th Season)
Record: 17-4, 8-0 conf.
RPI: 54
KenPom: 48
SOS: 230
Best Wins: 91-77 vs Princeton, 71-68 vs Hofstra
Bad Losses: 66-67 @ Western Kentucky, 62-75 @ Northeastern
Key Players:
F Jameel Warney (18.2 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 3.1 BPG)
G Carson Puriefoy (14.3 PPG, 3.2 APG, 41.3% 3PT)
G Ahmad Walker (10.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 4.6 APG)

One of the most popular “Giant Killer” picks right now is the Stony Brook Seawolves out of the America East Conference. This team has been on the cusp of crashing the big party for years now, but they have a big roadblock in rival Albany, who has defeated the Seawolves in the America East Tournament three years in a row, including in the championship game the last two seasons.

Despite their disappointing finishes, Head Coach Steve Pikiell has this team on the right track, and he has done an incredible job in his 10-plus years at the helm of the program. They were 4-24 in Pikiell’s first season, and they didn’t reach double-digit wins until his fourth season, when they went 16-14. Pikiell has now led this team to 20-plus wins in five of the last six seasons, and with 17 wins already this year, they are well on their way to 20 wins once again.

The main reason they have been so great this season, as well as the last few years, is star forward Jameel Warney. Warney, a 6’8″ senior from Plainfield, NJ, has been a starter since the day he stepped on campus, and he has performed at an exceptional level. In 118 games for the Seawolves, Warney has scored in double digits in all but 18 of those games! That means he’s scored at least 10 points in nearly 85 percent of his collegiate games. That is an unbelievable statistic!

But not only is Warney an elite scorer, he also makes things happen on the defensive end, as this season he is averaging over 10 rebounds a game, as well as over 3 blocks per game. Those stats are much of the reason that KenPom has Warney among their Top-10 Player of the Year candidates, along with much more well known names like Ben Simmons, Grayson Allen and Denzel Valentine. Many “Giant Killers” have one player who can step up on the big stage and become a household name. Jameel Warney is that guy.

Stony Brook has other quality players, as they have four players who average double figures in scoring. One issue could be their depth. They play an 8-man rotation, but in actuality, it’s really a 6-man rotation. The other two players play very minimal minutes. If any of their starters get into foul trouble, they could have some issues.

Their best wins this season are against fellow potential “Giant Killers” Princeton and Hofstra, so they don’t have a win against a “Giant” this season, but they have tested themselves. They lost to Notre Dame by 25 points, but they were able to take a good Vanderbilt team to overtime, where they ended up losing by seven. Their overall strength of schedule is weak, but their non-conference schedule was rated as the 52nd toughest by KenPom. This team won’t be scared of anybody if they are to make the tournament.

Stony Brook is a very good defensive team, ranked 31st in the nation in defensive efficiency by KenPom. That is combined with a an offensive tempo that is among the slowest in the country. Some of the most effective “Giant Killers” are able to slow down the game, limiting opportunities for their opponents. Some things that could cause issues for Stony Brook is their struggles from the free throw line. They do most of their damage inside the three-point arc, but they shoot just 66 percent from the charity stripe. They shoot a very good percentage from three-point range, but they just don’t shoot many threes. That will make coming-from-behind a difficult task.

Despite all of that, this Stony Brook team is one to look out for come March. If they can get past Albany and make the tournament, they’re not a team you’d want to see matched up with your favorite team. Jameel Warney is a player that is capable of taking over a game, and every year we see at least one player step up and make a name for themselves in the Big Dance. This year, that could be Jameel Warney. When you’re filling out your bracket, watch out for Stony Brook.

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