Jamil Warney (199 cm, C) recorded his first triple-double since joining the KBL.
Seoul SK defeated Anyang Jungkwanjang 83-71 on Sunday in a regular-season game of the 2023-2024 Korean Basketball League at Jamsil Student Gymnasium.
With the win, the second-place SK extended its winning streak to 11 games this season and improved to 21-8 on the season, 2.5 games behind first-place Wonju DB.
The game was a back-and-forth affair, with SK struggling against Jeong Kwan-jang early in the game before pulling away after the second quarter.
At one point in the middle of the third quarter, SK seemed to have a comfortable lead, 56-37, but back-to-back outside shots from Jung Kwan-jang allowed them to catch up. At the start of the fourth quarter, SK was in trouble when Chung pulled within 66-61.
However, SK had Warney. Warney dominated the post in the fourth quarter, both individually and through team play. With 8:53 left in the fourth quarter, Warney took a pass from Song Chang-yong (192 cm, F) in transition and sent the fans into a frenzy with a cool slam dunk.
With 5:19 left in the fourth quarter, Warney took a pass from Yang Woo-seop (185 cm, G) and drove to the basket for another dunk. Warney’s three dunks in the fourth quarter alone lifted the team’s spirits.
In addition to scoring, Warney also made plays on defense and to help his teammates. Warney used a high hitter to make two blocked shots against KU’s Robert Carter Jr. (206 cm, F) at the 6:18 and 6:13 marks of the fourth quarter to keep KU in the game.
Warney took advantage of the defense closing in on him to create shooting opportunities for his teammates, most notably with two assists to Yang Woo-seob and Oh Se-geun (200 cm, C) with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter to record his first career triple-double.
Warney, who recorded his fifth triple-double of the season, finished with 28 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in 33 minutes and 48 seconds of action. Previously, Warney narrowly missed a triple-double on Dec. 25 of last year with 28 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Seoul Samsung Electronics.
Warney, who is in his fifth year in the KBL, pleased SK head coach Jeon Hee-chul with his steady performance despite the opposition.
Warney said in a postgame interview, “(The triple-double) is an honor. It’s good for the team to win. Kim Sun-hyung is missing two games, and I was able to make some easy shots, so it was a good game for us, and we’re on a winning streak,” he said of the triple-double.
Warney continued, “If you look at recent years, we had Choi Jun-yong and I was the finisher. When Oh came on, we had a lot of space, so I was also a passer. I paid a lot of attention. It’s a good record, but it’s something he’s finding as his role in the team changes. I’m not a scorer, but I enjoy playing basketball with other players,” he said, emphasizing that he’s finding his groove with his teammates.
Now an integral part of SK’s core, Warney has been leading the team in several metrics this season. He is averaging 26 points this season, which is higher than his average last season (24,2), and he is also averaging 11.6 rebounds per game, which is higher than his average last season (11.2).
With Warney leading the league in scoring comes a question mark on the physical side. Warney is averaging 34:32 minutes this season, second only to Goyang Sono’s Lee Jung-hyun (36:12).
Coach Jeon Hee-chul said about Warney’s stamina, “He can play enough. He’s a big guy, so you’d think he’d have trouble, but he’s strong enough to play for 30 minutes. He is good at saving his energy. He knows when to use his energy and when not to use it. He knows how to save his energy in clutch situations. I get upset when he doesn’t play because I’m worried about his season. “I know it’s hard when you’re older and have more weight, but I’ve seen him for five years. It’s enough for now,” he said, praising Warney’s fitness regimen for long-term racing.
Warney led SK to an 11-game winning streak through self-management and smart play. As one of the KBL’s longest-serving foreign players, it will be interesting to see if Warney can continue to lead the way in SK’s title challenge.