ROSELLE — Jameel Warney, who’s scored more points than any other boy’s basketball player who has worn a Roselle Catholic uniform, is extremely upbeat and optimistic about his upcoming senior season in The Lions’ Den.
“I believe this could be one of the best RC teams and something special could happen this season,” said Warney, who averaged 18.2 points, 17 rebounds and four blocked shots (and surpassed the 1,000-point plateau) per game last winter.
A 6-foot-6 force in the paint at both ends of the court, Warney took some time last week to finalize his post-Roselle Catholic playing days.
Warney will continue his basketball career and academic career at Stony Brook University, a member of the America East Conference located on the north shore of Long Island in southeastern New York.
Following up on a verbal commitment he gave in August, Warney made his Division I college plans official when he signed a National Letter of Intent on Nov. 9 in the Roselle Catholic library.
“I picked Stony Brook because I felt like it was the best decision I could make,” said Warney, who plans to major in sports management. “The campus, the players and the coaching staff made me decide that this was the best place for me to continue not only my basketball career, but to further my education.
“The best thing I would say about Stony Brook is that with the academic plan they have – and if I work hard – there is a great chance I will succeed there.”
Warney, a Plainfield resident, selected the Stony Brook Seawolves over scholarship offers from Rider, Iowa and Manhattan.
“I think Jameel stuck to his original plan throughout the recruiting process and chose the school where he felt most comfortable,” said Roselle Catholic coach Dave Boff. “He didn’t get caught up in all the offers from the major schools. He chose the school that best fit him, not the school that others thought fit him, and I think he made a great choice.
“I think Jameel will go to Stony Brook and have a tremendous impact right away.”
Also, on Nov. 9, Roselle Catholic senior Wesley Cherry inked a National Letter of Intent to continue his academic and athletic career at East Stroudsburg University.
Cherry and Warney are two of five starters returning from last year’s Roselle Catholic team (22-8) that put together a 15-game winning streak, won the Union County Conference’s Mountain Division championship and reached the semifinals of both the Union County Tournament and Parochial A North State Tournament.
Roselle Catholic jumps from the Mountain Division to the Watchung Division, which includes powerhouses Plainfield, Linden and St. Patrick. The Lions’ non-conference schedule includes St. Anthony, Hudson Catholic and St. Benedict’s.
Warney, who finished second on the team in assists, scored 20 points or more with 20 or more rebounds in the same game seven times last season.
“When Jameeel came to RC he was one of the top defensive big men and one of the best rebounders in Union County,” Boff said. “He has worked hard and has become of the best offensive players. The fact that he has finished second on our team in assists from the center position two years in a row shows how well-rounded his game has become.”
Cherry is quite comfortable with his college decision.
“I chose East Stroudsburg because I really felt comfortable on the campus and with the basketball program,” said Cherry, a Linden resident who plans to pursue biology. “East Stroudsburg’s style of play fits my abilities better than the other schools I was looking at and considering.”
Cherry picked East Stroudsburg, a member of the Division II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, over Lemoyne, William Paterson, Caldwell and Rutgers-Newark.
“Wesley Cherry is going to have a great career at East Stroudsburg,” said Roselle Catholic coach Dave Boff. “Wes was their top priority in this recruiting class and I’m happy for Wes and ESU that it worked out. He could’ve waited since there was some (Division I) attention, but chose the school that was recruiting him the longest and made him a top priority.
“We believe these two signings are the first of many for kids in the RC program over the next few years,” Boff said. “We hope the recognition these two student-athletes have received helps continue to bring college coaches into our gym and helps our other student-athletes achieve their goal of earning a scholarship.”
“We have been working hard all summer and fall and the hard work will pay off,” Cherry said. “We’re in a stronger division, but I still think we can do well in our league just like every year I’ve played. I think we have a chance to surprise many in Union County this season.”
Cherry, according to his coach, continues to add to his basketball repertoire.
“Most nights Wesley is the best athletic on the court,” Boff said. “He can run and jump with anyone, but as his career has gone on, he’s added a mid-range game and turned himself into a much-better ball handler. I also believe he is one of the best defenders in Union County.”
Cherry follows in the successful RC student-athlete footsteps of his siblings.
Tiana Cherry, a champion high jumper, was a starting co-captain on the Roselle Catholic girls’ basketball team that won the 2003 Union County Tournament. David Cherry starred for the Lions before enjoying a successful career in the New Jersey Athletic Conference with Rutgers-Newark.
Boff said, “We are truly proud of all of our players and to have two players signing letters of intent early this year is very special to us.
“Jameel and Wesley came to RC to get a great education, help put RC back on the basketball map in New Jersey and earn scholarships. They have their senior seasons still to play, but so far they have accomplished what they came to Roselle Catholic to do.”
The RC coach believes more Lions will announce college plans before the 2011-12 season is over.
“Both (seniors) Nikko Velez and Chris Gross have received a ton of attention from D2 and D3 schools and both will be selecting the school that is right for them in the near future,” Boff said. “Both will be playing in college next year. It’s just a question of where.”
Roselle Catholic assistant coach John Giraldo (standing, left) and head coach Dave Boff (standing, right) look on as David and Shelley Cherry watch their son Wesley Cherry sign a national letter of intent to continue his academic and athletic career at East Stroudsburg University. (Photo courtesy of Roselle Catholic)
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