“You do this, then you go to the summer league, then hopefully you go to training camp then hopefully get a contract. So it’s all part of the D-League process.
“The fans are what the team is all about. Without the fans there is no team.
"I thought that was the biggest thing in developing players and the mission statement I thought of our organization was one that we met. That is developing players, being an integral part of the community and winning. I thought we were able to accomplish all three of those things. When you accomplish goals that you set out, it becomes a very satisfying thing.”
“I think it’s pretty cool, in either win or loss they come down to show us love. A lot of places you don’t get that. With shoes, a lot of the younger guys kind of know what I’m about off the court. Shoes are a big deal for me and I don’t mind giving them away, especially when a kid wants them and he likes what I do on the court. If he thinks he can play like me with my shoes, I think that’s pretty dope.”
“He’s easily the best big in the league,” Jackson says of his teammate. “He’s making my life easier. Setting good screens and I’m able to get in the paint and drop it off to him and he’s scoring with ease. You got guys double teaming him now, that’s a huge compliment.”
“My job is to be great in the post,” says Warney. “My teammates put me in great positions to succeed. The coaching staff has great plays for me to get the ball where I want to. At the end of the day, it’s all about me being aggressive and ultimately making shots.”
Like the handful of games on their own floor, this would be the team’s longest trip away from home all season, surpassing a five game roadie in December.
“During the game I don’t keep track of (blocks), I honestly don’t,” says the Gabon, Africa native. “Unless my teammates say something, I don’t track them. I just react to people going for layups and read defenses. I don’t really keep track of the count or anything like that.”
When I’m at home we get assistance from the interns (the do-it-all duo of Chris Blakeley/Dustin Berthold). Obviously they’re a huge help whether it’s getting some of the basic things down or grabbing supplies from time to time. Sometimes you’re one person filling multiple roles versus having a full-fledged staff at other levels.”
“We both like movies,” Andre points out. “When movies come out we like to go see them. That’s something we do a lot. Logan was pretty good!”
“Get Out was good, too!” J.J. chimes in.
Andre excitedly agrees. “I love movies, I love movies. We’ll probably go see King Kong (Kong: Skull Island) soon.”
“It was fun,” Dawkins says. “My teammates were finding me, kept feeding me and I was able to get open. Guys were setting good screens for me. It makes my job easy, I just have to catch and shoot it most of the time. I think we played a good game all-around. It’s fun to get out there and just play a real solid 48 minutes.”
“The team knew I had 18 rebounds and they wanted me to go back in,” Warney says through a smile almost as big as his performance. “I got the first rebound so easily, it’s always the hardest thing to get the last rebound. As you could see in the last two minutes I’m running all over the court to try to get the rebound.”
"One of the biggest things you can do is control what you can control."
“I think every basketball player should know what they’re really good at and make it perfect, and then focus on everything after."
“All the guys are really coming together, playing together and sticking as a unit so we can win and finish the season out well. We’ve had this group for a few weeks, things are really flowing now.”
“At this level this is probably my best stretch of basketball I’ve played. I’m trusting the process, practicing and it’s finally great to get over the rust I had from my injuries. This is my best basketball of the season so it’s a pretty nice feeling.”
“Nothing’s worse than getting in and not being ready.”
It’s good to be back. The 2017 NBA D-League All-Star Break has officially come and gone, and while the days off weren’t a sight for sore eyes, we’re here to play basketball. The Legends (16-18) came out guns blazing and defeated the D-League’s top team, the Los Angeles D-Fenders (27-9), 135-120. The Lakers’ affiliate entered the contest (and exited) with the best record in the league, but were no match for the Legends on Wednesday night.
Led by a monster night from Jameel Warney (30 points, 14 rebounds, 10/14 shooting, 10/15 from the free throw line) and a game-high 32 points from C.J. Williams, Texas set a new season-high in points with 135. You have to go all the way back to, well, their previous game for their now-second place total of 133. Williams made 12-of-17 shots and the sharpshooter netted 6-of-8 three-pointers.
Warney had a huge night following a momentous break. On Saturday he became the first basketball player in the history of Stony Brook University to have his number retired. Back to the grind, he looked better than ever.
The Legends’ starting center had an even seven and seven on the offensive and defensive boards. He had 11 points halfway through the first quarter and totaled 14 points and five rebounds after one.
Stephane Lasme’s third game with the Legends was definitely his biggest. He started and played 37 minutes, 24 higher than either previous two outings and rewarded Coach MacKinnon handsomely. Lasme picked up three first quarter blocks. He would finish the evening with a double-double of 11 points, 10 rebounds and swatted a robust six shots. Between he and Warney, there wasn’t a lot to gain at the basket for the D-Fenders.
Two more Legends –in fact, the two leading scorers in the league– Pierre Jackson (29.6 PPG) and Manny Harris (26.5) had 20 and 22 respectively to round out four players scoring 20 or more in the decisive victory.
Warney, Lasme, Jackson and Harris (third in the league with 2.3 a game) all picked up a pair of steals.
Jackson was playing in his first game since suffering a hamstring injury with the parent club Dallas Mavericks on January 26th. It was his first D-League game since January 14th. He also had 12 assists, his third double-digit passing total of the season.
“It felt good, man,” Jackson says after signing plenty of postgame autographs. “I hate sitting and watching the guys play without me. Obviously for someone that loves basketball it was kind of hard to sit out and watch. It was great to be back and we got the win.”
Jackson began the night in blue shoes and sported a headband, both of which had been subbed out for red shoes and no further accessories by the second quarter.
“Not really a story,” he looks down at his cherry red clad feet. “These felt better.”
“Manny, Jameel and I were joking around in practice. That was my first time wearing a headband ever. But I wasn’t playing to my potential. I’m superstitious though so I got it out of the way. Whole (new) swag,” laughs the 2017 D-League All-Star.
The Legends offense is notoriously high-powered. The team scores 115.4 points a game, third in the league. But with Jackson, the wheels turn even quicker. “I’m just letting the game come to me. We got a lot of great players on our team, I just try to get them the ball when I can. I just decided to get everybody involved, get everybody going.”
An unprecedented eight-game homestand starts off on the right foot for Texas. The two-plus consecutive weeks at home is something new to Jackson and his teammates.
“I don’t think anybody ever has (done this). It’s in our favor. We need a lot of games. People come out and support us. We’re the most comfortable at home so it helps.”
The Legends continue play on Friday at 7:30 PM CT against the Thunder-affiliated Oklahoma City Blue. Texas leads the four game season series two games to none.
“It means a lot,” Warney discusses the upcoming big day. “I put in a lot of hard work over my four years there. Anybody who knows me knows how much I hold Stony Brook dear to my heart. It’s a really great honor for me and my family to say that I did something well and people are gonna remember me by it. It’s gonna be a real special experience for me.”
"Obviously being here at the beginning of the year helps. But at the same time, playing for a guy like (Head Coach) Bob (MacKinnon), it’s real simple to come in and play."