Bryan Dougher knew this day would come.
Now the director of basketball operations for Stony Brook, but he knew the day when his 1,609 points – the school’s Division I scoring record he set after finishing his career and graduating in 2012 – would be in danger sooner rather than later.
Senior Jameel Warney enters the season at 1,477 points, 132 shy of tying Dougher for the scoring record at the school that enters its 17th season in Division I.
“His numbers, at the end of this thing, could be as unbelievable as anybody’s numbers,” Seawolves head coach Steve Pikiell said of Warney.
Dougher admits that his 1,609 points did not seem “insurmountable” at the time, but he is content to know that there’s a good chance it will be beaten by Warney.
“I’m glad he’s going to beat it because it just means our program is taking that next step,” Dougher said. “If it was going to stay for 10 years, then maybe our program isn’t recruiting the type of players we need to, but the fact he’s going to break and he’s going to break it by a large number. Actually Carson [Puriefoy’s] got a chance to break it too, which is a good thing for our program, it means we’re recruiting the right type of talent.”
Warney, who also sits 197 rebounds shy of the school’s all-time rebounding record set by Tommy Brenton, said it would feel good to have the all-time records, but he is focused on pursuing an NCAA tournament bid.
“It would be great to be number one somewhere, so it would be a pretty great feeling to be the all-time leading rebounder and all-time scoring points, but it doesn’t really mean nothing if you don’t have a championship to go with it,” Warney said.
Warney is on pace to pass Dougher’s scoring record during the middle of non-conference play and will likely have a chance to top Emeka Smith’s school scoring record of 1,978 points later in the season. But passing the school’s Division I record will hold particular significance, as Dougher mans the bench for the Seawolves as their director of basketball operations, he will watch from the sideline as the 6’8″ senior passes his scoring mark.
“I won’t have any bitter feelings towards it at all,” Dougher said. “I’m happy for him, I’m happy – if Tre ends up getting it – I’m happy for him too. I always think New Jersey has the best basketball in the country, especially that north Jersey area, and we’ve proven it with the talent we’ve put out and they’re just two more examples of that.”
Dougher’s connection to Warney spans as far back as their time at the same AAU program, the Jersey Hot Shots, and Dougher said he remembered meeting Warney for the first time as a fifth grader.
“I knew his AAU coach since I was in second grade, his house is five minutes from where I grew up, so I kind of knew him for a long time,” Dougher said. “I’ve known him since he was a terrible player in 5th grade. He was funny, he was bigger than everybody else, but his skill set need some developing and he did obviously because he’s so talented right now.”
Dougher began to notice Warney develop in high school as he started to become a noticed prospect before he committed to Stony Brook and saw him on his visit to the school, which happened during their senior year. Dougher’s teams helped raise the program to new heights under Pikiell, having the first winning season in his tenure.
Relinquishing his record to Warney will be a special moment for the Stony Brook program, but also for how strong the program has built a connection between their New Jersey pipeline.
“I think it makes it more significant to the area we’re from and our AAU program, which wasn’t a sneaker program,” Dougher said. “It wasn’t a team that was sponsored by Nike, went to all these tournaments, we went to where we could go. We played as well as we could, we didn’t recruit from all over the east coast, all of our guys were from that area and I think it means a lot for that as far as significance goes.”
Puriefoy sits at 1,069 points and will also have a chance to pass Dougher, so by the time this season is complete he may sit third on the all-time Division I scoring list. Whoever reaches past his scoring mark, one thing is certain, he will have a front seat to the action and hopes to see plenty Seawolves surpass records this season.
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2015-16 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference among others for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.