Old Westbury gets a spark

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Jamail Stanley has come into the Skyline Conference and has lit it up.
Photo by Chris Bergmann Photography for Old Westbury athletics

It took only one dunk for A.J. Wynder to see that Jamail Stanley was a special player.

Wynder, Nassau Community College’s head coach, had recruited Stanley, but because he had learned about Stanley after he graduated from high school, he did not see him play basketball until he started classes at Nassau.

One day in the spring semester of 2012, Stanley visited Wynder at Nassau’s gym. A volunteer assistant was also present, and he wanted to see how high Stanley could jump without wearing his sneakers.

“And Jamail was able to just stand right underneath the basket and dunk it with no sneakers on,” Wynder said.

Wynder thought one thing at the time, he said: “If nothing else, I’m getting a very athletic student-athlete.”

Wynder got a lot more. Stanley averaged 19.4 points and 11 rebounds per game in the 2012-13 season and 18.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game the following year. In the 2013-14 season, Nassau won the Region XV Division III championship and finished in fourth place in the NJCAA Division III National Tournament. Its record was 29-6.

Now, Stanley is making an impact at the NCAA Division III level. He is a junior shooting guard for Old Westbury (12-6, 11-2 Skyline), the Skyline Conference’s first-place team. Stanley is the league’s leading scorer with 21.1 points per game. He put up 30 points against Mount St. Mary on Jan. 9 and followed that performance with 31 points against St. Joseph’s (Bklyn.) on Jan. 12.

Stanley is also averaging 9.3 rebounds per contest. He has eight double-doubles this year, including one in each of Old Westbury’s past four games.

“He’s been a great scorer for us, and he scored a lot at Nassau as well, but we were always impressed with the rebounding,” Old Westbury head coach Bernard Tomlin said. “He did a hell of a job there on the boards, and he’s also continuing to do that at this level as well.”

Part of why Stanley scores so much is that he gets offensive rebounds.

“I love to get second and third chances to score,” he said.

Stanley is 16th in the nation in offensive boards per game with 4.33. He had nine offensive rebounds against St. Joseph’s (Long Island) on Nov. 24 and had seven in three different games.

“That’s attitude,” Tomlin said. “It just starts with this feeling that the game doesn’t end when the shot’s taken, and he has a real positive attitude and he enjoys making that extra effort.”

“I don’t think that’s something that you teach,” Wynder said. “Jamail just has that knack to go get it.”

Stanley does a bit of everything. In Old Westbury’s win over Sarah Lawrence on Jan. 30, for example, he had 21 points, 11 rebounds, six steals, three assists, and one block. In an overtime win against Farmingdale State on Jan. 26, he had 23 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks.

Senior forward P.J. Page, one of Old Westbury’s captains, admires how Stanley dictates the tempo in games.

“He’ll never let anyone speed him up,” Page said. “He’s always playing at his pace.”

So if Stanley wants to score, he grabs an offensive rebound and makes it happen.

“I didn’t really have to call a lot of plays for him,” Wynder said. “He could create for himself.”

Sarah Sommer

Sarah Sommer is a freelance journalist in New York City. She began writing for D3hoops.com in March 2015, when she covered the women's NCAA Tournament. She is excited to continue covering Division III basketball as the Atlantic columnist.
2011-2015 columns: See Around the Atlantic/Mid-Atlantic