Warren keeps his cool

By Gus Bode

When Josh Warren says all he cares about is winning, believe him. He doesn’t seem to like to talk about anything else.

Even though Warren just hit his second game-winning shot of the season Monday, a baseline jumper to beat Drake 58-57, it seems like he’d rather talk about the Bears or the weather than the sudden ice in his veins come crunch time.

And even though the Salukis would most likely be three games out of first if not for Warren’s late-game heroics, including a final-second three-point bank shot to beat Southwest Missouri State Jan. 15, he still downplays it all with his nonchalant attitude – and without even breaking a smile.


So, Josh, is this a great way to wind up your career as far as personal accomplishments?

“Yeah, I guess so, hitting game winners,” Warren said. “But the main goal is winning the MVC championship.”

Did you anticipate having this type of influence on the team’s fortunes heading into the season?

“I never anticipated that,” Warren said. “The only thing I anticipated is trying to come out here and win and get another MVC championship.”

It sounds clich to hear these types of responses from athletes. Indeed, it often seems they are trained to give these types of answers. But with Warren, who’s never had this much media attention in his collegiate career, you want to believe him.

Even when describing Monday night’s play, it was hard to find any hint of emotion in his face.

“Coach told me to go ball screen for Darren [Brooks] because we wanted our best player to have the ball at the end of the game,” Warren said. “So I went and ball screened to get him open, and Korver hedged on him and double-teamed. I just faded back to the open spot and just shot it.”


And just shot it?

Warren almost gives off the impression that he would rather have someone else make the game-winners, just so he didn’t have to talk about himself. As long as the results were the same, I have a feeling he’d be fine with it.

The only time he really seemed to open up during the interview was when giving the edge to his bank shot against SMS as the more gratifying game-winner.

“Probably the SMS one because it was at home; plus it was last second,” Warren said. “We still had to go down and play defense and stuff [against Drake]. The one against SMS was more like a real game-winner, I guess.”

While Warren may be hesitant to gloat about his accomplishments this season, at least a few of his current and former teammates aren’t.

Graduate assistant and former Saluki forward Brad Korn said he’s happy to see his teammate of four years finally start to be aggressive when the ball is in his hands.

“It’s about time he started shooting them,” Korn said. “I always give him a hard time because he doesn’t shoot open shots. I know it’s been an adjustment for him, playing a lot of minutes and starting this year.

“I’m just happy for him that he’s getting the opportunity to make something of it. It’s nice to see someone get rewarded for all of the hard work they’ve put in.”

Another longtime teammate, fellow senior Stetson Hairston, said he knew Warren was capable of hitting big shots. But when asked if he anticipated this type of game-winning fortune for the senior center, Hairston said, “No.”

“I just think he stepped up like he was supposed to,” Hairston said.

Now with just seven games remaining in his career, unless Warren scores 50 points to lead the Salukis to a national championship, his legacy is likely to involve the two game-winning shots he nailed to help keep the Salukis’ MVC championship hopes in their own hands.

“I have no idea what people will think of me,” Warren said. “Hopefully it’s good things. I’m sure people will talk about, ‘Remember when Josh Warren hit that shot?’ I’m sure they’ll talk about that.”

You can take that to the bank.