SIU forwards Dearman and Warren sharpen their games overseas

By Gus Bode

Get a team composed of college all-stars. Then throw in professional teams from England’s Budweiser League.

Put them all together in London and you have part of Jermaine Dearman and Josh Warren’s summers.

The two forwards from the SIU men’s basketball team spent a couple of weeks overseas playing for former Indiana State and current Portland Trailblazers scout Tates Locke on a team consisting of players from colleges such as Georgia Tech, Rutgers, Mississippi State and Villanova.


Besides being able to learn NBA workouts and techniques from Locke, Dearman said he also gained an appreciation for the coaching staff here at SIU.

“That dude was tough man, he was pretty hard-nosed,” Dearman said of Locke. “He’s kind of similar to Bobby Knight. He gets fired up pretty easily. I guess you’ve got to be able to play for different coaches and as a player you have to be able to adjust so that’s something I gained from it.”

Dearman and Warren join teammate Kent Williams as Salukis who got the chance to play against professional teams overseas during the summer. Williams played in Poland for Athletes in Action in June.

Williams said it’s a good gauge of where you are as a player to go up against professional players.

“You come in here and play against each other day in, day out and it gets kind of old guarding the same guy everyday,” Williams said.

“It’s good to play against professionals over there that are pretty good and they’re all in game shape and it pushes you throughout the summer and it tests you to see where you stand as well.”

It was the first time both Dearman and Warren have gone overseas to play. Dearman said he enjoyed the chance to get to learn other cultures even though some things, such as driving on the left side of the road, took some getting used to.


“I got a chance to do a lot of sightseeing,” Dearman said. “I got to see Buckingham Palace and the embassies, seeing where the Queen stays at. I got a chance to see the South African Embassy and different stuff like that so it was pretty fun.”

This isn’t the first time the Salukis have sent their players overseas to play summer ball.

Last year, Rolan Roberts and Darren Brooks played in Australia while Brad Korn played in a league in China.

SIU head coach Bruce Weber said he tries to send as many of his players as he can to play in summer leagues.

The main reason for this is because of a discovery he made.

“When you watch Duke and the great programs, their kids are playing in summer basketball,” Weber said. “It’s kind of like a revelation. ‘Hey they’re good. Their kids play all summer, they’re getting extra basketball and they’re playing greater competition. It’s got to help you.”

Ordinarily, Weber tries to send players who redshirted the season before so that they can get back into playing shape.

This year’s redshirt was Warren.

Warren played sparingly his freshman season and sat out last season. He, along with fellow red-shirted big man Stefan Jabkiewicz and juniors Sylvester Willis and Korn, will be the players counted on to fill the void left by the graduation of Roberts.

Roberts was named to the All-Missouri Valley Conference first team and garnered Newcomer of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors.

“[Warren] needed to play some games just to feel good about himself, to get mixed up in the action, get your feet wet, whatever you want to call it,” Weber said.

Warren said he needed the chance to play again and even though the all-star team beat up on most of the competition, he still is glad he got to get out on the court again.

“I’m just happy to get games in, working, running and stuff so that was the good thing for me, to get out there and play games,” Warren said.

Weber said Locke was impressed with Warren’s play, but told him the same thing SIU coaches have been saying the past two seasons. He needs to shape up.

“Josh, he said he didn’t back down, he was very physical,” Weber said. “But Tates Locke just said that he needs to get into shape. He shows little spurts of being a pretty good player. He’s got good skills, but then he doesn’t get down the court, he’s out of position, gets fouls or whatever.”

With Dearman and Williams earlier on, Weber said he sent them because he felt they had earned the chance.

He also wanted them to get their names out in Europe in case they end up trying to play professionally overseas.

“Obviously they all, the NBA’s their goal and dream, but it’s hard,” Weber said. “So maybe some of the experiences like this might help them have some opportunities down the road.”

The closer benefit though is helping the players prepare for the upcoming season and what is sure to be a tough run through the MVC, since the bull’s eye is sure to be on SIU’s back.

Williams said one of the best things about playing in the overseas leagues is that it is a chance to play against teams that are strong and ready to play.

“You come in here and it’s basically up and down street ball all the time,” Williams said, “and then you go play over there and it’s the same thing as Creighton.

“Guys are real precise about what they do. It really makes you think when you’re moving.”

Reporter Jens Deju can be reached at [email protected]