By Maddie Mulkigian, Assistant Sports Editor
Manhattan College basketball alumni Courtney Warley has signed with Eurocup Women’s Sport Lisboa Benfica in Lisbon, Portugal. The five-time All-MAAC star picked up her life and moved overseas to follow the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play professional basketball.
Playing professionally was not something that was on Warley’s radar entering her collegiate career, but it became a very real possibility as she entered her fifth year as a Jasper.
“It was last summer when I decided I wanted to pursue going overseas to play,” said Warley. “I think like for many people, Covid put a lot into perspective for me about myself and my goals. When the basketball season was cut short that year I realized that I want to keep playing.”
At Manhattan, Warley leads the program in offensive rebounds and is tenth in career points. She also played in and started the most games and had the most minutes in program history. As a Jasper, Warley’s impact on the court made her name one to fear in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and provided her with the ammo to push her basketball career to a professional level.
Warley is not the only former Jasper to enter this league. Lady J’s assistant coach Callan Stores also played for Sport Lisboa Benfica in the Eurocup Women’s league. As a member of the team in the 2015-2016 season, Stores unanimously earned the Eurocup Women league MVP. Stores was an essential part of Warley’s recruiting process as she was the international recruiting coordinator for the team.
Warley’s former coach and current head coach of the Manhattan College women’s basketball team, Heather Vulin, understands that Sport Lisboa Benfica head coach Eugenio Rodrigues is getting a special opportunity to coach Warley.
“She is just a once-in-a-lifetime player,” said Vulin. “She was a very accomplished student-athlete. She’s not just a great basketball player, she’s a great human being and she really fit the Manhattan College community really well.”
Not only was Warley a foundational member of Vulin’s first recruiting class, but she was an inspiration to her younger teammates.
“She set a great example of how you should be as a student-athlete,” said former teammate Christina Katsamouri. “She was never settling for anything less than being the best that she could be. When I was a freshman and she was a junior, I really looked up to her. She kept everybody in line.”
Warley not only made an impact on the court, but she excelled in every aspect that Manhattan College offered. Warley was Manhattan’s NCAA Woman of the Year nominee as well as a finalist for the Senior Class Award.
Warley proved that she was a foundational and impactful player and leader on the Jaspers and the Eurocup Women’s league will provide her with another opportunity to make her mark with another team.
“She will go down as one of my all-time favorite human beings and players,” said Vulin. “She just was consistently someone I could count on to give me her best effort. She’s really a foundational player in terms of someone who really helped elevate the program to where we are today. What she has done will last.”
Warley’s new life in Portugal will allow her to experience a new way of basketball and life. Without the stress of maintaining her nearly perfect GPA, Warley can fully focus on her game and the new culture around her.
“What I’m looking forward to most in this new chapter are all the different people and places I’ll get to experience while playing,” said Warley. “My new team is so amazing and I’m super excited to get to work with them.”
While the Jaspers will be missing her on the court this season, Warley is already making an impact on her new team. She is currently listed as the starting power forward, so her effect on the overseas professional world will soon be determined in their upcoming season.
No matter what impact Warley has in her professional career overseas, she will forever be remembered for her leadership on and off the court, her record-breaking statistics, and her loyalty to the Manhattan College community.
Jasper fans can watch Warley kick off her professional career on Oct. 2 against Eurocup Women’s opponent Natacao.