Jasper Alum Courtney Warley Shoots for her Goals in Portugal

By Carter Silane, Contributer

Courtney Warley, a key player to the Manhattan College women’s basketball team, finished her final season in 2021-2022. Warley ended her career with over 1,000 points and rebounds as well as being ranked as fourth in the history of the Manhattan College women’s basketball program.

“As coaches, we dream about players like Courtney Warley,” said Alexandra Bassetti, former assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Manhattan College Women’s basketball team. “She was extremely coachable. […] She was an incredible ambassador for our program and college.”

During her last season playing at MC, Warley turned to her coaches for guidance in continuing her career in professional basketball. 

“Originally when I first got to Manhattan, I didn’t want to play professionally after,” said Warley. “My last couple years there, they were just so enjoyable on and off the court, I kind of realized I re-fell in love with the game again and I kind of realized I don’t want to give it up right now.”

  Since Warley left Manhattan College, she has taken her basketball skills to Lisbon, Portugal where she is now continuing her professional career playing as the center for S.L. Benfica.

“I didn’t really know what to expect coming into this, I was definitely a little nervous,” said Warley. “But I walked onto a very established team already, which helped.”

Callan Stores, assistant coach of the Manhattan College women’s basketball team, played a key role in helping Warley pursue her passion in basketball outside of college, as Stores also played professionally for S.L. Benfica. 

“When I told the coaches that I wanted to play next year, she loved her experience here on and off the court, so she was like let me see if I can talk to this team for you,” Warley said. “She was the link between me and here.”

“I was very supportive in her efforts to play overseas,” Bassetti said. “But Coach Callan and Coach Vulin were instrumental in connecting her with teams, players and agents.”

Playing for a new team for the first time in five years, all the way across the world has been a bit of an adjustment for Warley. However, being able to connect with friends and family from home has made it an easier transition for her. 

“My family and the team still at Manhattan, I am texting at least one of them every single day,” Warley said. “So back home has helped a lot.” 

  The language barrier does not seem to be having an effect on Warley as her coach and teammates speak English well. However, the pace of basketball has been a shock for her compared to what she is used to at home and at Manhattan College. 

“The European basketball style of play is really different than the U.S. style of play, just in general,” Warley said. “A different type of basketball, a different style, so that was a little challenging to get used to … but it’s been good.”

That being said, Warley has been very keen on the time that she has spent in Portugal with her new team. 

“Team-wise, we are doing very well,” Warley said. “The girls are amazing and the coach is a great coach as well. Collectively we are doing very well. We just passed our phase in the Euro Cup to move onto the next phase, which is nice.” 

Playing for S.L. Benfica is only the first step in Warley’s professional career. This Jasper alum has a hopeful professional basketball career in store for her whether she continues to play overseas or eventually return to the U.S.

“I definitely want to continue playing basketball for the next couple years,” Warley said.  “I don’t think I want to come back to the U.S., as much as I do love basketball I also love what it brings me and right now it is bringing me seeing the world, seeing different cultures and seeing different people and I really like that aspect of what I am doing right now.”