A long strange trip for Daniels

DeAndre Daniels committed to the UConn Huskies ending what can only be described as one of the most interesting recruitments in a long time.

This is the understatement of the century, but absolutely nothing was normal about the recruitment of DeAndre Daniels. It lasted five years, took place on two different sides of the country, and had more timelines than one can count. Maybe fittingly, at the end of the day a school that Daniels never even considered for much of the process landed his commitment.

This all started off fairly normal. Daniels committed to the University of Texas on July 2, 2009. At the time he had just finished his junior year at Woodland Hills (CA) Taft High School, and Daniels chose the Longhorns over UNLV, Kentucky, Memphis, and Washington.

It all seemed normal, and then in the spring and summer of 2010 the rumors began to circulate that Daniels was going to open up his recruitment. All summer long Daniels, and the people around him, indicated that the rumors of a de-commitment were false. Then on August 16, 2010 Daniels made the decision to open things up, and he moved away from Texas.

While a player de-committing isn't exactly odd, things just got downright goofy for Daniels once things got opened up.

First Daniels transferred from Taft to Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy. The move was made because Daniels couldn't participate in interscholastic sports in the state of California as a fifth year student, and also the move to IMG was seen as one that would help him refine his talent and capitalize on his natural gifts.

In this day and age a de-commitment and a transfer aren't all that odd either, in fact it seems semi normal, but that wouldn't be the end for Daniels.

A few days following his de-commitment, Daniels was rumored to be a 2010 recruit again. His high school coach said he was already an academic qualifier, and with very few talents left on the board coaches came flocking to Taft High School to check him out. In fact it was rumored that Kentucky was going to be the landing spot for Daniels.

In the end though, either Daniels wasn't qualified or simply didn't want to be in 2010 because he reiterated that he was a class of 2011 recruit, and that once again changed things with the recruitment.

Upon moving to IMG, Daniels was playing well to start off the season, and then he began making visits. During those visits word began circulating that Daniels was going to enroll early at the end of first semester. Initially it seemed logical that he would do what Bill Walker did at Kansas State a few years earlier and begin playing right around the Christmas break, but oddly enough Daniels was talking about redshirting and just practicing.

That was odd because Daniels always seemed to make it clear that he intended to go to the NBA in short order, and redshirting meant he would be giving himself the option of sticking around longer in school.

Well once again that didn't happen. Daniels made some visits, entertained offers, and then decided he wasn't ready to go to school so he decided that he would wait until the spring to sign, and would simply enroll with the rest of the 2011 class.

As if that wasn't weird enough, Daniels was then linked with Christian Garrett. Garrett is a friend of his and AAU teammate. People were so convinced that Garrett and Daniels were a package deal that NC State hosted both of them on visits, and ultimately the Kansas Jayhawks issued a press release announcing Garrett as a walk-on with the program. Walk-ons usually don't get their own press release, but then again with this situation it seemed logical.

While Garrett might have felt he was a package deal with Daniels, Daniels didn't quite get that memo. He made it clear to some people following Garrett's commitment that his teammate and friend had very little to no impact on his decision.

So then it went from seeming that Kansas was the leader to another drastic change. The Duke Blue Devils got seriously involved with Daniels. For a few weeks people were absolutely convinced that Daniels was going to end up in Durham, but once again nothing was as it seemed. Daniels didn't commit on the spot, Alex Murphy moved from 2012 to 2011, and just like that the Blue Devils, either by their choice or Daniels' choice (stories vary), were no longer an option.

With the elimination of Duke, that seemed to leave Texas and Kansas once again as the schools battling it out for his commitment. Seeing those two schools standing above the rest, the plan for a short time seemed to be to announce on May 18, the final day of the late signing period.

Well as usual in this recruitment, the late signing period came, and it went, and Daniels didn't sign. Then statements were made and the rumors were out there that Daniels would decide the day after the early signing period, but once again those proved to be false.

As the calendar turned from May to June it seemed that Daniels was as likely to play his basketball on the moon next year as he was to issue a commitment. Behind the scenes his family was reaching out to numerous schools letting people know that Daniels was interested.

In the end it turned out that Connecticut reciprocated the interest to a level that Daniels found acceptable. Seemingly out of the play on June 7, 23 months after his initial commitment, Daniels committed to UConn. Not much was even talked about regarding UConn over the course of the recruitment, but in this situation that somehow seems logical and normal.

Of course Daniels can't sign a letter of intent, so nothing is binding him to the school until he actually enrolls, and as has been evident over the past five years, Daniels has been known to change his mind. With that in mind all that can be said is stay tuned.

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