Chris Daniels is a Rock

ATHENS - Three of Georgia's four senior Basketball players have had to change their roles significantly this season.

Forwards Jonas Hayes and Damien Wilkins have gone from the bench to the starting lineup, and point guard Rashad Wright has gone from passer to scorer.

Meanwhile, Chris Daniels is doing exactly the same thing he was a year ago - everything.

The senior forward leads Georgia in rebounding and blocked shots, is second in steals and field goal percentage and fourth in scoring and assists. Daniels and the rest of the Bulldogs return from the holiday break to the practice floor today. They play at No. 16 Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

"(Daniels) is extremely valuable," Coach Dennis Felton said. "When you look at the statistics, he impacts every column on the box consistently. He just plays, and I really enjoy that about him."

Daniels is coming off his sixth double-double of the season and third in a row in a 79-59 win over Charleston Southern on Monday. He had nine double-doubles in his first three seasons in Athens, but this year's early output doesn't surprise him, he said.

"I pretty much know the game," he said, "and I put in the work in the offseason."

The 6-foot-7, Albany native is averaging a double-double (double digits in two categories), with 10.9 rebounds and 10.3 points per game. The last Bulldog to manage a double-digit rebounding average for a season was Alec Kessler in 1989-90.

"He's a tremendous rebounder," Felton said. "He's strong. He's physical and mean, and he's got great hands. If he gets a hand on it, he'll get it."

Daniels is one of the country's top five offensive rebounders, Felton said, which is a blessing for the scoring-challenged Bulldogs.

"When we get second chances, it is very helpful," Felton said.

Daniels is 12th on Georgia's all-time rebounding list with 618 and is on pace to finish in the top five. He hasn't led the Bulldogs in scoring yet this season, but he's led them in rebounding in all but two games.

Daniels is aware that the consistency of his game, and his solid but rarely spectacular scoring numbers, cost him some public attention. He has yet to be named All-SEC despite his value to the Bulldogs the last two years.

"As long as we win, that's all that matter," he said. "Eventually you'll get seen if your team keeps winning."

As the schedule gets tougher for the Bulldogs, SEC play opens in a week, Daniels may have to be satisfied with the gratitude of his coach and teammates.

"He doesn't get overlooked by us," Wilkins said. "Anybody who understands basketball, knows what he means to us. He does what we need to do to win games. Without him, the outcome of the game would be totally different."

Player Pts. Rebs. FG% Blocks Steals Assists
Chris Daniels 10.3 10.9 51% 1.6 1.7 2.1

Chris Daniels
Senior forward
6-7, 220
Major: Consumer economics
High School: Monroe Comprehensive
High School honors: Named to North-South all-star game as a senior after averaging 23.2 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.2 blocks
College honors: Led Georgia is rebounds, blocked shots, steals and free throws as sophomore ... sixth in SEC in rebounding and fifth in blocked shots as junior

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