“But I twist sometimes,” the Bulldog forward said. And sometimes is too many times for Ben Howland, who has his own idea of perfection. Which don’t involve his Mississippi State shooters twisting away a perfectly open look at the goal.
So, guess what Travis Daniels has been doing this summer? “I’ve been working at it the whole time,” he said. “I watch film and he was showing me, sometimes I would go left-and-right.” The thing is, Daniels had a notion he was torqueing his torso a bit after his high school, junior college and last winter senior college shots.
“But I was like, I’d make them!” Good enough was good enough then, until Howland took charge of Bulldog basketball in March. There is nothing about individual game styles this veteran coach does not break-down and will not build-up before putting his first team on the court in 2015-16.
Or put another way, Ben Howland will mess with success if it will produce even better results. Daniels is not at all offended, either, after having his shot re-aligned.
“It feels better,” said Daniels. “It feels a whole lot better. It feels different because I’m not used to doing it, but it feels a way lot better.”
Going into his senior Mississippi State season Daniels looks and feels physically better, too. He’s upped his weight from a junior-season 215 pounds to 222 as of this July week. “It’s good weight,” he said. Better, all this muscle has been added despite Daniels having hernia surgery in May. New strength coach David Deets is a little more cautious pushing Daniels so far and the focus for now is re-strengthening his core.
“It feels tight. But I’m good to go, I’m jumping. Everything is good.”
Howland isn’t working only with Daniels’ offense this summer. Defense is this coach’s priority as all understand. Given the issues Mississippi State had with lineups and rotations and matchups last winter it wasn’t easy judging just how good individual Dogs were as defenders anyway.
But even if they’d been all-league stoppers, Howland would be giving their games on that end of the floor the same attention. Daniels has his own check-list to meet as a wing forward type who will end up guarding all sorts of guards and forwards in this conference.
“I’m working on staying low, being active on the ball, making it hard for the offensive man to make passes that may be open.”
The July semester will run out soon, and while their football cousins hit the practice field the basketball Bulldogs will get something of a break before the school semester. But not a long break. There is too much still to do if Mississippi State basketball is to have a real turnaround in 2015-16.
Daniels believes it is going to happen. “I feel more ready. I feel we have a great coach that is going to lead us the right way to get a win this season. So I feel confident this year.”