If what he's shown so far this season is any indication of what to expect down the road, DeAndre Daniels is going to help make surer that there is plenty of talent in the Texas basketball program. A smooth and versatile 6-foot-8 forward from Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft, Daniels is emerging as a potentially elite prospect in the class of 2011.
During December, Daniels left a big impression while we watched and we break down his game in this scouting report.
Background: After shuttling back and forth between Los Angeles and Nashville early in his high school career, not a lot of scouts had a good feel for Daniels. People who had seen him lauded him for his skill level on the offensive end, but nobody really seemed able to offer a solid evaluation. After showing much promise during the spring of 2009, he gave an early commitment to Rick Barnes and as it turns out, the Longhorns have yet another potential impact guy on their hands.
Strengths: At it's most basic form, the object of basketball is to put the ball in the basket as often as possible and do it more than your opponent. This is something that Daniels seems to have a clear grasp of as the slender 6-foot-8 forward is quite adept at putting the ball in the hole at a regular clip.
Capable of putting the ball on the floor and attacking defenders, Daniels is a guy who much prefers to face-up to the basket. He uses a quick first step to blast by opposing big men and he's athletic enough to adjust and finish in traffic. More impressive, though, is his shooting touch. He can drill jumpers to the three point line, loves to connect on pull-ups between 12 and 17 feet and he seems to be comfortable using the glass from either side of the hoop.
A greyhound in transition, he's built for speed and can really move in space. He's got a quickness advantage over most guys his size and he uses sure hands to secure rebounds in traffic.
Weaknesses: Because of his slender build and face-up oriented game, Daniels back to the basket game is a bit lacking. He can be pushed out of position pretty easily and he also goes through stretches where he settles for deep jumpers to easily.
On the defensive end, opponents can power their way right through him and he's not as big a shot blocking presence as he could be given his size and length. While he's a good rebounder, Daniels could take his rebounding to another level by utilizing his quickness to chase down rebounds out of his area.
College Projection: Daniels is exactly the type of hybrid four man that has been experiencing a ton of success on the college level. He's got the skills and game of a three man on the offensive end, but with his size, quickness and scoring ability he presents a major mismatch opportunity at the power forward. He'll be a guy that is very comfortable playing in transition and his shooting ability -- and underrated passing -- will make him a major threat in pick and roll situations. He will have to become more physical before arriving in Austin, but he's got plenty of time to pack on pounds and the Longhorns staff will undoubtedly toughen him up. A guy who figures to contend for McDonald's All-American honors before it's all over with, he should be ready to provide scoring punch from the second he arrives on campus.