It’s been a long journey for class of 2011 small forward DeAndre Daniels. First, he committed to Texas in 2009, then he de-committed from the Longhorns in 2010. Then he set up multiple decision dates that he never followed through on in the past few weeks. But today, it’s all over as he decided to commit to the Connecticut Huskies over Duke, Florida, Kansas and Texas.
Daniels joins point guard Ryan Boatright as the Huskies’ only two recruits in the class of 2011 and fills head coach Jim Calhoun‘s last scholarship available. Connecticut jumped into Daniels’ recruitment late and has only been pursuing him for the past few weeks. After de-committing from Texas in 2010, Kansas was long considered his favorite before Duke jumped in the picture and he took a visit down to Durham. However, his interest in Duke seemed to die down as Kansas and Texas were his two favorite schools as the spring signing period was ending.
Daniels was set to announce his decision multiple times but never did even as the signing period expired. This means that Daniels cannot sign a binding agreement with the Huskies but instead just a financial aid agreement that binds Connecticut to him but not him to Connecticut.
Daniels looks to be a great fit for the Huskies as they lost their main scoring threat in Kemba Walker but he seemed to be a last-ditch effort by Calhoun to fill the last remaining scholarship. Connecticut tried to get class of 2012 star big men Andre Drummond (#1) and Mitch McGary to re-classify but were unsuccessful in doing so, which brought them to Daniels. Connecticut first reached out to Daniels at the end of March. He will be joining a young Huskies squad that includes freshman guard Shabazz Napier, freshmen wings Jeremy Lamb and Roscoe Smith and sophomore big man Alex Oriakhi, just a year after the National Championship run.
Daniels is such a highly coveted recruit because he is a versatile wing with great size, length and athleticism. He is a big-time scorer who is a good slasher, can knock down the perimeter jump shot and can get the ball in the basket while working in the mid-range game. His size also helps him score in the interior as well as rebounding on both ends of the floor.
Daniels had a lot of options he could have explored since he didn’t commit before the signing period ended. Not only could he look at more schools and have the ability to not make a decision until the beginning of the school year this fall, but he could have waited for the new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement to be decided upon and hope that he could skip college and go to the NBA. He could also go overseas or explore options in the NBA D-League. Remember, since he can’t sign a binding letter of intent, he could still back off his commitment from Connecticut and choose to go in another direction.
This commitment by the top unsigned prospect left in the senior class is quite possibly a reason why Calhoun is coming back for another season and maybe a few more years. Look for Daniels to be an impact player for the Huskies on the offensive end and to help them in their quest to repeat at National Champions.