After watching teammate Shabazz Napier go 24th overall, DeAndre Daniels got the call at 37 overall from the Toronto Raptors. Daniels did work out for them during the pre-draft process so this is not a huge surprise.
This is a pretty good situation for D, the Raptors are coming off one of their best seasons in recent memory which included winning the East's Atlantic Conference. GM Masai Ujiri took over in 2013 and really turned this team around. The Raptors currently have two solid forwards in Amir Johnson and Patrick Patterson. Terrence Ross, DeMar DeRozan and John Salmons are solid, rangy wings so Daniels might end up marinating in the D-league to get ready for the bigs. It's also possible that the Raptors are unable to return all of those players and he steps into a backup forward role this season. Either of those would be solid outcomes for Daniels' first year.
Daniels: "I worked out for Toronto and I actually loved it up there. It’s a great city."— Neill Ostrout (@NeillOstrout) June 27, 2014
In case you're an NBA/Raptors fan who happened upon this page to learn more about your team's newest member, our basketball writer Matt Ouimette and I put together a quick orientation for you.
1. How is this prospect perceived by the fanbase?
Matt: Deandre was one of the most frustrating players in UConn history. Blessed with incredible potential he disappeared at times during the season for no reason. That being said, he will be remembered for his incredible performance in the NCAA tournament, without him there is no 4th championship.
Aman: Supremely talented, yet inconsistent, player who had the ability to take over a game but didn't do it enough. We wouldn't have won the 2014 National Championship without him though and to his credit he put it together when it mattered most at the end of the season.
2. What anecdote or story best typifies his time at UConn?
Matt: This is more of a personal story but Deandre was committed to Texas in the summer of 2011 and off everyone's radar. I was studying abroad in Italy at the time and at 330am my roommate (also avid UConn fan) burst into my room and screamed "Deandre committed". It was completely out of no where and we stayed up for most of the night watching HS highlights on his laptop. I don't really have too many stories about him just memories of him absolutely dominating practice at times. You knew he was a great player he just needed to get his confidence up.
Aman: The Iowa State game in this years NCAA Tournament typifies what DeAndre Daniels is capable of but I would actually have to say it would be this years' National Championship game against Kentucky. It was not a gem-- he shot 4-14 from the field, scored 8 points and pulled down 6 rebounds-- but he played his ass off defensively and did what was needed for the Huskies to pull out the win. Nobody would say he had a bad game, but it could have been better. That was his UConn career.
3. What parts of the draft evaluation coverage about the prospect do you think is wrong or missing?
Matt: Similar to Shabazz I believe there is too much of an emphasis placed on Deandre's lack of strength. In the NCAA tournament he battled Patric Young and Julius Randle in two consecutive games and held his own. Kevin Durant couldn't put up one rep on the bench press and look what he did. Deandre's strength doesn't worry me it will come with time.
Aman: Apparently staying in college for three years has been a knock on him. The thinking being that he's reached his max potential, which is rubbish. If he can add muscle and improve his consistency, he could be the steal of this draft.
4. What will we love and/or hate about him?
Matt: Fans will love his sneaky athleticism and shot blocking ability. There are times when he comes out of no where to deliver a rim rattling dunk to energize the crowd. Fans will hate his inability to dribble the basketball.
Aman: You will love his potential. He was rated the 10th overall prospect in the country coming out of high school. He's extremely athletic and is a great shooter for a tall guy. Great character too. He's also stood toe to toe with some of the best in college basketball and come out on top, he's shown more than just potential.
5. Anything else you want to share about him?
Matt: DeAndre Daniels is very good at basketball. As I mentioned earlier there were times he dominated practice to the point where no one could stop him. There were times his work ethic was lackadaisical but he has a strong support system that is on him to get to the next level. Deandre will be the biggest steal of the draft in my opinion.
Aman: Be patient, he could be a great player.