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DeAndre Daniels Declares For NBA Draft, Ryan Boatright to Stay His Senior Year

by Hayley Tafuro | Posted on Monday, April 28th, 2014
(Credit: William Lanzoni)

(Credit: William Lanzoni)

STORRS– Two of UConn basketball’s most instrumental players, DeAndre Daniels and Ryan Boatright, announced their decisions regarding their plans for next season on Friday.

Daniels will declare for this year’s NBA Draft after three years at UConn, and Boatright will finish out his senior season playing for the Huskies.

Honestly, my initial expectation after the postseason was for both of them to stay. That could have just been my inner husky talking, but I truly felt that staying in Storrs for their senior years offered benefits for each of them, particularly in terms of leading the team and taking that extra year to develop their games and get them draft-ready.

However, after taking into consideration Daniels’ postseason statistics (16 ppg. 7.1 rpg.), his strong performances against Iowa State and Florida, and the fact alone that he was actually the x-factor in propelling UConn to a national championship title, the conclusion was that he could absolutely be deemed draft-ready.

Daniels has always been a versatile player in terms of how he scores. He boasts an impressive skill set with his length when he gets in the paint, but he also expands his repertoire with his turnaround jumpers and his three-point shot. One thing Daniels will have to work on unrelated to developing his game is developing his frame. At 195 pounds currently, he will have bulk up a bit before he jumps to compete with the size in the NBA.

Overall, the six-foot-nine forward had his ups and downs this past season, disappearing in some games but then showing his true talent sporadically in others. His peaks included a 23-point effort against Memphis along with a career-high night scoring 31 points against Temple.

After an emotional day on campus, Daniels took to Twitter, broadcasting the following message to Husky Nation:

huskies

Daniels is projected to go either late in the first round or early in the second round of the draft, according to various mock draft sites, and will be joining teammate Shabazz Napier in the league.

With Napier leaving, the Huskies already knew that they had big shoes to fill. Now as Daniels says his goodbyes, this puts Boatright in the position to be the team’s next senior leader.

Boatright served as the team’s emotional leader on the court, if you will, in the NCAA tournament by playing phenomenal defense, hitting free throws down the stretch, and stepping up to make some momentum-changing plays. Between him and Napier, they made up one of, if not the most dynamic backcourt in the NCAA.

Next season, however, could feature Boatright as the general, alongside of an improved Terrence Samuel who showed a lot of confidence during his minutes in the postseason. Redshirt guard Rodney Purvis also will look to get into the mix of guard play after spending this past season on the bench due to transfer eligibility rules.

When looking at a Daniels replacement, six-foot-nine forward Kentan Facey could be a guy who will see more time on the court along with some of UConn’s incoming freshmen recruits like Daniel Hamilton who have the length and ability to score.

Despite the losses on the roster between the seniors and Daniels, the Huskies still look like they can come out solid in pursuit of producing another wild season. The biggest question for them now though is who will be the ones to lead them there?

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