UConn’s Daniels is prepping for a breakout season

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It’s easy to imagine that all athletes are extroverts who enjoy the limelight, but it’s not always a fair assumption. Take UConn’s DeAndre Daniels, for instance. According to a recent article in the Hartford Courant, the junior forward’s struggle to assert himself on the court mirrors his reluctance to stand out in his personal life.

The newspaper spoke to Daniels’ roomate, Ryan Boatright:

Said Boatright: “He’s done an unbelievable job at becoming outspoken. When I first met him, man, he was so quiet. He literally stared at his phone all day. He didn’t say two words all day. I’m sure he’ll be the one to tell you, we’ve been living together three years, he acts exactly like me now. K.O. will probably say, ‘You’ve been around Boat too much, you’re talking too much.'”

For Daniels, the words simply followed the results, and experience. “It’s just more confidence in myself,” he said. “Talking to K.O., that’s the main thing he’s telling me to do. Just talk. Talk on defense. Once you step between the lines, your personality has got to change. That’s what I’ve been focusing on.”

K.O. would be head coach Kevin Ollie, of course.

I like Daniels’ message: don’t change who you are at heart, just find you equilibrium. Talk when you need to talk.

With all of the stories about kids struggling to grow into their roles and act with maturity during their college sports careers, it’s nice to hear about a coach, player and his teammates finding some balance and learning from one another.

Clemson lands 2017 guard

Brad Brownell
AP Photo
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Clemson landed a quality commitment on Tuesday as Class of 2017 guard A.J. Oliver committed to the Tigers. The son of Clemson women’s head coach Audra Smith, Oliver is regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, although some others view him as a top-100 caliber player.

The 6-foot-4 Oliver attends nearby Daniel High School and should have some time to get acclimated with the players and coaches before he sets foot on campus. A versatile guard who plays hard, Oliver showed that he can make plays with the ball in his hands this summer with the Upward Stars.

Oliver is Clemson’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 and it’s a strong start for head coach Brad Brownell.

Arizona’s Tarczewski out 4-to-6 weeks

Kaleb Tarczewski, Sean Miller
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Arizona will be without senior center Kaleb Tarczewski for 4-to-6 weeks, the school announced on Tuesday. The 7-foot Tarczewski suffered a stress reaction and strained muscle to his left foot and he’ll have some time to heal before the main portion of the Pac-12 conference schedule.

The experienced Tarczewski was averaging 8.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game before going down with injury. Without the senior in the lineup, Arizona fell to Providence in the Wooden Legacy last week. Without Tarczewski in the lineup, the Wildcats could turn to center Dusan Ristic while forward Ryan Anderson has had some solid outings this season.

Missing Tarczewski for the rest of non-conference play will hurt but he’ll get to rest and recover for the stretch run while the Wildcats can mix in some new frontcourt pieces.