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.

Henry Ellenson wins Marquette Madness dunk contest

Steve Wojciechowski
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Marquette freshman forward Henry Ellenson won the Marquette Madness slam dunk contest on Friday night with a between the legs dunk.

The 6-foot-10 Ellenson, the top recruit in Steve Wojciechowski’s freshmen class, defeated sophomore Sandy Cohen, fellow freshman Sacar Anim and Wally Ellenson, his older brother.

Ellenson joins the Golden Eagles as the No. 11 overall recruit in the Class of 2015.

Bill Self signs $10,000 check for KU student


Late Night in the Phog is typically a night to remember for Kansas fans. For Kansas student Jerrod Martin Castro, Friday night’s event is one he won’t forget.

Castro, a sophomore, was selected as a contestant for a $10,000 giveaway. The only thing standing in the way of a big payday was a half-court shot. Brennan Bechard, the Kansas director of basketball operations, attempted the long-distance shot and hit nothing but net.

Kansas head coach Bill Self signed a $10,000 check on the spot.