Jan. 22, 2014
By Marya Fratoni
In Tuesday night's 90-66 UConn men's basketball win over Temple, UConn forward DeAndre Daniels had perhaps his best game of the season. While the junior achieved a career-high 31 points on 11-19 shooting, it was his 12 rebounds that really pleased coach Kevin Ollie.
"I love 12 rebounds," said Ollie. "You've got 12 rebounds that's 12 touches in my book. His activity leads to him scoring points."
Daniels netted 10 points in the first half, but there was an obvious difference in his energy and activity on the court after halftime which allowed him to more than double his first half points in the second half.
"At halftime, (Ollie) was pretty mad because we were up by 14 and he felt like we should have been up by more," Daniels said. "But he said just keep pushing and don't let them get back in the game. And that's what we did."
Coming off of a rough game against Louisville on Saturday night in which he scored just three points, Daniels was determined to make a comeback.
"I just wanted to come back today and bounce back. It's one game but everybody's going to have a bad game at some point," Daniels said. "You just have to forget about it and come out to play the next game. I just wanted to put that behind me and get to the rim even more and not hesitate."
Daniels played with an immense amount of confidence and made the 31 points look easy despite his patented relaxed demeanor, which could keep him from being able to play as aggressive and as confidently as he did in the Temple game.
"I'm a laid back guy and I play laid back, but I just need to go out and play aggressive every time because it will help my team and help us win games," Daniels said.
As additional motivation, Daniels felt the need to step up more than usual due to Ryan Boatright's absence from the starting lineup. Boatright missed last night's game while traveling for the funeral of his 20-year-old cousin Arin Williams.
"We wanted to fill Boatright's spot and we were able to do that," said Daniels. "I felt like I had to do a lot more scoring with Ryan gone. I definitely felt like that last year too when Shabazz was out."
Ollie hopes to keep Daniels on this path of great success by supporting him and allowing him to learn for himself what hard work and consistency really means. The second-year coach noted that focusing on the controllable factors of personal play can definitely help an individual player's consistency
"You can control your effort and you can control your attitude," said Ollie.
Although he is performing very well on the court, DeAndre still holds himself to a higher standards and plans on pushing himself even further.
"I can do a lot more for this team," Daniels said. "I feel like if I stay aggressive the whole time I can help my team even more. At the end of the day, I just want to win games and go to the NCAA Tournament."