17 February, 2020
28 August, 2021
11 Dyson Daniels (AUS)
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Boomers' phenom will have you shouting ''Damn, Daniels!''

CAIRNS (Australia) - In 2016, a viral video circulate the world wide web and briefly popularized the phrase "Damn Daniel". In 2021, Asia Cup fans found themselves repeating that one-hit wonder of a line (with a bit of a twist) as they watched one of Australia's most promising prospects make his Boomers debut.

"Damn, (Dyson) Daniels!"

It's safe to assume that was a popular reaction from the fans who were watching Australia beat New Zealand in their second FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers matchup and witnessing Dyson Daniels in a Boomers uniform for the first time.

Growing up, I always loved my country. I've always loved Australia. It's been my dream to play for Australia and thankfully I've had the opportunity to do it.


Throughout most of the game, Daniels either carved up the Tall Blacks' defense or picked their pockets as they tried to advance the ball. He'd finish with a team-high of 23 points with 4 assists and a whopping 6 steals, most among all players so far in the Asia Cup Qualifiers.

"[My mindset going into tipoff time] was always to get the win first and playing for the team. You want to get the win. I wanted to do whatever I can to help the team get the win. Get stops on defense, score the ball, rebound wherever I might be. Do my best to help the team get the win," said Daniels in a phone call interview after the game.

And he's just only 17-year-old.

You might not be able to guess that from watching how smoothly he navigates the court and looks for ways to score and he insists that's just how he has always played.

"I guess that's always been one of my better traits, being able to play patiently, getting off my floater, and finding [the big men] and shooters. Just being able to play to my strengths," said Daniels.

"I'm working on my three-point shot still," added Daniels, who went 0-5 from beyond the arc. "But I'm just trying to be the best I can be at the moment."

His efforts to be the best he can be has lead him here to Cairns, where he was finally able to realize his childhood dreams.

"It's been a lifetime goal, you know? To be able to represent my country has always been my dream. To be able to play for them and, even better, to be able to get the win, it was a great feeling."

Basketball has always been a big part of Dyson's life ever since the early stages. Once he got started, he just never found a good reason to stop.

"I started playing when I was about 7-years-old. My dad played at college in NC State and we've got a basketball family, so I guess it's just been in our family. I just love playing, so I'm going to keep going."

Dyson's father, Ricky Daniels, played for the NC State Wolfpack in the mid 90s against the likes of Grant Hill and Rasheed Wallace which lead him to career overseas. He found himself at home in Bendigo, Victoria and later had three sons. All three are ballers and they've helped push each other to become better along the way.

"We're always texting each other, me and my brothers," said Dyson when asked whether his brothers have called yet after the game. "Growing up as kids, we were competing against each other in the backyard. It's a basketball family, so we're a competitive family, too."

Nonetheless, it's been his parents who have been his biggest supporters and inspirations in his young basketball journey.

"Dad's always giving me advice. He just wants me to be myself. Mom and dad are big motivators. They are always driving me to be my best and they've got my back 100 percent," said Daniels, also referring to his mother who also has an athletic background in volleyball.

Aside from the love for his family and his love for the game, Daniels has immense love for the country and he was finally able to display all of that passion at a high level in this debut.

"The dream has always been big, you know? Growing up, I always loved my country. I've always loved Australia. It's been my dream to play for Australia and thankfully I've had the opportunity to do it."

Just a quick reminder: this is just the beginning. Dyson Daniels will still be only 18-years-old next month. This was only his first game ever playing for the Boomers. It's needless to say that the future is bright.

"My main goal is to make the NBA and I want to keep representing Australia. Playing for the Boomers, playing in my age group, things like that. Just wherever basketball takes me."

Now that he's got a taste of experiencing victory at the Asia Cup Qualifiers, he already has his eyes set on the next big prize.

"That's another goal, going against the best at the Asia Cup. I still have some work to do to get there, but I'm going to put in the work. I'll try to put out my best and whatever happens, I'm going to put in the work."

After witnessing what Dyson Daniels is capable of right now and how much potential he has, it might not be a stretch for fans to envision seeing him in Indonesia at Asia Cup 2021 later this year, defending the title with the Boomers.

Maybe when that time comes, he'll have the Asia Cup fans collectively exclaiming once again:

Damn, Daniels!