Youngest Daniels dashing up the line as next big talent for Australia
MANGILAO (Guam) - Nearly 4 years ago in Papua New Guinea, Australia won the FIBA U15 Oceania Championship.
"He is honestly playing better than me or Dyson did at his age..."
- Kai Daniels on Dash Daniels
It was a close game, but as they had dominated the previous editions of the competition when it was the U16 Oceania championship, the Crocs prevailed. The team was well balanced with all players averaging between 14 to 26 minutes and 3.0 to 9.5 shot attempts per game.
Among one of the champions from that Crocs squad was none other than Dyson Daniels, this year’s 8th NBA Draft pick. Daniels flashed signs of potential even back then with averages of 8.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game highlighted by 15 points in the title game.
Four years later in Guam at this year’s edition of the U15 Oceania championship, opposing teams and fans might experience some Déjà vu when they see another "Daniels" streaking up and down the court for the junior Green and Gold squad.
Meet Dash Daniels.
16-year-old Dash is the youngest brother in the Daniels family after Dyson and Kai. All three Daniels boys are ballers, following the footsteps of their father Ricky Daniels who played at the collegiate level in USA before forging a legendary career - and a beautiful family - in Bendigo.
With three brothers all playing basketball, the Daniels household can become competitive. And a part of why they are all so good on the hardwood is because they push each other with that competitive fire whether by playing against each other or communicating.
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"We're always texting each other, me and my brothers," said Dyson earlier in 2021 when he made his Boomers debut. "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."
"… [Dyson’s] got me to where I am today and look at where he is today," Dash said of his big brother as per Basketball Australia.
With the achievements Ricky compiled through his career (MVP awards and retired jerseys) and with what Dyson and Kai are on track to accomplish down the road, some might be worried about the shadow that looms over young Dash.
However, Dash has already been shining on his own even at an early stage. Most notably at the recent Basketball Australia U16 national championships, Dash was among the top 5 in scoring and assists for the 4-1 Victory County squad. He’d end up with a well-rounded average of 17.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game.
It’s that type of performance - and ideally the kind of performance that fans will see in Guam - that already has talent evaluators excited. There’s a lot of pressure involved in tagging a 16-year-old prospect as a "future NBA talent" but considering the attention Dash has been garnering, it might not be too farfetched.
The NBA interest is mutual from Dash’s side as well.
He got a quick taste of the league when he attended big brother Dyson’s Draft Night experience and it has certainly left him wanting more.
"That’s the main goal to get to the NBA, and hopefully I can get there one day," said Dash as per Basketball Australia.
"It [the draft] was incredible. The people you meet, the facilities and all that was great."
For now, Dash will first live out one of his other big dreams: donning the Australia national team jersey.
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He’ll have a huge target on his back for the upcoming games from 21-26 November in Guam whether it’s because of the name on the front of his jersey as defending champions or the name on the back of his jersey. Even just for being Dash Daniels as one of the top prospects of this competition, he’ll be drawing plenty of attention.
But considering what he’s already been able to accomplish by himself, Dash should be just fine.
At least his brother has faith in him. As they always do.
"Dash’s pathway has been incredible he has overcome so much and he has worked so hard between COVID and me and Dyson leaving home he really has just done an amazing job to get to where he is at now," said Kai as per Bendigo Basketball. "He’s always putting in the extra work and it’s showing."
"He is honestly playing better than me or Dyson did at his age and he’s doing it on every stage in Australia so we’re super proud of him. He does have a long way to go, however, if he keeps learning and working like he is he will get to wherever he wants."
"There is no limit for that kid."
The FIBA U15 Oceanian Championships serve as qualifiers for the FIBA U16 Asian Championships 2023 with the top two teams going through.
The FIBA U15 Oceania Championships will be hosted in Guam from November 21 to November 26. Follow the event here!