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Monday, May 20, 2024

Daniels ready to prove worth

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Marquis Daniels didn’t make the splash he wanted last year.

Sidelined 25 games with an injured knee, the laid back, multi-positioned guard only gave fans spurts of his endless talented that he showcased two seasons ago when his former team, the Dallas Mavericks were in the NBA Finals.

There was the game against the Miami Heat on Jan. 18 where he scored 23 points on 10-of-18 shooting and his only other 20-plus showing against the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 21 where he shot 10-of-16 for 22 points.

There were others that Daniels penetrated to the basket and confused defenses to score but they were few and far between – mostly due to his knee but also lack of playing time.

New Indiana Pacer coach Jim O’Brien is already smitten with Daniels, which should allow him more time at the court.

“He’s a real gentle person, a guy that I know I’m going to enjoy being around,” he said. “He’s a guy that as a coach you have to find how many ways you can put him in successful situations because he’s multi-talented.”

Nobody spent more time this offseason at Conseco Fieldhouse than Daniels said O’Brien.

“I worked really hard at rehabbing my knee and improving my game,” said the four-year player out of Auburn.

So far during training camp, Daniels has practiced sparingly, usually going half the time. However, he believes he’ll be ready when the regular season begins Oct. 31 against the Washington Wizards.

Usually avoiding the spotlight, Daniels may be thrust into it if his knee holds up and he’s finally able to stay on the court.

At 6 feet, 6 inches, Daniels – who can play point guard, shooting guard and small forward – will likely see minutes at the point position giving Jamaal Tinsley a break. Though continuing to confuse defenses by consistently attacking the basket, Daniels said he spent ample time during the summer working on his three-point shooting and jump shooting skills.

“I hope to add the three to my game this year – surprise some people,” he said smiling.

Adds O’Brien, “He is an uncanny basketball player and is going to be a major asset to this basketball team.”

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