Assistant Sports Editor
Commonwealth Times’ Sports Twitter
Troy Daniels is one of the two best shooters that Shaka Smart has ever coached.
And before I go on, the other is Terrence Oglesby, who Smart coached when he was an assistant at Clemson. Oglesby averaged 13.2 points per game in two years with the Tigers before leaving the school to play pro ball in Europe.
But back to Daniels. Smart put him in a category above players like Brandon Rozzell, Joey Rodriguez, Ed Nixon, and even Bradford Burgess. For someone that chooses their words as carefully as Smart, that’s a tremendous honor. But per usual, Smart’s praise came with a dose of reason as well.
“The reality is I think [Daniels] is better than he thinks he is,” said Smart. “Troy can play any role he wants to play if he sets his mind to it. He’s a really good scorer in practice but it’s got to carry over in the games.”
As most coaches will tell you, being a great scorer has less to do with talent and more to do with having a nasty attitude. So for Daniels to become a great scorer as opposed to just a great shooter, he needs to develop a killer instinct.
“Terrence Oglesby thought he was the best player in the country and that helped him,” said Smart. “Troy needs more of that. He’s got great ability but I think he’s got to take a big step.”
Again, Smart thinks Daniels has more ability than former Ram sharp-shooters Rozzell and Rodriguez, but he has yet to develop the cockiness that they possessed.
“You can’t give a guy what Brandon [Rozzell] had or what Joey [Rodriguez] had,” said Smart. “And to be honest that’s the biggest thing we lost from last year, not points or assists or rebounds: Swagger. Those guys thought they could beat the Lakers.”
Smart said he and the coaching staff keep stats of all their in-squad scrimmages, and that Daniels is by far the leading scorer in practice. But he needs that to translate into games.
One way Daniels will develop more confidence, and in turn, more swagger, is simply by racking up playing time in real games. The loss of Rozzell and Rodriguez means more opportunities for the junior guard to show what he can do. And as he gets those chances, Daniels will vie to transform himself from practice superstar to a scorer with the mentality of an assassin.