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Dantiel Daniels: 'A Special Player'

Holt senior will play at SIUC next year.

 After falling to 52-48 in the Class 5 District 7 semifinals, Dantiel Daniels and the Holt Indians are done for the 2010-2011 season. But even as his season--and career--at came to an end on Wednesday night, Daniels would appear to have a bright future on the hardwood. 

Unfortunately, multiple efforts to speak with Daniels by telephone fell short, but it doesn’t take long to realize just how special he is while speaking with Holt coach Chuck Williams.

“He’s a big kid, really,” said Williams. “He’s just like your average kid, big and good at basketball. He’s goofy in the locker room and jokes around with the other kids. He’s got a lot of character, a good heart, and there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for anybody.”

Daniels, who stands at 6-foot-5-inches tall and played power forward for the Indians, brings to his team much more than most fans see on the court. When asked to describe his value to the team, Williams was rendered nearly speechless.

“He just does so much for us, it’s ridiculous. He leads us in rebounds, points, steals, assists, blocked shots--you name it, he does it” Williams said. “He works really hard and does so much for us. He’s a wonderful kid, and we’re blessed to have him.” 

With the season now over, Daniels will next focus on his next stop--the University of Southern Illinois at Carbondale (SIUC), where he will play basketball in the fall. 

“The coaching staff (at SIUC) showed interest in him long before anyone else did,” Williams said. “Because of their loyalty and interest, I think from the start he developed a relationship with Coach (Chris) Lowery and that influenced his decision. Schools are contacting him, but none of them had a relationship like they did. And it’s not far from home, which is convenient.”

Williams also believes that Daniels could have what it takes to even play beyond the collegiate level.

“Yes, I think he has that potential,” said Williams. “He can still get stronger, and obviously he will work through the workout program at SIUC. If he can develop a 15 foot and mid-range jump shot in college, and work on his ball handling, I think he can be very productive at both college and at the next level. It will take a lot of work, but just like anybody else, you get out of it what you put it and the sky is the limit. For him or for anyone.”

On top of it all, Williams said, Daniels has some of the most important intangible qualities that it takes to succeed.

“He knows that the most important thing is to not be cocky, but confident,” he said. “And he’s mature enough to admit when he’s wrong as well. He’s just a big, good kid who is gifted and talented as basketball.”

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