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Troy Daniels hopes his 3-point shooting proficiency will help him land a spot on the Charlotte Bobcats roster.
Courtesy Charlotte Bobcats
Former William Fleming standout Troy Daniels averaged 6.7 points and 17.2 minutes in six games in July playing for Charlotte in the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League. He was 8 of 19 from 3-point range.
Associated Press | File February
Former Fleming guard Troy Daniels shot 40.3 percent from 3-point range as a senior at VCU.
Monday, October 7, 2013
Troy Daniels turned down a sure thing for the chance to pursue his NBA dream.
The William Fleming High School and Virginia Commonwealth graduate is one of 18 players in the preseason camp of the Charlotte Bobcats, who began practice last week.
“It’s really exciting,” Daniels said Sunday in a phone interview. “When you were younger, you always wanted to do what I’m doing now. This is a great opportunity for me. I’ve just been soaking it all in.”
Daniels was not chosen in this year’s NBA draft. The off-guard said he had an offer of close to six figures to sign with an Australian team, but he turned that down last month and accepted a spot on Charlotte’s camp roster.
“It was probably one of the hardest decisions I ever made in my life,” Daniels said. “It was very stressful. My mom and [VCU] Coach [Shaka] Smart helped me out a lot.
“The NBA route was something I’ve been feeling every since I was a little kid. Money is not a problem for me right now — my mom’s doing pretty good for herself — so I didn’t really have to go chase the money. I just wanted to fulfill my dreams.”
The Bobcats, who have been holding camp at UNC Asheville, will play the Atlanta Hawks in their preseason opener tonight at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville. They will then move preseason practice to Charlotte.
The Bobcats are owned by NBA legend Michael Jordan, who has attended a few of their preseason practices. Daniels ran into the former Chicago Bulls great at an Asheville restaurant.
“I was eating in a restaurant with some of my teammates and he actually came to the table,” Daniels said. “I introduced myself, shook his hand. It was kind of weird because that’s the guy you’ve seen growing up and that’s the greatest to ever do it.
“That could potentially be my boss pretty soon, so I just wanted to give a good impression.”
But how much does Daniels really know about Jordan? Isn’t he more familiar with current NBA stars, such as LeBron James?
“I’ve probably watched more tapes of M.J. than I’ve ever seen LeBron play,” he said. “I’ve watched M.J. a lot because he is the best to ever do it. You have to watch him; it’s just respect for the game.”
NBA teams must finalize their regular-season rosters by Oct. 28. Teams can keep only 13 players on their active roster, but they can keep one or two additional players on the roster as inactive players. An inactive player can be sent down to the NBA Development League to keep him sharp.
Daniels is likely battling for one of the final spots on the Bobcats’ roster with fellow undrafted rookies James Southerland and Abdul Gaddy and veteran center Patrick O’Bryant.
“My goal right now is not just to make the team, it’s to stay in the league,” Daniels said.
The Bobcats had the second worst record (21-61) in the NBA last season, when they ranked 27th out of 30 teams in 3-pointers per game (5.7) and 3-point field-goal percentage (33.5 percent).
“They need shooting, and that’s one thing that I do,” Daniels said. “I have gotten a lot of advice from people that are involved in the NBA, saying that you only need one thing to play in the league and you have to do it very well. I do one of those things that separates me from a lot of people, which is shooting.”
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Daniels averaged 12.2 points and 3.4 3-pointers as a VCU senior last season, when he shot 40.3 percent from 3-point range and ranked seventh nationally in 3-pointers per game. He broke the school records for most 3-pointers in a game (11) and season (124) and finished second on the VCU career list with 251 3-pointers. He won the collegiate 3-point contest in Atlanta last April.
After being bypassed in the June draft, Daniels played for the Bobcats in the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League. He averaged 6.7 points and 17.2 minutes in six games in July, going 8 of 19 from 3-point range.
The experience gave him a better understanding of the NBA game.
“It’s a lot slower and a lot more one-on-one [than college basketball],” he said. “You don’t have too many guys picking up full court and pressuring the ball 94 feet.
“After summer league I felt like I needed to work on some things and I did, as far as the ball-handling, the one-on-one defense, the one-on-one offense and definitely my shooting — one-dribble, two-dribble pull-ups.
“There’s a lot more defensive concepts [in the NBA], a lot more things to remember, It’s very hard.”
Daniels said that after he played in Vegas, he received camp invitations from the Bobcats and a couple other NBA teams, as well as the offer from an Australian team and some interest from a few Italian squads. He worked out at VCU before opting to sign with Charlotte.
Charlotte will play eight preseason games, including an Oct. 19 game against Dallas at the Greensboro Coliseum.
If Daniels does not make Charlotte’s regular-season roster, he could turn to the NBA Development League or see if a team overseas needs to fill a hole on its squad.
He said he is not nervous about his chances of making the Bobcats.
“At the end of the day, I’m always going to have a job playing basketball,” he said.
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