Australian basketball export Dyson Daniels has been drafted to the NBA with the New Orleans Pelicans picking him at number eight.
- Bendigo’s Dyson Daniels has been drafted to the NBA as its number eight pick
- He will play for the New Orleans Pelicans
- The 19-year-old debuted for Australia in the FIBA Asia Cup qualification in February 2021
The 19-year-old from Bendigo in Central Victoria has spent most of the past year in the United States playing for NBA development team G League Ignite.
In that time he averaged 11.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 3 turnovers per game.
With a 6’11” wingspan, Daniels has also been praised for his versatility to play multiple positions on and off the ball, as well as his powerful defence.
Ben McCauley coached him in juniors and said he always showed a fierce determination to improve, even as a starter in the under 12 Bendigo Braves.
Swift rise for 19-year-old
Daniels debuted for Australia in the FIBA Asia Cup qualification in February 2021.
He also won silver when he played for Victoria at Australia’s U20 Championships in May last year.
He joined the NBA Academy in Canberra in August 2018.
But his rise to the best basketball league in the world was relatively swift and somewhat unconventional.
Instead of going to college, Daniels moved to the US to play for new NBA development team G League Ignite.
His former coaches and friends say his ability to create magic through a pass and be playmaker is the cherry on top of his potential.
An inspiration for country kids
Australian Opals star Tess Madgen said hard work was the key ingredient for Daniels, like it is with all professional athletes.
“Never be happy with settling,” she said.
“I don’t think in any way he will do that. He’ll keep pushing and pushing to become the best possible that he can be.”
She praised the Bendigo Braves organisation for the opportunities they set up for their players.
“The Braves is a great club and organisation and they really do have the pathways available for people to become whatever they want to become,” she said.
“The coaches are elite and the facilities amazing.
Bendigo basketball advocates hope it will help them attract more young players.