It is surprising that Nick Daniels has struggled this season, after shooting the ball so well last year en route to a spot on the Horizon League All-Freshman Team. The redshirt sophomore from Westland John Glenn has seen his minutes increase from last season, due in large part to the departure of Dante Williams. But his three-point shooting percentage has dramatically decreased from a Horizon League leading 48.6 % to 30.2%. His overall field goal percentage has also declined from 45.5 % to 28.2 %. It is easy to label this as the classic “sophomore slump.” But keep in mind that he is high on the team’s scouting reports now, when last year he undoubtedly caught many opponents by surprise. Perhaps Daniels is also feeling the pressure of increased expectations and ball-handling duties, as he has already turned the ball over 22 times this season, compared to 29 all of last season.
He really heated up in league play last season, including a stretch where he scored in double-figures in five of seven games. He also came to play in big games by scoring 14 points against Valparaiso (twice) and 14 against Detroit Mercy. Since Max Hooper is shooting much better than Daniels is from behind the arc this season, and Sherron Dorsey-Walker and Martez Walker are logging major minutes at the guard and swingman spots, Daniels has found other ways to contribute. He is nearly doubling his rebounding average and is on-pace to have many more assists than last season. That is the sign of a true team player who will do whatever the team needs him to do to win. He has lost his spot in the starting lineup and has been coming off of the bench ever since Martez Walker became eligible. But sixth or seventh men are very important to the overall success of a team. Daniels is still playing with a lot of effort and intensity, and he looks to have improved defensively. Expect Daniels to show shades of his great freshman campaign in the second-half of this season by taking the ball hard to the basket and continuing to shoot from long range. After all, he has already proven that he is a shooter. And what do shooters do when they are not making shots? They keep on shooting.
(Note: The stats from this season mentioned in the article are through 14 games played. Daniels played in 28 games last season).