Sophomore guard Damien Daniels might be the smallest on the court, but he plays with the most grit and grind.
In only his second year with the Wildcats, Daniels is playing a big role in its system. Daniels is a returner from last year’s tournament team and is taking on the leadership role instilled by the coaches
“The coaches tell me to lead by example every day by talking more on the floor, which they preach to our team every day, and to lead our team in the right direction,” Daniels said. “And by March we’ll be where we want to be.”
Daniels had some help along the way to get where he wanted to be.
“My mom helped a lot along with a lot of coaches and trainers and people from my high school to help me become the man I am today.”
Daniels had a little help when choosing ACU as his destination with help from his fellow teammate, sophomore forward Joe Pleasant.
“I chose ACU because of Joe,” Daniels said. “He was recruited here first, and we were both on the same AAU team in high school, and they saw me play and saw what I was able to do, and I thought this would be the best place for me to show what I can do.”
Joe Pleasant enjoys playing with Daniels and his energy.
“He’s like our little energizer bunny,” Pleasant said. “He’s clapping it up and is all over the place. He has so much passion when he plays and makes so many big time plays for us.”
Coach Golding has trust that Daniels will continue to get better and better as the season goes on and that he’s beginning to be a leader everyday.
“The one thing with Damien is we’re trying to get him to be a point guard and a leader and to have a better basketball IQ,” Golding said. “When he starts moving the basketball, everyone starts moving.”
With this only being Daniels’ second year at ACU, he was able to experience postseason success just last year as a freshman.
The Wildcats were able to win the Southland Conference Tournament and went on to face Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament.
“We have high expectations for ourselves, but we abide as a team getting better everyday,” Daniels said. “I think we’re doing it as a unit, we might have started off slow, but we’re picking things up and getting better and will be where we want to be in the end.”
Daniels’ favorite moment so far has been competing in postseason play, and he looks to repeat last seasons’ success.
He might not fill the stat sheet every night, but his presence is always felt on the court by his defense and leadership.
Daniels and the Wildcats take the court again Wednesday against Sam Houston State in Huntsville.