Huskies Abroad: Niels Giffey and Deandre Daniels

Niels Giffey

Club: ALBA Berlin

Location: Berlin, Germany

Leagues: Basketball Bundesliga (BBL), EuroLeague

Two-time National Champion Niels Giffey signed with ALBA Berlin in his native Germany for the 2014-15 season. Giffey, who had played with the clubs junior division before UConn, joins a senior team considered to be the most successful German basketball team internationally and domestically. In fact, on October 8th, 2014 ALBA defeated the San Antonio Spurs in a preseason game 94-93. ALBA competes in both the Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) as well as the Euroleague (NBA). The BBL, composed of 18 teams, is the highest level of professional club basketball in Germany. The top 8 teams qualify for the playoffs, which are in a best-of-five format.

euroleague.net

euroleague.net

In addition to the BBL title, all BBL teams compete for the German Cup. The German Cup opens the playing field to the top three domestic leagues in Germany in a single elimination tournament. ALBA Berlin has won the past two German Cups and a total of eight since the tournament changed formats in 1997. This season, ALBA sits atop the BBL standings with a perfect record of 12-0.  ALBA also participates in the Euroleague entering Round 9 play at fourth in Group B with a record of 3-5. Remember, only the top four teams from each Group will advance to the round of 16. ALBA can punch their ticket tomorrow with a win over  #6 Limoges (France) and a #5 Zagreb (Croatia) loss. Here are Giffey’s statistics on the year:

BBL G MIN FG-FGA FG% 3PM-A 3P% REB AS PTS EFF
N. Giffey 12 17.7 19-41 46% 13-30 43% 2.3 0.6 7.2 4.5
EURO G MIN FG-FGA FG% 3PM-A 3P% REB AS PTS EFF
N. Giffey 8 16.4 14-24 58% 11-20 55%* 1.6 0.5 7.6 5.3

*#7 in Euroleague

Giffey shoots over Tim Duncan of the Spurs

Giffey shoots over Tim Duncan of the Spurs

Deandre Daniels

Club: Perth Wildcats

Location: Perth, Australia

League: National Basketball League (NBL)

wildcats.com.au

wildcats.com.au

The Toronto Raptors selected Deandre Daniels with the 37th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and subsequently shipped him down under to suit up for the Perth Wildcats of the NBL. The NBL features eight teams, seven from Australia and one from New Zealand with Perth as the lone representative from Western Australia.  The Wildcats are the most storied franchise in NBL history with a record six championships and a playoff streak of 28 years dating back to 1987. Initially perceived as a demotion, Daniels is actually following in the exact footsteps of James Ennis, Perth’s All-NBL selection from a year ago. Ennis, drafted 50th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft, was sent to Perth by the Miami Heat to further develop. After leading Perth to a championship, he signed with the Heat where he’s averaging 14 minutes a game. Ennis is playing so well, he was recently featured by Bleacher Report.

Here is Perth Managing Director Nick Marvin and Daniels discussing his role in the upcoming season:

This season, Daniels has teamed up with Jermaine Beal (Vanderbilt) and Earnest Ross (Missouri) to lead Perth atop the NBL standings at the halfway point of the season. The top four teams at the end of the season will advance to a best-of-three Final Four which culminates in a best-of-three Championship. Adding to his outstanding end of the year with the Huskies, Daniels is second on the team in scoring and third in the NBL in rebounding at 7.5 per game. Full statistics can be found below:

NBL G MIN FG-FGA FG% 3PM-A 3P% REB BS PTS EFF
D. Daniels 12 28.4 49-109 45% 13-46 28% 7.5 1.6 14.3 10.8

Here are some highlights from Daniels last outing, a 20 point/8 rebound effort in a win over the Wollongong Hawks. The first 1:30 is dominated by Daniels.

Perth plays its home games in the 14,846 seat Perth Arena. To put that in perspective, Gampel seats roughly 10,160, the XL Center 16,290 and Giffey plays in the 17,000 seat 02 Arena in Berlin.

wildcats.com.au

wildcats.com.au

El-Amin to Wolf: UConn in Europe 2014-2015

Here is an alphabetical list of former UConn players currently abroad. Most leagues are already underway and the remainder tip off this week. Check back for weekly updates on your favorite former Huskies. The list will be updated as more information becomes available.

Khalid El-Amin

Team: Goettingen, Germany

Top League: BBL (German National League)

Notable American teammates: Jason Clark (Georgetown), Raymar Morgan (Michigan State)

Hilton Armstrong

Team: Besiktas, Turkey

Top League: TBL (Turkish National League)

Notable American teammates: JaJuan Johnson (Purdue/Boston Celtics), Chris Lofton (Tennessee) 

Josh Boone

Team: Al Manama, Bahrain

Top League: Bahrain Premier League

Notable American teammates: none

Deandre Daniels

Team: Perth Wildcats, Australia

Top League: National Basketball League

Notable American teammates: Jermaine Beal (Vanderbilt)

Jerome Dyson

Team: Banco Di Sardegna

Top League: Italian Series A

Notable American teammates: Rakim Sanders (BC/Fairfield)

Niels Giffey

Team: ALBA Berlin, Germany

Top League: Euroleague

Notable American teammates: Reggie Redding (Villanova), Clifford Hammonds (Clemson)

Lasan Kromah

Team: ALBA Fehervar, Hungary

Top League: Hungary A Division

Notable American teammates: Cleveland Melvin (Depaul)

Tyler Olander

Team: Siauliai, Lithuania

Top League: EuroChallenge

Notable American teammates: Ryan Olander (Fairfield)

Alex Oriakhi

Team: Pieno Zvaigzdes, Lithuania

Top League: Baltic Basketball League

Notable American teammates: none

Marcus Williams

Team: Crvena Zvezda, Serbia

Top League: KLS (Serbian National League)

Notable American teammates: Charles Jenkins (Hofstra)

Enosch Wolf

Team: VFL Kirchheim Knights, Germany

Top League: Germany Pro A Division

Notable American teammates: none

Unavailable:

Rashad Anderson, Denham Brown, Taliek Brown, Ater Majok, Stanley Robinson

Notes:

Roscoe Smith signed to the Los Angeles Lakers practice squad on September 24th. With three veteran forwards and newcomer Julius Randle, Smith will have a hard time making the final NBA roster but could be kept with the teams D-League affiliate.

Deandre Daniels undergoes successful surgery

wildcats.com

wildcats.com

Former National Champion Deandre Daniels has undergone surgery to remove a small bone fragment in his right elbow, according to the Perth Wildcats website. Daniels, taken with the 37th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors, will compete with the Wildcats of the Australian National Basketball League (NBL) this upcoming season. The rehab process will take 4-6 weeks and Daniels hopes to be ready for the team’s October 10th season opener against New Zealand. All indications lead to a successful surgery:

Daniels will play a key role for Perth as they attempt to defend their NBL title.

 

Deandre Daniels Officially Heading to Europe

Getty Images

Getty Images

The Toronto Raptors have come to terms with former Celtics 2013 first round pick Lucas Nogueira. Great news for Nogueira, bad news for Deandre Daniels. The Nogueira signing fills the Raptors roster, confirming rumors Daniels will be shipped overseas next season- though the Raptors will keep his rights. The team is currently in the process of finding the best fit for Daniels overseas, presumably a situation where he can get minutes immediately and continue to develop. More to come…

2014 Las Vegas Summer League Recap

Summer League

The  Sacramento Kings won the 2014 Las Vegas Summer League earlier this week, featuring newly acquired Alex Oriahki at the center position (sneak peak into celebration below). Oriahki was just one of a slew of former Huskies participating in Vegas this summer. Others included Deandre Daniels (Toronto Raptors), Jerome Dyson (Charlotte Hornets), Niels Giffey (Utah Jazz), Shabazz Napier (Miami Heat) and Roscoe Smith (Los Angeles Lakers). Here are the complete statistics from Vegas:

Player

G

GS MPG FG% 3P% RPG APG SPG TO

PPG

Daniels

5 5 21.4 .36 .26 6.2 .2 .4 1.8

10

Dyson

4 0 16.8 .22 .22 1.3 1.3 0.0 2.8 3.8

Giffey

5 0 12.2 .25 .17 1.8 .6 .6 .6 3.4

Napier

4 4 27 .28 .250 1.3 2.8 2.5 3.5

10.3

Oriahki 4 4 12.5 .40 0.0 3.0 .5 0.0 1.5

2.8

Smith 5 0 12.8 .56 0.0 2.2 0.0 0.0 .4

5.0

 

Deandre Daniels

Getty Images

Getty Images

Out of all UCONN players in the two summer leagues, it is safe to say Deandre Daniels was the most consistent. Starting all five games at small forward for the Raptors, Daniels contributed UCONN-esque numbers of 10 points/6 rebounds per game. In a July 18th win versus the LA Clippers, Daniels registered a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Although roughly half of Daniels field goal attempts were from deep, he led the team in rebounding, proving he is not content to just hover on the perimeter but ready to mix it up in the middle. Already leading the team in rebounding, when he packs muscle onto his scrawny frame, Daniels will be a force. It has been rumored he will play this upcoming season overseas which will give him time to mature before returning to the Raptors next season.

Jerome Dyson

July 10th Jerome Dyson signed with Dinamo Sassari of the Italian Series A League, according to Sportando. The same release stated Dyson had an NBA out in his contract until July 23, allowing him to sign with a NBA team if his performance in the summer league won him a roster spot. Unfortunately for Dyson, he was stuck behind first-round pick PJ Hairston on the depth chart and averaged only 4 points in 17 minutes of play. Dyson will return to Italy next season teaming up with former Louisville guard Edgar Sosa and BC/Fairfield transfer Rakim Sanders. The club is a newcomer to the Euroleague (European NBA) and hopes to boost their championship aspirations with the addition of Dyson who averaged 17 points/4 rebounds with Enel Brindisi (Italian Series A) a season ago.

Niels Giffey

Following two summer leagues where he struggled to find playing time, Niels Giffey has signed in Germany.

Shabazz Napier

Player G GS MPG FG% 3P% RPG APG SPG TO PPG
Napier (LVSL) 4 4 27 .28 .250 1.3 2.8 2.5 3.5 10.3
Napier (OSL) 5 5 27.6 .273 .154 3.0 4.6 1.8 4.8 9.2

Here is a comparison of Napier’s statistics from the OSL to the LVSL. In Vegas, Napier shot the ball better (it couldn’t have gotten much worse) and his turnovers were down, but he averaged only 2.8 assists per game, third on the Heat. As I wrote earlier, I am not worried by Napier’s struggles. The learning curve is much sharper for a point guard and especially in a summer league setting with players hailing from all over the world and little time to practice offensive sets. Another point to consider: Napier finalized his contract at the end of the summer league. With this final distraction off his mind it will be all basketball from now until training camp.

Alex Oriahki

AO Kings Gear

AO’s Kings Gear

July 12th the Sacramento Kings acquired the draft rights to Oriahki in exchange for guard Isaiah Thomas. Oriahki was drafted by the Suns in the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft but the Suns’ talented front court forced him to begin the season overseas. Oriahki started 4 games for the Kings in Vegas, averaging 3 points, 3 rebounds and 1 block per contest. This block against Cameron Bairstow and the Chicago Bulls made it to nba.com’s summer league highlights. This season, Oriahki faces another uphill battle to make a Kings roster featuring  veterans Rudy Gay, DeMarcus Cousins, Reggie Evans and Jason Thompson. If he is unable to make the Kings roster this year, Oriahki will return overseas or play another year with a D League affiliate.

Roscoe Smith

Undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft, Smith earned an invite to play with the Lakers in Vegas. Scoe averaged 5 points and 2 rebounds in 13 minutes per game, playing with his typical high energy and intensity. Smith is a long shot to make a NBA roster this season and will most likely play overseas.

 

Sacramento Kings Championship Celebration via Snap Chat:

Kings Celebrate Championship

The Sacramento Kings celebrate their championship

Final predictions on the 2014 NBA Draft

A month ago I evaluated the prospects of draft hopefuls Shabazz Napier, Deandre Daniels and Niels Giffey. Here is a look back at those projections and where I ultimately believe they will be selected:

Draft Projections: Shabazz Napier

According to scouts present at the combine, Napier’s performance solidified a first round selection. Here are some possible destinations that stand out:

  • 17th pick, Boston Celtics: Hometown kid on the hometown team is always an inspiring story line.
  • 26th pick, Miami Heat: LeBron tweeted: “No way u take another PG in the lottery before Napier.” Starting point guard Mario Chalmers is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, if Napier were still available you know who LeBron wants…
  • 28th pick, Los Angeles Clippers: Current backup Darren Collison has a player option for next season. Like Collison, Napier is a pesky defender who would benefit under the tutelage of Chris Paul while he develops.

Update: The Miami Heat are my favorite to select Shabazz Napier. There has been much publicity regarding LeBron James support of Napier and the Heat will do anything they can to please their superstar forward. Look for the Heat to move up in the draft as it is unlikely Napier will fall to the 26th pick. 

Draft Projections: Deandre Daniels

Deandre Daniels has the talent to be a late first round draft pick. On the other hand, scouts see him as a second round selection due to his pencil-thin frame and lack of strength. In a draft full of talented small forwards, Daniels’ performance in workouts will ultimately seal his fate. In my opinion, Deandre is one of the most underrated players in the draft and could make an impact for a contender after a season in the D-League. Here are some possible destinations:

  • 25th pick, Houston Rockets: The Rockets have the flexibility to allow Daniels a season in the D-League to bulk up on a NBA strength training regimen.
  • 35th pick, Utah Jazz: Young at every position the Jazz can go after the best player available which at this point in the draft, could be Daniels.
  • 43rd pick, Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks need a perimeter scorer, if they don’t fill this need in the first round look for them to fill it here.

Update: Daniels is an intriguing prospect as his NBA career is based mostly off potential. He is largely considered one of the biggest steals in the draft however was left off Chad Ford’s latest mock draft. Daniels could go as early as late first round or possibly slide out of the draft. With Josh Smith’s future up in the air, look for the Pistons to take a chance on Daniels with the 38th pick. 

Draft Projections: Niels Giffey

Analysts have Giffey anywhere from late second round to undrafted. As an underexposed role player, workouts will only help Giffey get his name out there. Scouts at the Portsmouth Invitational came away impressed and there is no reason to believe that trend will not continue. Here are some second round opportunities for Giffey:

  • 32nd, 39th, 47th, 52nd or 54th, Philadelphia 76ers: With five second round picks to go along with two lottery picks, the 76ers can address immediate needs and plan for the future.
  • 58th or 60th, San Antonio Spurs: Giffey is the epitome of a role player on a team of role players.  
  • New York Knicks: With no draft picks and change on the horizon, the Knicks could look to make moves. 

Update: I am torn here between the San Antonio Spurs and New York Knicks. In a blockbuster move yesterday, the Knicks acquired the 34th and 51st picks, among others, from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Tyson Chandler. The Knicks have been known to take chances on European players in the past, however Giffey fits perfectly into San Antonio’s organizational philosophy. Still, look for the Knicks to take their chances on Giffey with the 51st pick.

  

Deandre Daniels 2014 NBA Draft Combine Recap

nba.com

nba.com

Deandre Daniels entered the 2014 NBA Draft Combine as a question mark to NBA teams. Plagued by inconsistent play throughout his career at UCONN, Daniels comes off a breakout NCAA tournament that saw him average 16 points/7 rebounds as the second scoring option. Highly praised for his length and athleticism, let’s see how Daniels matched up against top small forwards (not named McDermott/Parker/Wiggins) in the draft.

Top Small Forwards: Cleanthony Early (Wichita State), Deandre Daniels (UCONN), Jerami Grant (Syracuse), Rodney Hood (Duke), K.J. McDaniels (Clemson), Glenn Robinson III (Michigan)

Drills

Daniels used the drill section of the combine to show scouts his NCAA tournament shooting performance was not a fluke. The three-point shooting drills were separated into two parts, 25 shots from NBA range (break left, break right, corner left, corner right, top of the key) and 25 shots from NCAA range (same spots). Below I have combined the three-point shooting results of the small forwards prospects into one table:

SF Rank Spot Up 3 Point Shooting Percentage
1 Robinson 62%
2 Hood 60%
3 Daniels 54%
4 McDaniels 50%
5 Early 44%
6 Grant 40%

Daniels 3P% increased dramatically during each of his three seasons at Connecticut, from 24%-31%-42%. Although his form is unique, if Daniels can continue to improve his shot he has the size and length to shoot over NBA small forwards.

The next shooting drill put players on the move with shots off the dribble left, right and at the top of the key to simulate in-game action. Daniels remained in the middle of the pack, demonstrating he is not just a spot up shooter but can create his own shot off the dribble.

SF Rank Non-Stationary Shooting Percentage
1 Hood 78%
2 Robinson 72%
3 Daniels 67%
4 McDaniels 60%
5 Grant 53%
6 Early 51%

Measurements

Arguably the most athletic position in the NBA, scouts are especially concerned with a players height, wingspan, standing reach and max vertical. Essentially, length and athleticism. Here is how Daniels compared to other elite small forwards at the combine. Note: Andrew Wiggins is widely considered the most athletic player in the draft and his numbers are included for comparisons sake, although he was not in attendance.

Player Height (shoes) Wingspan Standing Reach Max Vertical
Daniels 6-8 1/2 7-2 8-10 1/2 32
Early 6-7 1/4 6-10 3/4 8-5 1/2 40
Grant 6-7 3/4 7-2 3/4 8-11 N/A
Hood 6-8 1/2 6-8 1/2 8-7 36
McDaniels 6-6 6-11 3/4 8-6 37
Robinson 6-6 3/4 6-10 8-4 1/2 41.5
Wiggins 6-8 3/4 7-0 8-11 44*

*unofficial

Stock: Up or Down?

Up. A player with as many inconsistencies as Deandre Daniels needed solid measurements to complement his tremendous potential. Aside from Jerami Grant – who will most likely switch to power forward in the NBA- Daniels led small forwards in almost all categories. He tied for the tallest of the group at 6-8 1/2 and at 7-2, his massive wingspan is 2 inches longer than that of Andrew Wiggins. Also, Daniels standing reach was by far the longest of small forwards present at the combine, a whopping 6 inches greater than Glenn Robinson III. One last notable measurement: 9 1/4 inches. This is the length of Daniels’ hand, largest among small forwards and tied for second largest in the entire combine. As you can see from the table above, Deandre is right on par with his peers physically. Strong, aggressive workouts will separate him from the pack and solidify a first round selection.

Draft Projections

Deandre Daniels has the talent to be a late first round draft pick. On the other hand, scouts see him as a second round selection due to his pencil-thin frame and lack of strength. In a draft full of talented small forwards, Daniels’ performance in workouts will ultimately seal his fate. In my opinion, Deandre is one of the most underrated players in the draft and could make an impact for a contender after a season in the D-League. Here are some possible destinations:

  • 25th pick, Houston Rockets: The Rockets have the flexibility to allow Daniels a season in the D-League to bulk up on a NBA strength training regimen.
  • 35th pick, Utah Jazz: Young at every position the Jazz can go after the best player available which at this point in the draft, could be Daniels.
  • 43rd pick, Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks need a perimeter scorer, if they don’t fill this need in the first round look for them to fill it here.

Workout Updates

Miami Heat: May 26th along with PJ Hairston (UNC)/Cleanthony Early (Wichita State)

Boston Celtics: June 3rd along with Kyle Anderson (UCLA)

Atlanta Hawks: TBD along with Johnny O’Bryant (LSU)

Former players already on the move…

Just a few days removed from graduation and those leaving the UCONN basketball program are already on the move. Deandre Daniels and Shabazz Napier will represent UCONN as two of sixty players worldwide selected to attend the 2014 NBA Draft Combine. Held in Chicago, the draft combine tests physical ability while also allowing scouts the chance to interview players for the first time. The combine is especially important for players hovering outside the lottery, such as Napier and Daniels. Look for Daniels to impress.

In anderen nachrichten, Niels Giffey will be traveling to Indianapolis Wednesday to resume training for impending NBA workouts and Leon Tolksdorf is officially an American…Eagle.

 

Deandre Daniels and Ryan Boatright NBA Draft Update

The deadline for NCAA underclassmen to declare for the 2014 NBA Draft is April 27th. For Deandre Daniels and Ryan Boatright, this means a decision will be announced in the next few days. As a Husky fan, I would love to see these two back in blue and white next season but with millions of dollars at stake there are many more contributing factors. Here is how I think it will all play out:

Ryan Boatright

Ryan Boatright would benefit from another year in school. Helter-skelter at times, another year under the tutelage of a former NBA point guard would seem to be the rational decision. However, this was not a rational year. Boat is coming off a courageous NCAA tournament performance that drove his stock to an all-time high. Critics allude to his size and decreased statistical performance as indicators he should return for his senior season. I do not understand the size argument, Boat will be the same height next year if he stays and enters the 2015 draft. He will be as undersized then as he is now. The difference is, now his stock is at its peak (barring a repeat). His size will remain the same but his stock can only drop. To address the statistics argument, Boat averaged 12.1 points/3.5 rebounds/3.4 assists this season down from 15.4 points/4.4 assists a year ago. Ok, yes, that’s a drop off of 3 points and 1 assist, but, if you take a deeper look, you will see he took 2 less shots, grabbed .5 more rebounds and committed 1 less turnover per game. Also, we won the National Championship. Boat’s production didn’t drop off, he found his place in the winning formula. Protecting the ball, crashing the glass and accepting a diminished role offensively was what we needed from Boat and that’s exactly what he gave us. He put the team over individual performance, demonstrating his maturation from freshman year. A non-basketball factor to take into account is the death of Boatright’s cousin, Arin Williams, who was shot to death in January outside Chicago. I am sure the desire to move his family to a safer location will play a role in his decision.

To Stay or Go?

Prediction: Enters NBA Draft, mid to late second round pick

 

 Deandre Daniels

Deandre Daniels is another player who could benefit from one more year under Coach Ollie. Standing at 6’9 195 lbs, another year in the weight room seems appropriate as well. On the other hand, Daniels is coming off a NCAA Tournament that saw him play his best basketball in a UCONN uniform including 27 points/10 rebounds vs Iowa State and a 20/10 game vs Florida. Daniels’ length, athleticism and skill set are all highly coveted by NBA GM’s. Does he stay or does he go? As in the case of Boatright I believe Deandre will cash in on his high stock. The opportunity is too hot to pass up. In a draft loaded with talent at the small forward position- Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Cleanthony Early-  Deandre has something none of them have, a ring, the mark of a winner. Another case to consider is that of former UCONN big man Alex Oriakhi, who played a similar role to Daniels on the 2011 National Championship team. After much deliberation Oriakhi chose to remain in Storrs, a move you cannot blame him for but ultimately led to his demise. Oriakhi picked school over stock and is now fighting his way through the D-League to get back to the promised land. Rest assured his decision will be weighing in the back of Deandre’s mind throughout the process.

To Stay or Go?

Prediction: Enters NBA Draft, late 1st round to early 2nd round pick