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K.J not awestruck by playing with King James

  by David Hood - Senior Writer - Wednesday, July 31, 2013 10:26 PM

McDaniels averaged 10.9 points and 5 rebounds for the Tigers last season. (TigerNet Staff)

There are a lot of basketball fans and players across the country who would like to say that they met LeBron James, who arguably reigns as the best player in the NBA. Clemson’s K.J. McDanielsK.J. McDaniels
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can now tell everyone that he got to play in a game with James.

The Clemson junior earned an invitation to the Kevin Durant Skills Academy that was held in late June in Washington, D.C. The NBA superstar’s camp features the top high school and college wing forwards from across the nation, and is administered by Nike Elite Youth Basketball.

The best players from Durant’s camp earned an invitation to James’ camp – called the LeBron James Skills Academy – which was held July 5th-8th in Akron, OH. Twenty three of the nation’s top collegiate talent participated in James’ camp.

McDaniels told TigerNet Wednesday afternoon in Littlejohn Coliseum – where the Tigers were practicing in preparation for their trip to Italy in early August – that he felt like he became a better player by going to the camps.

“It helps me elevate my game and be the best player I can be,” McDaniels said. “To be able to go out there and compete with all those great players is an honor. To be selected with those other college players across the country was just amazing. I had fun with it.”

McDaniels said that there was a ton of talent out on the floor each day, but there was no doubt that the two best players he played with already earn professional paychecks.

“KD and LeBron,” McDaniels said of Durant and James. “Those are the two best players I played against. It was pretty fun playing against those guys.”

McDaniels said participating in the camps helped to break up a long summer.

“It was a good experience. I was looking forward to the whole thing,” he said. “When I heard from the Kevin Durant camp, I was excited to go. I went out there and met a few different people. It was pretty fun. LeBron had a nice setup for us. I appreciate everything. We did a lot of skills work in the morning and then we held scrimmages in the evening.”

McDaniels said he was only a little star struck when interacting with James.

“I wasn’t [star struck] when I was on the court with him, but when I first saw him I was,” McDaniels said. “I have been watching him since he came into the league. It was an honor to be there.

He said that while he didn’t have any highlight moments against James, he is still holding out hope it might happen one day.

“LeBron he didn’t guard me as much, because there were a lot of bigger players there and he guarded them,” McDaniels said. “So I didn’t get anything. But I will get him sometime.”

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