McDaniels' plays through the pain, believes sky is limit

by - Senior Writer -
K.J. McDaniels'

CLEMSON – K.J. McDanielsK.J. McDaniels
Fr. Guard
#32 6-5, 190
Birmingham, AL

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believes that the sky is the limit, as his high-flying moves on the basketball court can attest.

McDaniels’ play on the court has taken off – literally and figuratively – of late. He scored 11 points in a road loss at Miami last month before a hurt ankle curtailed his action on the court, but a healthy McDaniels was able to score 14 points, grab five rebounds and block five shots in 28 minutes of play Saturday afternoon in a close loss at Virginia Tech.

McDaniels told TigerNet Monday afternoon that his mother is always telling him that the sky is the limit, so he decided to add a tattoo on his upper left arm with the phrase last week.

During the loss against the Hokies, McDaniels had a few highlight reel dunks, and he said the phrase was on his mind after the first one.

“The sky is the limit is something that my mom has told me my entire life,” he said. “My mom and my dad have told me that, so I wanted to get a tattoo. I thought about the tattoo as soon as I got my first dunk. I wanted to keep playing as hard as I could.”

Clemson head coach Brad BrownellBrad Brownell
Head Coach
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said the Clemson offense needs what McDaniels can bring to the table – a player that can penetrate and drive to the basket.

“K.J. was very good in terms of taking the ball to the basketball,” Brownell said Monday. “He can explode to finish. It is critical [to have a player that can drive] – you want guys that can make a 3-point shot, a guy that can score in the low block and a guy that can drive by you. Offensively, you can’t be one dimensional. At times this season it has looked like we have been zero dimensional. That has been a problem with our team.”

McDaniels said that Brownell has challenged him to score more.

“He wants me to be more of a scorer and that is something that I want to do,” McDaniels said. “The key for me Saturday was for me to be able to come out and bring energy from the start. He [Brownell] gave me the chance to start and I filled it up.”

Brownell said that McDaniels is still a work in progress, and he wants to see the freshman get tougher, learn to play more physical and play through the pains accumulated in a long basketball season.

“He still needs work,” Brownell said. “He is still like a fawn that you are watching grow. He needs to get stronger. He needs to get more physical and get more power as a player. His skill set needs to get better so he can be a more complete player. He shows flashes of some things you can’t coach. He can get to some places and finish some plays that other guys can't just because of his athletic ability. But he needs to learn to play through the pain.”

McDaniels said that he believes he showed that toughness Saturday by playing on a sore ankle.

“I was still getting treatment on it, so I believe I showed heart,” he said. “I didn’t jump as high as I wanted to – I was actually just jumping off of one foot most of the time. But he [Brownell] asked me if I was in or out. I told him I was in. I didn’t want to show him any weakness, and I wanted to help the team.”

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