Which DeAndre Daniels showed up tonight? This is sadly the question most Connecticut Huskies fans are asking each and every time the Huskies take the floor.
Inconsistency is acceptable for freshmen as they try to adjust to putting together good games against good competition. For Daniels, a junior and one of the leaders with Connecticut, this type of inconsistent play is just unacceptable and unbecoming of a former highly rated prospect out of high school.
In the four major games that the Huskies have played in this year, Daniels has come up small. Against Indiana, Florida, Louisville and Cincinnati, four of the Huskies’ major opponents they have played this season, Daniels has not been able to produce like he has when the spotlight is not on him.
Daniels has failed to score more than 15 points against any of these teams and fortunately, the Huskies were still able to win two of these four games. What’s most concerning is that in Daniels’ past two primetime performances, he only had three points against Louisville and did not suit up against Cincinnati with an ankle injury.
However, the talented forward has been able to produce when there has been no pressure on him. Against Temple, Daniels put up 31 points on 11 of 19 shooting and earlier this season had 23 points against Memphis on nine for 15 shooting. Yet, these performances won’t matter come March when the competition level gets tougher and tougher.
Connecticut has been able to get by with Daniels’ inconsistent play because they probably have the best backcourt in the country in Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright, along with one of the best young coaches in America in Kevin Ollie. To be a serious contender in the tournament, they need a consistent third scorer that Daniels can be ever so often.
For the Huskies to make any significant “march” in March Madness, Daniels must produce when the cameras and spotlights are on him, not when they are turned off.