By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- After a week of living the life of a collegiate student athlete, Clemson Basketball freshman KJ McDaniels of Birmingham, AL, feels as if he’s adjusted well to his new daily routine however believes that the process has been a learning experience.
“My classes and basketball were both very different in high school,” McDaniels said. “However I’m learning to adjust from high school to college, in the class room the professors and the strict tutoring have definitely helped.”
The 6-6, 195 pound forward believes that enrolling in summer classes at Clemson instead of enrolling in the fall has already proven to be the right move.
“By taking summer classes, I’m learning now how different college life is compared to high school. Also by enrolling early, I’ve been able to develop more on the basketball court.”
On the court, McDaniels credits his upperclassmen teammates in helping him adjust to the speed of the game.
“We’ve been playing pickup games every day and that has definitely helped me adjust to playing basketball at the college level.”
Who out of the upperclassmen has been the hardest for McDaniels to adjust to playing against?
“They’re all difficult to guard however the hardest to me would have to be Tanner Smith,” McDaniels said. “He’s an outstanding shooter; you can’t give him any space. He’s been the most difficult for me to guard.”
McDaniels knows about Clemson’s reputation last year for having one of the best defenses in ACC history, leading the conference in scoring defense, and knows that his defensive game will only improve by learning from the upper classmen.
“I’ve been played hard by Bryan Narcisse,” McDaniels said. “I like how he plays defense on me because he’s a very good defensive player and shows me what I need to improve on.”
As for his role on the team, McDaniels realizes that it will be his job to bring energy and spark to the game and he hopes that he will eventually be able to start for Coach Brownell’s Tigers.
McDaniels chose Clemson mainly because of the atmosphere.
“It’s pretty much a family here at Clemson,” McDaniels said. “I really liked how the coaches here recruited me. They brought me in and introduced me to everyone and were very genuine.”