Perhaps it's only fitting that the bizarre, mysterious recruitment of 2011 basketball star prepster Deandre Daniels ended in a bizarre, shocking commitment to UCONN, a school seemingly not even on the radar in recent days. As Kansas reportedly fell out of contention, Oklahoma State gained traction as a darkhorse candidate, while the Longhorns remained steadily in contention. On Tuesday afternoon, the news broke via confirmation from a coach at the IMG Academy, where Daniels played his senior season, with little warning, an abrupt end to the long saga.
Following a commitment to Texas in early July of 2009 and subsequent de-commitment a little more than a year later, several scheduled dates to announce his commitment for a second time passed without a decision. As a result, Daniels did not ink a letter of intent during the spring signing period, meaning that he will enroll at UCONN after signing a financial aid agreement, a similar move to that of Brandon Knight last year and one that could become increasingly popular for big-time one-and-done college basketball recruits.
A versatile wing at 6-8 with exceptional handles for his size, Daniels has range out to the three-point line, as well as the ability to play some point forward in transition and take it coast to coast. Not a back-to-the-back player, Daniels does have the ability to get to the rim and finish around the basket with his athleticism and would have been an excellent fit with Myck Kabongo in the open court and in the Jazz flex offense that would have maximized his mid-range game.
Unfortunately, the Daniels decision just represents more dispiriting news from the Texas basketball program -- only briefly relieved by the commitment of Sterling Gibbs -- and puts Rick Barnes even more deeply into desperation mode in his attempts to find some help for the nine scholarship players on the roster, particularly on the wing and inside. Olu Ashaolu picked Oregon over Texas, leaving Tony Woods solidly on the radar. Other than Woods, it doesn't look like the Longhorns have many options left at this late date.