Australian basketball export Dyson Daniels was called up to the NBA with the New Orleans Pelicans choosing him at number eight.
- Bendigo’s Dyson Daniels has been called up to the NBA as their number eight pick
- He will play for the New Orleans Pelicans
- The 19-year-old made his debut for Australia in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in February 2021
The 19-year-old from Bendigo, in central Victoria, spent most of the past year in the United States playing for the NBA’s G League Ignite development team.
In that span, he averaged 11.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 3 turnovers per game.
With a wingspan of 6’11”, Daniels was also praised for his versatility to play in various positions on and off the ball, as well as his powerful defense.
Ben McCauley coached him at youth level and said he has always shown a strong determination to improve, even as a starter at the under-12 Bendigo Braves.
Fast rise for 19 year old
Daniels debuted for Australia in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in February 2021.
He also won silver when he played for Victoria in the Australian Under-20 Championship in May of last year.
He joined the NBA Academy in Canberra in August 2018.
But his rise to the best basketball league in the world was relatively quick and unconventional.
Instead of going to college, Daniels moved to the US to play for the new NBA development team, G League Ignite.
His former coaches and friends say his ability to create magic through a pass and be an ace is the cherry on top of his potential.
An inspiration for rural children
Australian Opals star Tess Madgen said hard work was the key ingredient for Daniels, as it is for all professional athletes.
“Never be happy to settle down,” she said.
“I don’t think at all he’s going to do that. He’s going to keep pushing and pushing himself to become the best he can be.”
She praised the Bendigo Braves organization for the opportunities they created for their players.
“The Braves are a great club and organization and they really have the avenues available for people to become whatever they want,” she said.
“The coaches are elite and the facilities are incredible.
Bendigo basketball supporters hope this will help them attract more young players.