PROLIFIC DANIELS TAKES AIM AT NBA

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Former Ram Troy Daniels set a D-League record for 3-pointers on Jan. 29. He has 159 treys this season.

Former Ram Troy Daniels set a D-League record for 3-pointers on Jan. 29. He has 159 treys this season.

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Feb. 3, Troy Daniels was selected for the D-League All-Star Game on Feb. 15.

Early in training camp, Nevada Smith laid out one of the more unconventional elements of his coaching philosophy: he wanted his team, the NBA D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers, to shoot more than 40 three-pointers a game.

While it’s a strategy that was sure to rankle a few traditionalists, Troy Daniels felt like he’d hit the lottery.

“Oh yeah. I was like a kid in a candy store,” said Daniels, a 2013 VCU graduate and D-League rookie.

Daniels’ basketball career is nothing if not prolific. Last season, he hit a VCU-record 124 three-pointers, 32 more than the previous mark. In a game against East Tennessee State last year, Daniels bombed 11 triples – many from NBA range. In his four-year career, 85 percent of his field goal attempts came from beyond the 3-point arc.

In other words, he was born to play in this offense.

The results have been historic. In 29 games with the Vipers, an affiliate of the Houston Rockets, Daniels has been one of the D-League’s breakout stars, averaging 23.4 points and a league-high 5.5 three-pointers per game. On Jan. 29, Daniels hit his 153rd three-pointer to break the D-League mark of 152, set by Andy Rautins, and did so in 21 fewer games. He is now 159-of-392 from three in 29 games.

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TROY DANIELS: MAN ON FIRE

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Troy Daniels, no longer a Bobcat, but for their sake, they should continue to keep tabs on him.

Troy Daniels, no longer a Bobcat, but for their sake, they should continue to keep tabs on him.

The word “Hidalgo” in Spanish is a term of nobility, although in later years it has been adopted somewhat informally. The Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA D-League play in Hidalgo, Texas, which is, almost quite literally, a 3-pointer away from the Mexican border.

Former Ram Troy Daniels’ career with the Vipers, the D-League affiliate of the Houston Rockets, is just five games old, but he’s already playing in a way that should merit some type of designation of nobility, or at least a gift certificate to El Torito over on Jackson St. If we elect for the former, we’d have something like, Hidalgo de la Canasta de Tres Puntos (forgive my butchered Spanish).

In five games, Daniels, a walking NBA Jam trope during his final two seasons at VCU, is averaging 25.0 points and shooting 53 percent (33-of-62) from 3-point range. Yes, in five games, Daniels – who once hit 11 triples in a game at East Tennessee State in college – has hit 33 treys. Last night, in a 153(yes, 153)-109 win over Delaware, Daniels hit 6-of-10 threes in 21 minutes. The night before, he bombed 7-of-12 from beyond the arc in just 24 minutes. Daniels hit six of those threes in one nine-minute stretch.

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