TALE OF THREE CITIES; DANIELS ON THE MOVE IN 2ND NBA SEASON

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VCU alum Troy Daniels is averaging 2.7 points and shooting .317 from 3-point range this season.

VCU alum Troy Daniels is averaging 2.7 points and shooting .317 from 3-point range this season.

Troy Daniels is technically a Houston resident – he has a town home there – but he’s officially been living out of a suitcase the past couple of months.

It’s been a whirlwind second NBA season for the former VCU sharpshooter. Daniels, briefly a playoff hero for the Houston Rockets last season, has been traded twice since December. Despite the shuffling of zip codes, Daniels is still happy to be wearing in NBA uniform, regardless of where the team is located.

“It’s fun to even be considered by an NBA team, and I just appreciate the opportunities I’ve been given,” he says.

For now, and presumably for the near future, he’s a Charlotte Hornet, but he also thought he’d be a Houston Rocket for a while, until the team dealt him to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Dec. 19. Before he’d even had time to pick out a favorite grocery store, he and teammate Mo Williams were traded to Charlotte on Feb 10.

It’s actually Daniels’ second tour of duty with the Hornets. Daniels played for the organization’s summer league team and earned a training camp invite as an undrafted free agent in 2013.

The irony is that Charlotte, then known as the Bobcats, cut Daniels, which actually may have helped launch his NBA career. He was quickly signed by Houston, which stashed him with its Rio Grande D-League team. Daniels flourished in Rio Grande’s revolutionary, 3-point-heavy system, as the Roanoke, Virginia native set a D-League single-season record for threes.

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VCU RAMS IN THE PROS: MEN’S BASKETBALL

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Troy Daniels is averaging 3.5 points in 11 games with the Minnesota Timberwolves this season.

Troy Daniels is averaging 3.5 points in 11 games with the Minnesota Timberwolves this season.

NBA

Troy Daniels ’13 (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Daniels has played fewer than 40 NBA games, but he’s already had an eventful career. Although he signed a two-year contract extension with the Houston Rockets in the offseason, Daniels was traded in December to the Timberwolves. The move has resulted in slightly more playing time for the former VCU sharpshooter (9.4 mpg to 6.4 mpg). Overall, Daniels is averaging 3.0 points, while shooting 32 percent (23-of-73) from 3-point range in 28 games this season.

Daniels was understandably one of the NBA’s feel-good stories last season. After averaging 21.5 points per game while setting 3-point shooting records at the Rockets’ D-League affiliate, Daniels earned a late-season call-up. Despite playing in just five regular-season games (averaging 8.5 ppg), Daniels averaged 17 minutes per game off the bench in the Rockets’ playoff series with Portland. In Game Three, Daniels broke a 116-116 tie with a 3-pointer with 12 seconds remaining in overtime. Houston won 121-116.

Larry Sanders ’10 (Milwaukee Bucks)
Sanders, hoping to bounce back from a 2013-14 season marred by injuries and suspension, was averaging 7.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots in 27 games before taking a leave to deal with personal issues. Sanders said recently he is working through those issues and hopes to be in a position to play again at some point. It is unclear when he will return.

Sanders has averaged 6.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks shots per game in five seasons with the Bucks.

OVERSEAS

L.F. Likholitov ’02 (Krasny Oktyabr – Russia)
St. Petersburg, Russia native L.F. Likholitov has continues to plug away as a pro with Krasny Oktyabr, where he’s currently teaming with LeBron James’ high school teammate (and former European teammate of Jamal Shuler) Romeo Travis. The 34-year-old Likholitov has appeared in eight games this season and is averaging 2.3 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. Likholitov ranks second in VCU history with 207 blocked shots.

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VCU-ETSU THROWBACK: NUCLEAR TROY DANIELS

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Monday night, VCU and East Tennessee State resume a series that dates back to 1971. VCU leads the all-time series 10-0 and perhaps the most memorable of those games was the last between these two schools, a January 2, 2013 match-up. In that contest, Troy Daniels erupted for a school-record 11 three-pointers, some of them from “I-Dare-You” range, in a 109-58 rout. Let’s relive that memorable performance.

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Here’s the VCU box from that night:

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Not only were Daniels’ 11 threes the most in college basketball that season, but Ken Pomeroy says the 33:12 it took him was the quickest anybody’s taken 20 attempts since 2010.

Here’s how the Internet reacted to Daniels’ performance.

TROY DANIELS, HOTTER THAN THE SUN(S)

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This year, Troy Daniels is in the Houston Rockets’ training camp not as an unknown free agent clinging to hope – as he was last year at this time – but as a guy who has already won his roster spot and is now looking to carve out a more prominent role. Daniels appears on the right track in the early going. Although coaches love to run out all kinds of lineup combinations in NBA preseason games, the former VCU sharpshooter has managed to impress. Monday night, he scored 12 points for the Rockets in a win over the Phoenix Suns – including a floater, which somebody should tell him is only worth two points. We all know Troy Daniels has no time for baskets worth less than three points. Have no fear, he made three 3-pointers as well and is 5-of-11 from long range in three preseason games. Thankfully, the Internet is here to provide us with highlights of Daniels’ effort tonight. Thanks Interwebs!

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RAM REPORT: SPRING 2014

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The Spring 2014 Ram Report is now online. Plenty to digest, including features on VCU Baseball’s Seth Greene (who lost his mother entirely too young), Lacrosse’s Jen O’Brien (starting a program from scratch) and Khalid Khamis (who left his native Sudan). There are also artistic renderings of VCU’s new basketball practice facility and the forthcoming centerhung scoreboard and video boards, as well as other tidbits. Check it out HERE (or click on the big picture).

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TROY DANIELS IS RIDICULOUS

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Here’s Troy Daniels, you know, the former Ram, undrafted free agent rookie, scoring 17 points in the second NBA Playoff game of his life. I’m not going to say much more because I’m running out of superlatives for Daniels, other than to add, rather obviously, that he’s perhaps the best story of the first round of the playoffs. Houston’s down 3-1 in the series to Portland, so hopefully Daniels has a few heroics left in the holster so we can KEEP WATCHING TROY DANIELS BURY THREES FOR DAYS.

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TROY DANIELS IS A ROCKET, MAN

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Troy Daniels was recalled from the NBA D-League Wednesday. So the former VCU 3-point gunner hopped on a plane and met the Houston Rockets in Denver and started bombing threes from the airport terminal. Well, almost.

The Rockets trailed by 17 heading into the fourth quarter, so they unloaded their bench of D-League All-Stars, including Daniels. It took Daniels about .7 seconds to start firing away. In all, the former Ram hit 4-of-6 triples to help the Rockets rally to within six. Prior to Wednesday, Daniels had played a grand total of eight NBA minutes. After this 12-point, 11-minute performance, you’ve got to think Rockets’ Coach Kevin McHale (responsible for one of the greatest episodes of “Cheers” in history) will consider getting his rookie shooting guard a little more burn the last four games of the regular season.

And look, we have highlights! Thanks Internets!

VIDEO: TROY DANIELS SCORES HIS FIRST NBA POINTS

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Awesome moment for Troy Daniels. Here are his first two buckets as a Houston Rocket. Naturally, his first NBA bucket was a three. The first of many, we hope.

TRIPLE PLAY; RAMS RIDE ARC OVER GW

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VCU hit 13-of-25 from beyond the 3-point arc in a 92-75 win over George Washington.

RICHMOND, Va. – Troy Daniels hit the first 3-pointers before the game even started, and the arc exhibition didn’t end until more than two hours later.

Whether or not the VCU grad inspired his former team is a matter of conjecture, but the Rams certainly followed his lead, riding a season-high 13 three-pointers (on 25 attempts) to a crucial 92-75 win over George Washington Wednesday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena.

Daniels, who set a school single-season record with 124 three-pointers for VCU last season, was in Richmond while the NBA D-League, where he plays with the Houston Rockets-affiliated Rio Grande Valley Vipers, is on its all-star break. Daniels was called on for a pregame promotion which challenges participants to hit shots to win pizza. After a successful layup and free throw, Daniels swished his 3-point attempt. Then, from halfcourt, he banked home his second attempt to win free pizza for the entire arena.

The fans weren’t the only ones feeding off of 3-pointers, however. Once the game started, VCU feasted by hitting 8-of-14 in the first half alone to roll to a stunning 45-28 advantage. In the second half, the Rams were less prolific and more opportunistic, beating back a George Washington comeback with timely treys. Meanwhile, the Colonials were 0-of-8 from three in the first half and 6-of-18 for the game.

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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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