MY-Basket.it – Interview with K.J. McDaniels of Clemson

The Clemson Tigers are one fo the NCAA teams that will be in Italy in August to partecipate in NCAA Vicenza Tour. To learn more about the college who will take part in the prestigious event, we have an interview with K.J. McDaniels, one of the Tigers top players. The guard ha finished his sophomore year with 10.9 points and 5 rebounds in 27.5 minutes per game: this sammer he will be one of the most anticipated players in Italy. K.J. comes from a strong basketball pedigree. Father, Kevin McDaniels Sr., played at South Alabama from 1989-91 and was selected in the second team of the All-Sun Belt Conference. The son is a very interesting prospect that still has room for improvement: he play with tremendous athleticism and has the ability to make spectacular plays.

What does it mean basketball in your life? What are your aims in this game and, more generally, in your life?
“Basketball is a very important part of my life. I was introduced to the game by my father, who played in college at South Alabama in the United States. I developed a strong interest in it at a pretty early age, and it has continued to this day.”

You’re living the dream of many young Italians: college, an institution that doesn’t exist in Italy. What can you tell us about your
life in Clemson?
“Clemson is a great place to play ball. It’s a small town, so everyone is very friendly in the community and supportive of the athletic teams. A lot of people are passionate about Clemson basketball, so that is exciting. Our school plays in the best basketball conference within the NCAA system, the ACC. We get to play teams like Duke and North Carolina every year, so it brings out the competitor in you.”

 In your opinion, what are your strengths? What part of the game would you like to improve?
“Right now, I’m just trying to work on my mid-range game. I’ve worked a lot on my jumpshot the past two years under Coach (Brad) Brownell. I’m pretty athletic, so that part of the game has always come easier to me. You know, getting putback dunks, running the floor, blocking shots. But I’d have to say the two things I want to improve the most are my mid-range shooting and my ball-handling.”

The Tigers are missing from the tournament for three season: how do you assess your two season in Clemson? You hope to realize the dream to play in the tournament in the next two year?
“It’s been a little frustrating with so many close losses in my two years here at Clemson. We’re looking to change that this season. I haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament, but they say it’s an unbelievable experience. I hope to one day experience that soon with the Clemson Tigers.”

Have you ever make a trip abroad? Are you excited for the trip to Italy for the NCAA Italy Tour? What do you know about our country?
“The furthest I’ve ever been from home was Hawaii when we played in a Christmas tournament there my freshman year. All I know about Italy is that wine and food is part of the culture, but that’s really about it. I’m excited for something new, it will be a neat experience for our team.”

What are your plans for the future? Are you planning to play basketball as a pro after college?
“I got an invitation to the Kevin Durant Skills Academy in Washington, DC this June. It was humbling to get that type of invite…It’s the next step for me in my game, another level of competition. The best college players in the country will be there. I’m definitely looking forward to that experience and showing what I can do.”