(Note: This is the fifth of a series of player reviews from the CU men’s basketball team for the 2019-20 season).
During the 2018-19 season, the Colorado men’s basketball team posted a 3-point percentage of .323, the second lowest mark in what then was a nine-season tenure at CU for head coach Tad Boyle.
Maddox Daniels was brought to Boulder out of the junior college ranks to help the Buffs regain their form from the arc, which typically has been a CU strength under Boyle. In that regard, the addition of Daniels paid dividends, though the junior guard experienced more than his share of the ups and downs typical of players making the jump from junior college to leagues like the Pac-12 Conference.
If Daniels was at all intimidated after making the move from SouthWestern State College, it didn’t show early, as the 6-foot-6 guard enjoyed an impressive start. In his CU debut in a win against Arizona State in the Pac-12’s annual game in China, Daniels went 2-for-3 from long range and 3-for-4 overall, finishing with eight points off the bench.
Over the season’s first five games, Daniels went 7-for-14 on 3-pointers and 9-for-18 overall. However, he then hit his first Division I rookie wall, going 1-for-15 from the arc over the next seven games, a run capped by two quick misfires while playing a season-low two minutes in the Buffs’ win against Dayton in Chicago on Dec. 21.
Daniels bounced back in the next game against Iona, going 3-for-4 on 3-pointers while scoring a season-best 10 points. That game started a nine-game run into the start of Pac-12 play in which Daniels went 13-for-23 on 3-pointers while posting nine assists against four turnovers. That run ended with Daniels’ only start of the season at UCLA, as he replaced D’Shawn Schwartz when he was dealing with a stomach bug.
Daniels suffered a concussion against UCLA and sat out the win at USC two nights later. Despite providing a spark during an overtime loss at Utah in the regular season finale, hitting a pair of 3-pointers while grabbing a season-high six rebounds, Daniels never quite regained his early form following the concussion. After his one-game absence, Daniels was just 5-for-18 from the arc over the final 10 games.
Daniels finished with a .382 3-point percentage (26-for-68) , which matched his overall field goal percentage (34-for-89). His long-range game helped CU improve from the .323 mark on 3s in 2018-19 to a .351 mark this season.
He averaged 13.3 minutes per game and averaged just 1.3 rebounds per game, though he averaged 2.0 over the final 10 games. Daniels struggled to score without spotting up from the arc, attempting just 12 free throws all season, and he also struggled during the few occasions he was called upon to handle the ball, finishing with 22 assists against 26 turnovers.
With a year of Division I experience under his belt, Daniels should be in the mix for the wing rotation once again in 2020-21, though he likely will face more competition for playing time. At 6-foot-6, Daniels was the only true bigger wing at Boyle’s disposal behind the 6-foot-7 Schwartz. That will change next year with CU’s two in-state recruits, 6-foot-5 Dominique Clifford and 6-foot-7 Luke O’Brien, joining the mix. And Boyle still could add another piece to the wing rotation this spring as CU looks to fill three open scholarships.