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While CU Buffs teammates pursue new opportunities, Maddox Daniels opts to end playing career

3-point ace declines chance to use extra year of eligibility

BOULDER, CO - Dec. 16, 2020: ...
BOULDER, CO – December 16, 2020: Colorado’s Maddox Daniels goes hard to the basket on Omaha’s Matt Pile. The Colorado Buffaloes played the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks in Boulder on December 16, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

D’Shawn Schwartz will attempt to replicate some of his Colorado late-game magic at George Mason. Dallas Walton will man the post for Wake Forest, while Jeriah Horne is returning to the Tulsa program that gave the Buffaloes their first graduate transfer a year ago.

For Maddox Daniels, the immediate future will be much different.

After a two-year run with the Buffs that included a solid all-around season off the bench in 2020-21, Daniels has opted to end his playing career despite an opportunity to play an additional season thanks to the NCAA’s eligibility relief granted from the 2020-21 pandemic season. While many of his former CU classmates take advantage of that extra season, Daniels will embark on his career goal of becoming a sort of life coach focused on helping people improve their emotional, physical and even spiritual well-being.

“My mindset going into the season was win as many games as possible. Pac-12 championship, NCAA Tournament, and go pro. That was my goals,” Daniels said. “But as the season progressed and I continued to explore other things in my off time when we weren’t practicing and stuff like that. Just other passions of mine, as far as helping people with their health and other things that are fulfilling for me from a lifestyle standpoint.

“Towards the end of the season, I kind of knew but I was focused on basketball and trying to stay in the moment. Once the season ended I kind of just knew it was time. I’m just ready to move on to this next chapter in my life.”

Daniels arrived in 2019 as a junior college transfer from Florida SouthWestern State, appearing in 31 of the Buffs’ 32 games in the 2019-20 season while averaging 3.2 points. Daniels turned in a much more efficient senior season this past year, playing in all 32 games with a scoring average of 5.3. Daniels recorded just 22 assists against 26 turnovers during his first season at CU but turned that ratio completely around this year, posting 32 assists with 16 turnovers.

As a spot-up shooter, Daniels didn’t get to the free throw line frequently. Yet after going just 5-for-12 from the line as a junior, Daniels contributed to the Buffs’ team and Pac-12 record-setting .819 mark in 2020-21 by going 13-for-15. Daniels shot .374 (64-for-171) from 3-point range during his two seasons with the Buffs.

In CU’s two NCAA Tournament games, Daniels went 3-for-6 overall and knocked down his only tourney 3-point attempt in the Buffs’ season-ending loss in the second round against Florida State. Daniels also matched a career-high with four assists against the Seminoles. For a former junior college player who understood his playing days quickly were nearing an end, Daniels said he made certain to savor those postseason moments.

“If it wasn’t for basketball, I wouldn’t have realized all these other things about myself from an identity standpoint, from a standpoint of what I want to do moving forward,” Daniels said. “My personal philosophy anyway is to be present in the moment and enjoy this life and this experience. I definitely was soaking it all in and enjoying the experience with my teammates and coaches. Being locked in, being super-present, and just having fun and enjoying it. Not a lot of people get to do what I did, what we did this year.

“This year and everything that went on is something I’ll never forget.”