Daniels drafted to the big league

June 30, 2022 BY

Big stage: Dyson Daniels is congratulated by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being selected eighth overall by the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA basketball draft. Photo: JOHN MINCHILLO/ AP

DYSON Daniels’ dream came true last Friday as he was selected to play in the NBA with the eighth pick in the 2022 Draft.

Daniels will line-up for the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2022-23 NBA season beginning in October.

Impressing with his defensive ability in the G-League last season, Daniels joins Zion Williamson at the Pelicans, a side that made this year’s post season.

“Joining this team, I can help them do better in the playoffs,” he said.

“I’m a winner, I hate losing so I’ll do whatever they need and I can definitely step into some roles and contribute straight away.

“I am just so happy… to be a Pelican, there’s no better place. I can’t wait to get to work. This is crazy.”

At Bendigo Stadium, the local basketball community gathered to watch the Draft, erupting into cheers when they heard NBA commissioner Adam Silver read out the local player’s name.

Junior coach Ben McCauley, who oversaw Daniels’ development from under-12s to under-18s, said he was knew the shooting guard was destined for greatness when he saw him play for the first time.

“When I was lucky enough to coach him, he just wanted to learn, he was happy to take all feedback good or bad and just become a better basketballer,” he said.

“Dyson was special from under 12s, he could play. He could read the game and he always worked hard. He could score, he could play D.

“It’s exciting seeing a kid from Bendigo make it in the NBA and I think the Pelicans have 100 to 120,000 extra supporters now.”

With the Draft held at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York, Daniels was joined by his dad and Bendigo Braves legend Ricky Daniels, mum Brikitta Kool-Daniels and brothers Kai and Dash at the event.

The inside of Daniels’ jacket featured a map of Victoria with Bendigo embroidered across it, as well as a tribute to his family.

Family friend Ben Harvey said it was special moment to see a kid from Bendigo make it to the NBA.

“There’s no doubt he’s going to a great club where he’s going to play, sometimes you get drafted and there might be some players in front of you,” he said.

Mr Harvey said he’s already thought about recruiting Daniels to run some clinics in the NBA offseason next May.

“He’s so humble he’s done that anyway,” he said. “He won’t change, he’s a good kid, it’s just his life’s changed a little bit financially. Dreams come true, he’s worked his butt off, and we couldn’t be prouder of him.”