Draft prospects on backburner, McDaniels focusing on 'task at hand'

NIT: Men's Basketball - Brad Brownell &  K J McDaniels celebrate the Tigers' win

Photo by Mark Crammer

NIT: Men's Basketball - Brad Brownell & K J McDaniels celebrate the Tigers' win

First, the chant rang out pregame as Clemson stood 40 minutes from a trip to Madison Square Garden.

One more year. One more year.

First-team All-ACC forward K.J. McDaniels was being honored for joining the 1,000-point club in his Clemson career.

“It was special,” Brad Brownell, his coach for the last three years said. “We wanted to honor K.J. for scoring his 1,000th point. We do it for every player. It was meaningful and it was special to him. It was a very rewarding night for a young man that’s put in a lot of hard work and done a lot for this program.

“It was special for him.”

The Birmingham, Ala. native posted his 16th game this season with at least 15 points (16), six rebounds or more (6) and a block (2) – all carrying some extra push from those festivities.

“I was emotional when they said that,” McDaniels said. “I was just focusing on our task at hand and we went out there and did what I had to do.”

As “New York, New York” played over the loudspeakers, the chant was back – when McDaniels was pressed later on it – his answer came with a shrug and a smile.

“I don’t (have one),” he said.

Appearing on the WCCP’s Roy Philpott Show, the answer was a longer version of the same – reiterating focus on the "task at hand” key for the next week where they hope to bring a trophy back from the Big Apple.

McDaniels also said he will take some time after the season to decide.

His NBA draft stock varies depending on where you look – included as a first-rounder via ESPN and CBS mock drafts and also completely off the board on others.

Where there’s no question is his off-the-charts athletic ability, which combined with improved shooting skills, will get him plenty of looks at the next level – and all it takes is one team to take that particular interest.

For Brownell, the matchup next Tuesday with SMU (7 p.m., ESPN2) acts as a well-deserved prize for McDaniels and the rest of a young, gritty roster.

“We had some things go against us and there’s nothing we could do about it so we go on to the next task,” Brownell said. “The next task was to play well in this tournament. Our guys have responded very well, practiced well and approached it the right way and had to beat some good teams.

“It’s been very rewarding and certainly it’s been fun to interact with our fans, especially the last couple games. That kind of support has meant a lot to us.”

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Comments » 2

michtiger writes:

I hope for KJ's sake and ours he stays. He will be playing at the 2 guard in NBA and he needs work on the 3 ball and longer jumper. He made great progress last summer and with a decent returning cast he can make bigger strides and more $s. Most experts see more time.

BrandonRink writes:

in response to michtiger:

I hope for KJ's sake and ours he stays. He will be playing at the 2 guard in NBA and he needs work on the 3 ball and longer jumper. He made great progress last summer and with a decent returning cast he can make bigger strides and more $s. Most experts see more time.

It's funny because there are some scouts that absolutely love him and say he's a can't-miss. I've seen him described as the ACC's top prospect. It'll be interesting. I'd love to cover him another year especially with everybody else coming back.

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