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UConn’s Daniels is prepping for a breakout season

Nov 2, 2013, 8:30 PM EST

It’s easy to imagine that all athletes are extroverts who enjoy the limelight, but it’s not always a fair assumption. Take UConn’s DeAndre Daniels, for instance. According to a recent article in the Hartford Courant, the junior forward’s struggle to assert himself on the court mirrors his reluctance to stand out in his personal life.

The newspaper spoke to Daniels’ roomate, Ryan Boatright:

Said Boatright: “He’s done an unbelievable job at becoming outspoken. When I first met him, man, he was so quiet. He literally stared at his phone all day. He didn’t say two words all day. I’m sure he’ll be the one to tell you, we’ve been living together three years, he acts exactly like me now. K.O. will probably say, ‘You’ve been around Boat too much, you’re talking too much.'”

For Daniels, the words simply followed the results, and experience. “It’s just more confidence in myself,” he said. “Talking to K.O., that’s the main thing he’s telling me to do. Just talk. Talk on defense. Once you step between the lines, your personality has got to change. That’s what I’ve been focusing on.”

K.O. would be head coach Kevin Ollie, of course.

I like Daniels’ message: don’t change who you are at heart, just find you equilibrium. Talk when you need to talk.

With all of the stories about kids struggling to grow into their roles and act with maturity during their college sports careers, it’s nice to hear about a coach, player and his teammates finding some balance and learning from one another.