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Daniels to NBA, Boatright to return to UConn. Press Release.

POSTED April 25, 2014
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

STORRS, Conn. (April 25, 2014) --- UConn junior DeAndre Daniels (Los Angeles, Calif.) has filed paperwork with the NBA to declare himself eligible for the upcoming NBA Draft. The 6-9 forward, who started 38 games for the national champion Huskies, will forgo his senior season of college eligibility.

Junior guard Ryan Boatright (Aurora, Ill.), also an instrumental part of the national championship run, has decided to return to UConn for his senior season in 2014-15.   

“I just felt like this was the right time for me,” Daniels said. “I sat down with my family and we discussed it and everyone agreed, but the final decision was still mine and it was hard. I had a great career at UConn and I wouldn’t change it for the world, and to go out on top like we did makes it even better.”

Daniels averaged 13.1 points per game this season and led the Huskies in rebounding at 6.0 per game. The versatile forward shot .469 overall and .417 from three-point range. However, Daniels played his best basketball during the Huskies’ six-game march to the fourth NCAA title in school history, averaging 16.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and shooting .487 overall and .857 from the free throw line.

“DeAndre has made an enormous contribution to the success we have enjoyed at UConn, both on the court and in the classroom,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. “Besides being an outstanding basketball player, he is a quality young man. We wholeheartedly support the decision he has made and wish him nothing but success as he moves ahead with his basketball career. He will always be part of our UConn family.”

Boatright teamed with senior Shabazz Napier this season to form one of the toughest backcourts in the country. The 6-foot guard averaged 12.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game. It was on the defensive end, however, that Boatright arguably made his biggest contribution during the NCAA Tournament, continually disrupting the opposing point guard with outstanding on-ball defense, taking opposing teams out of their offensive game.

Boatright, a team tri-captain this season with Napier and Niels Giffey, will be the lone senior on the 2014-15 Huskies.

“I couldn’t be happier that Ryan will be back with us next season,” Ollie said, “not only for his terrific basketball talents, but to provide tremendous senior leadership for us, both on and off the court. The growth and maturity he has shown throughout his career has been wonderful and I expect that to continue as he works toward his degree.”

Daniels finishes his 99-game career at UConn with 953 points and 457 rebounds. He is the 16th player in UConn history to leave school early for the NBA Draft. Of the previous 15 early entrants from UConn, 14 were selected in the first round and 13 were NBA lottery picks.

“I will always bleed blue, I will always love this program,” said Daniels, a sociology major who intends to finish his degree requirements in the summers ahead. “There have been ups and downs, but it’s been the best three years of my life. Today, when I thought about leaving, I even cried a little bit because I love this school and the friends I’ve made here to death. But I’m excited to follow the dream I’ve had since I was a little kid.

“I want to thank Coach Ollie and Coach (Jim) Calhoun for believing in me and everybody who helped me get to where I am, especially my teammates. If it weren’t for them, I certainly wouldn’t be in this position.”  

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