Monday was all about honoring the men's and women's basketball teams, both national champs this past April, both at the White House together as President Obama spoke about their most recent accomplishments. For two players, their future isn't in Storrs, but in professional basketball, where they'll know their NBA fates in a few weeks at the annual draft.
Just outside the West Wing Monday, DeAndre Daniels and Shabazz Napier, two key cogs in the Huskies' championship run, spoke with reporters following the White House ceremony.
“It’s great to go out on top, win a national championship, and great to come here," said Daniels, who left school after his junior season (via the Hartford Courant). But it’s another sad part. I definitely did not want to leave UConn, but I had to [make] the best decision. Just moving forward and take this whole process. I’m ready to make the next step in my life.
“[After] sitting down with my family and the coaching staff and trying to figure out what was the best situation for me, me and my family kind of felt it was the best decision for me to leave.”
In most mock drafts, Daniels is viewed as a second-round pick. The forward says he's visited with seven NBA teams and has seven more visits lined up before the draft.
“I’m just enjoying this whole process,” he said. “It’s tough doing all this flying, all these workouts back to back, but this is basketball, this is what I signed up for.”
Meanwhile, Napier, who played four years at UConn, is working the pre-draft process.
“I’m just kind of taking it in stride," he said. ... "At the end of the day the point is to put myself in the best position possible. Continue to work hard and do the things I’ve done that got me here.”
The NBA Draft is Thursday, June 26.