We saw flashes of the damage DeAndre Daniels could inflict a handful of times during the season, but it was his 27-point performance against Iowa St. in the Sweet 16 that highlighted his otherworldly potential on a national stage, the type of size, agility and sheer basketball skills that look a lot like an NBA lottery pick.
But inconsistency has been Daniels' bugaboo, something coach Kevin Ollie thinks can be overcome by the junior forward being more vocal with his teammates.
"Honestly, I don't care what he's saying," Ollie said Tuesday, via the Hartford Courant. "We just want him to step up and be a leader. He does that more."
The 27 points Daniels hung on Iowa St. wasn't a season high -- he went for 31 against Temple in February -- but it was the most complete game of his career. He also grabbed 10 rebounds, blocked two shots, and converted 10 of 15 shots from the floor, and 2 of 6 from beyond the arc. But now it all appears to be coming together and the timing couldn't be better.
"He didn't say a complete sentence before he got here," Ollie continued. "You can't shut him up now. He's grown and he's matured in that role. Now we're trying to get him to get that role more on the court, where he's more vocal and talking and being in a leadership role."
For his part, Daniels, who grew up in Southern California, says he's never been much of a talker.
"I'm just kind of a like a laid-back guy," he said. "Shy at first, until I get to know people. But I'm just kind of quiet. When I'm on the court, Kevin Ollie is always telling me not to bring that kind of attitude, which I do. ...
"I've learned to just talk more, with my teammates and on defense ... just communicate and not be silent. To get to the next level, you have to be great at everything you do, and communication is definitely a key."
Ollie added: "Everybody's got the gift to talk and express themselves. Somewhere growing up, they didn't have faith in themselves and that made them be quiet. But everybody's got that in there. He just has to have trust in himself. I think he'll be a better player and it shows. When he has energy and he's talking, his talent just goes out of the roof."
And the hope for Ollie and the Huskies is that the talking and energy continue for at least two more games.