Captain to prove he's still got it
HE may be 40-years-old but tell Michael McDaniel he can’t mix it with the young blokes at the top level any more, or that he should retire, and you will face a pretty fiery bloke.
The 2009 Warwick Wildcats A-grade men’s captain/coach has decided to go ahead and prove that he’s still got it, despite entering the decade when most sportsmen call it quits.
McDaniel last night played for the Pythons in the inaugural Foot Locker Elite Classic High Stakes Hoops, a three-day tournament offering a top prize of $175,000 for the best of eight teams.
That’s pretty high stakes. Especially when the total prize pool is actually more than $250,000.
And as further proof, if it was needed, McDaniel has just signed a contract with Queensland Basketball League team the Gold Coast Goannas. The Goannas is the feeder team to the Gold Coast Blaze in the National Basketball League (NBL).
McDaniel yesterday caught up with the Daily News from Adelaide before he played in his first match of the tournament against The Reef last night at the Adelaide Dome.
“I don’t have that much at stake, I’m just happy to be playing – it is a privilege to be playing at my age,” he said.
McDaniel believes the High Stakes Hoops tournament, which is essentially run in the same fashion as the Indian Premier League, has the potential to help bring the fans back to basketball in Australia.
“It’s the turnaround of basketball as we know it,” he said.
McDaniel will line up at number four or five for the Pythons as one of the “big men”, instead of at his usual position of shooting guard.
“I’m just happy to be on the court,” he said.
“It’s really high-level basketball ... everybody here is getting looked at by the NBL.”
McDaniel said because of how close the teams were in skill-level, the winner would be the one which blended the best.
“I think it will come down to team chemistry, how well each of the teams works together,” he said.
“(On Monday night) we had a bit of a shoot around and put a few concepts together. It will be so intense, $175,000 is high stakes.”
McDaniel will also compete in a separate $10,000 three-point shootout competition in Adelaide.
“I’m just as good as anybody else, I worked hard before I went (on three-pointers),” McDaniel said.
He said he was excited about the opportunity to play in the QBL and said he would not knock back another chance to play in the NBL, if the opportunity presented itself.
Some of the players in the Pythons include former Harlem Globetrotters player and LA Lakers Jeremy Robinson and National Collegiate Athletic Association 2009 Slam Dunk Champion Tony Dandridge.
Matches in the High Stakes Hoops tournament will be broadcast on OneHD and keep an eye out for the Pythons’ progress in the Daily News.