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Cal Basketball Recruiting

Daniels Ready For the Challenge at Cal

October 29, 2019

The Bears were on a monumental hot streak last week, pulling in three 5 star 2020 commits, each 6’3 or above. The highest-rated of the three, 6’4 Garfield (Seattle, WA) High School forward Dalayah Daniels -the #2 forward and #14 overall recruit in the nation- was the most recent commit when she announced for the Bears late last week.

Daniels was twice named to the Seattle Times All-State team, averaging 21 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks per game for Garfield, helping lead her squad to the state finals as a soph and the state semi’s as a junior.

“Cal started recruiting me when I was in eighth or ninth grade,” said Daniels. “They’ve been in my life for a long time, so I definitely think the family aspect of it was there in our relationship, which was really strong compared to all my other schools recruiting me.”

The continuity that the return of former assistant Charmin Smith has afforded the Cal women’s basketball program after leaving briefly to join the staff of the WNBA’s New York Liberty, was a big plus for Daniels.

“It’s definitely a positive for me to have Coach Charmin back at Cal,” noted Daniels. “She’d been recruiting me all along and since she’s been at Cal, she’s already familiar with the system there. She was able to recruit similar players but kind of different, in a better way. I think she has a vision, for sure, which is something I really like. She definitely recruits by looking at players’ potential and she’s done a great job so far. It’s really exciting.”

The commitment of Daniels also caught the attention of another future Bear from another sport -fellow Seattle athlete and Cal football commit, Justin Baker.

“I’m so excited!,” said the Kennedy Catholic receiver. “She talked about wanting to study business, as well, and it would be so fun to take classes together. Also, it’s just comforting knowing that I’ll be going there with someone who I know.

“I tried to be impartial in terms of her decision but I’m so happy she chose Cal!”

“He’s like my best friend, who just happens to be going to Cal, too,” said Daniels. “That’s definitely a plus, for sure. I love him. His dad’s a big Duke fan, so he was trying to tell me I needed to go to Duke.”

It didn’t take long for Daniels to know that Cal was a place she could fit in and feel like a future part of the program during her official visit.

“My visit to Cal was really natural,” said Daniels. “Nothing felt forced, I think because of the relationships. Everyone felt bought-in. The seniors who were leaving didn’t really need to talk to us but they really made us feel included and you could tell they really want the program to succeed. I just felt a real connection with them and with everyone.”

One of those former players was All-American post and #9 overall Connecticut Sun WNBA draftee Kristine Anigwe.

“My visit to Cal was really natural. Nothing felt forced, I think because of the relationships. Everyone felt bought-in.”
- Dalayah Daniels

“I think Kristine and I are similar in a lot of ways,” said Daniels. “I have a pretty versatile game and I try and incorporate some of her traits into my game, as far as being kind of a big guard because I can kind of play everywhere.”

Cal’s academic prowess factored in, as well for the excellent student athlete.

“Obviously Cal’s academics are amazing,” said Daniels. “It’s just a top-notch school academically.”

Daniels’ decision caught some programs and fans by surprise but don’t expect her to second guess her decision to be a part of the recruiting class that will undoubtedly change the trajectory of the program for the Bears next season.

“Some people have questioned my decision going to Cal because I could’ve went to Stanford or Duke or Oregon State, who are strong basketball programs, but I chose Cal because I see the vision there, that I could come in and have a huge impact right away,” said Daniels. “I see how successful Kristine was there all those years, not just in basketball but as a young woman. They have so much for you there, not just when you’re in college but after, too. It’s ridiculous. I want to be a part of that.

“They’re a young team right now so it might take a little bit for them but I think in a few years, we’re definitely going to shock a lot of people.”

Even though the new 5 star Cal trio of Daniels, Samb and Onyiah are just new commits, they’ve already begun building bonds.

”I love them!” said Daniels. “Fatou and I talk like every day. Michelle, I’ve just started to get to know but we’re off to a good start. We’re all very excited and very determined to help change the program in a major way. I don’t know if people really understand what we can become but I think our team can be really good in the future.”

Tree of Hope EYBL coach Mo Hines noted that Cal’s getting a high-level player in his star player, Daniels.

“A lot of people were mad Lay Lay committed to Cal because she had a good list, like Stanford, Duke, Oregon State, who’s a top ten team and others,” said Hines. “There’s alot of negative recruiting going on, for sure.

“There’s a lot of good programs out there, but so’s Cal and it felt like home for her.”

“If she keeps on her trajectory, she’s a pro prospect. That’s something I like about Cal. They do a great job of developing post players. In the last 10 years, Cal and Stanford have been the best in the conference at it.”
- EYBL Coach Mo Hines

Hines likes what he’s seeing in Cal building a foundation with a strong and versatile front line with the 6’4 Daniels, 6’3 Oniyiah and 6’3 Samb.

“In that conference, you need to have size,” said Hines. “I coached at Washington State for seven years. I’ve known Kai (Felton) probably the longest, back from when she was at USC. It’s a good staff. I felt really happy Cal was her decision. I trust those guys with her.

“Cal’s getting a hard-working kid in Lay Lay. She really goes hard. If I’m not training her, she’s in the gym by herself for two or three hours. She actually gets upset when I can’t work with her, like, ‘Come on, what??’ She’s blue collar. But on top of that, she’s very skilled for her 6’4 size. She can handle the ball, she can shoot, she can pass. She’s really a 3 or 3-4, an elite small forward, power forward type. She’s an inside-out player.

“In EYBL, we had her bringing the ball up, with JaQuaya Miller (now at UW) and Jordyn Jenkins, who just committed to USC. So we’d have those two inside and Lay Lay was like a guard, bringing the ball up the court. She handles the ball like she’s 5’10. And when we post her up, she’s very good inside, very physical.

“If she keeps on her trajectory, she’s a pro prospect. That’s something I like about Cal. They do a great job of developing post players. In the last 10 years, Cal and Stanford have been the best in the conference at it.

“And on top of it, being next to Oakland and San Francisco, there’s great culture there at Cal so it’s the best of both worlds for her.”

More stories:

5 Star Cal Sparks Forward Michelle Onyiah Talks About Commitment to Cal

5 Star Post Fatou Samb Becomes First Building Block in Talented 2020 Cal Class

Discussion from...

Daniels Ready For the Challenge at Cal

8,785 Views | 6 Replies | Last: 4 yr ago by puget sound cal fan
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A cool side story (see quotes in the story) is how Cal FB recruit Justin Baker and Dalayah are friends and excited to be going to Cal together.
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I watched a couple of her videos today and she possesses a high basketball IQ. She seems to have the fundamentals of the game down. She is an excellent passer and can dribble for her size. She can shoot from the outside and drive 'n finish at the basket. Her high school team seemed to run a motion offense with a lot of screen 'n roll action. Daniels appears to be a team player 100%. I'm excited to see the threesome develop along with the other young talent. GO BEARS!
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Wow When is the last time a recruit chose Cal over Stanford or Duke offers?! (along with Louisville , ND, etc with some of the recruits, As well as us usually losing out to UCLA and AZ State as well)
puget sound cal fan
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Charmin is the new sheriff in town, and I think we should be prepared to see more of it.
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