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Most Important Buffaloes: #9 Maddox Daniels

The Buffs will need the wing to shoot.

This countdown moves from #10 Eli Parquet to #9 Maddox Daniels, but there’s not much that separates the two as bench wings. The difference is that Parquet is a perimeter stopper and Daniels is a perimeter shooter, the latter of which is needed more on these Buffs.

Daniels is a wing from California who has transferred over from SouthWestern State College in Fort Myers, Florida. He spent two years in JUCO working on his body, fitness and leadership skills, which he believes has prepared him for major college basketball. Once he enrolled at Colorado, he shifted his development towards defense, which is a requirement under Tad Boyle. It will take some time for him to play Tad-quality defense, but he will still play because of his best skill.

While the rest of Daniels’ game is developing, his shooting has always been there. Daniels has a quick and clean release and a soft touch. At 6’6, he can shoot over the top of defenders, particularly when he’s spotting up and they’re closing out on him. His natural fit is as a spot-up shooter, where that quick release means defenders need to be an extra step closer to him. The Buffs don’t have many proven shooters — they shot 32% as a team last year — so it will be vital that Daniels can hit open shots and space the floor.

On the bench units, Daniels will likely be playing with Daylen Kountz, Lucas Siewert and Evan Battey, as well as McKinley Wright (I’m guessing Kin plays nearly 35 minutes per game in competitive games). Of that bunch, Kountz and Wright need space to drive to the rim, Battey needs room to operate in the post; that means Siewert and Daniels will have to be confident in their shot, because if they’re hesitant to let if fly, their value is halved.

Maddox Daniels is a swing player in that if he breaks out, he could be relied upon heavily, but if he struggles, he may lose playing time to the Buffs’ other promising wings. If he plays well, he could be a valuable bench player who earns major minutes — think of Namon Wright’s role with less ball-handling responsibility. If he struggles and, say, Eli Parquet impresses, Daniels could be on the wrong side of a minutes squeeze. But because Daniels’ best skill is something the Buffs badly need, Tad Boyle should have plenty of patience to get the best out of his newest player.