It seemed a perfect fit for Daye to follow his father to UCLA, but the Bruins told Austin Daye they were not interested, leading to his signing with Gonzaga.
Daye's father, Darren, was a standout forward at UCLA (1980-83). He ranks 40th on the school career record list with 1,149 points and second in field-goal percentage (55.5). The two-time starter was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated (3/31/80) and was later drafted in the third round (57th overall) by the Washington Bullets in 1983.
Darren played five years in the NBA for Washington (1984-87), Chicago (1987) and Boston (1987-88), appearing in 328 games. He averaged 6.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game during his professional career.
Having declared for the 2009 NBA Draft, the rail-thin Austin Daye has done all he can to earn respect from league scouts. He opened quite a few eyes at the Chicago pre-draft Combine, when he measured in at 6-feet-9 and six inches with a very impressive 7-foot, 2 1/4-inch wingspan. However, his other number, 192 pounds, has those same scouts fearing he might be too frail to handle the inside pounding he will take at the next level.
At Woodbridge High School, Daye was named to the Orange County Register first team after leading Orange County in scoring at 30.9 points per game as a senior. He also averaged 12.4 rebounds 5.4 blocks per game, as he was selected Sea View League Player of the Year, CIF-Southern Section Division I Player of the Year and Calhisports.com first-team All-State. He was also named to the Hot 100 2007 players list by Sports Illustrated.
As a junior, Daye averaged 16 points, nine rebounds and 3.4 blocks. He garnered All-CIF Southern Sectional Division II A first-team honors and was an All-Orange County third- team pick that year. He was named to the Long Beach Press Telegram Best in the West first-team, finishing seventh in the voting.
Daye enrolled at Gonzaga University for the 2007-08 season. The West Coast Conference All-Freshman pick was also named All-WCC honorable mention. He ranked 16th in the league in scoring (10.5 ppg), 10th in field-goal percentage (116-for-244, 47.5 percent), first in free-throw percentage (89-for-101, 88.1 percent), 15th in rebounding (4.7 rpg) and fourth in blocked shots (1.64/game). He also finished 15th nationally in free throw percentage and 77th in blocked shots per game, despite starting just one of the 33 contests that he appeared in.
Before the 2008-09 season, Daye attended the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio. But in early July, he went down in a tangle of bodies on the court. At first, he was thought to have injured a tendon in the hamstring of his right leg, but an MRI later revealed that he had suffered a bone bruise and a low grade tear of his anterior cruciate ligament. Surgery was averted and after three weeks of rest, he returned to the court.
As a sophomore, Daye was again named All-WCC honorable mention, in addition to picking up National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District IX accolades. He started 33 of 34 games, leading the team with an average of 6.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game (blocks rank 39th in the nation). He shot 47.7 percent from the field for 12.7 points per game, as he also had 37 assists and 24 steals.
Positives: There is no doubt that a lack of strength is his biggest weakness, but with a 6-foot, 10-inch frame and a 7-foot, 2-inch wingspan to go with a 9-foot, 2-inch standing reach, he is a consistent mismatch on the court, as guards have problems contesting his high shot and most forwards lack the lateral agility and quickness to stay with him on the way to the basket His scoring suffered early in the season, as he was recovering from a summer knee injury (partial anterior cruciate ligament tear and bone bruise in his right knee), but as he recovered, he showed that he is very comfortable using his bag of tricks as a scorer With his reach and wingspan, he had good success utilizing his developing mini-hook shot and also did a better job setting his feet to deliver on fadeaways from either side Has decent timed speed, but his long legs and explosive first step see him consistently finish around the basket Plays with valid basketball instincts, on par with that of a grizzled veteran, as he will not bite on fakes or hesitation moves, showing a strong commitment defending on the perimeter (gets bounced around in the paint due to lack of strength, though) His basketball IQ is also evident by his ability to create shots for himself, as he has the footwork to execute jab steps and fakes and that sudden burst to deliver on crossovers Also smart enough to garner time at multiple position (two-guard, three-forward, four-forward) Effective ball handler and passer who won't get into too much trouble if he keeps the ball on the floor for more than a few dribbles Runs the court like a deer, which makes him an inviting target for the team's guards on isolations, spot-ups and fast breaks Considered to have one of the smoothest releases in the game, especially when he delivers a pull-up jumper from mid-range with either hand Gets most of his scoring accomplished facing the basket, but even at his height, he has that low center of gravity that he uses often to get by the opponent off the dribble Has excellent touch and sure hands, along with impeccable timing for catch-and-shoot situations Also quite effective shooting off the dribble, doing a good job with ball security when he puts it on the floor Has a good handle on the ball in transition and shows good maturity on the court, using his vision to locate defenders, fooling them with a spin move or a pump fake to get the opponents to leave their feet before he steps back to deliver on his jumper If he can improve his strength, he shows the touch to have an inside game on par with his outside Has a fluid motion and high release point with his jumper, which accounts for more than 30 percent of his scoring acumen Uses his body well to get the spacing he needs to get off an uncontested shot Long strider who is slippery moving through traffic and does a good job of seeing threats, demonstrating quick jabs to get himself into the lane Can also simply pull up and spot up, as his perimeter range is on par of a two-guard (made 42.2 percent of his three-point tries at Gonzaga), demonstrating the deep range that forces the opposing forwards to step out of their element away from the basket to defend vs. him Very effective fading back when taking his shot, using his long reach and very high release to his advantage, as defenders find it virtually impossible to leap high enough to contest his jumpers Times his leaps well and has that standing reach to be very capable of getting to the defensive rebound.
Negatives: His most glaring and obvious weakness is his lack of strength and bulk, as he might show good determination on the defensive boards, but has to rely on his body control and balance because he does get shoved around quite a bit by the more physical forwards Does not do a great job of drawing contact, resulting in infrequent visits to the foul line (very good free throw shooter, though, making 79 percent of his attempts) Must do a better job of rotating and handling switch-offs when defending inside Gets backed down in the post quite a bit, completing just 31.6 percent of his field-goal attempts from there) Gets a little reckless fighting through screens and flails his arms wildly, resulting in a high amount of penalties Too weak to finish after absorbing hard contact and has to do a better job of establishing his position in the post (until he adds more bulk and strength, he might be a better fit at two-guard, but there are doubts that he has enough lateral range to defend guards there) Has a very smooth release, but he needs to hasten it better, as he lets the defense recover when he methodically takes a shot His knee injury last summer made him appear slower on the court during the first half of his sophomore year (seemed to lack that great lateral range he showed as a freshman) and later in the year, his body seemed worn down (must continue to work on conditioning).
Compares To: BRANDAN WRIGHT, Golden State -- Considering that he is so skinny that you can get a paper cut if you bumped into his side, Daye certainly needs to bulk up. He is a versatile athlete with a great scoring touch, but appeared to be slower last year and might not be fully recovered from the knee injury he suffered last summer. He put up 12.7 points and grabbed 6.8 rebounds per game, but while he can catch and shoot and execute smooth pull-up jumpers, his frail-looking frame can't withstand NBA inside pounding. Dallas is highly interested in developing him, but other teams are very leery that added bulk will only reduce his already adequate foot speed.
--Report by Dave-Te' Thomas
National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District IX second-team selection, adding All-West Coast Conference honorable mention Started 33 of 34 games for the Bulldogs, a remarkable total considering he was forced to wear a heavy brace on his right knee after he suffered a bone bruise and low grade partial anterior cruciate ligament tear when he was injured while attending the LeBron James Skills Academy during the summer Led the team with 232 rebounds (6.8 rpg) and a school single-season record 70 steals (2.1 spg, ranking 39th in the nation) Scored 431 points (12.7 ppg), as he made 159 of 333 field goals (47.7 percent), 36 of 84 three-pointers (42.9 percent) and 77 of 109 free throws (70.6 percent) Also handed out 37 assists (1.1 apg), as he had 73 turnovers and 24 steals (0.7 spg) Scored in double figures 24 times, including five contests with at least 20 points Had six games with double-digit rebound totals and registered five double-double performances.
Member of the West Coast Conference Freshman Team, adding All-WCC honorable mention Started just once in 33 games, but scored 347 points (10.5 percent) on 47.5 percent shooting from the floor (116 of 244) and 88.1 percent shooting from the free throw line (89 of 101) Hit on 26 of 63 three-point attempts (41.3 percent), as he pulled down 154 rebounds (4.7 rpg) and had 54 blocked shots (fourth-best season total in school history) Handed out 32 assists and recorded 21 steals (0.6 spg) Finished the season ranked 16th in the WCC in scoring, 10th in field-goal percentage, first in free-throw percentage, 15th in rebounding and fourth in blocked shots Ranked 15th nationally in free throw percentage and 77th in blocked shots per game.
Daye started 34 of 67 games at Gonzaga, scoring 778 points (11.6 ppg) while shooting 47.7 percent from the field (275 of 577), 42.2 percent from three-point range (62 of 147) and 79.0 percent from the foul line (166 of 210) Registered 386 rebounds (5.8 rpg) with 69 assists (1.0 apg), 129 turnovers and 45 steals (0.7 spg) Despite playing only two seasons for the Bulldogs, he is just the third player in school history to block more than 100 shots 124) in a career, joining Casey Calvary (207, 1998-2001) and Ronny Turiaf (179, 2002-05) His 54 blocked shots in 2007-08 rank fourth on the school single-season record list and his 70 blocks in 2008-09 broke the old Gonzaga annual record of 59 by Turiaf (2004-05) Registered multiple blocked shots in 19 of 67 games.
2008 Summer: Suffered a minor low grade anterior cruciate ligament tear and bone bruise in his right knee when he went down in a tangle of bodies on July 8 at the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio. At first he was thought to have injured a tendon in the hamstring of his right leg. He was told by doctors at UCLA that he has a bone bruise and a minor, low-grade tear that wouldn't require surgery. The first reading of an MRI produced a diagnosis that he had a torn ACL, would need surgery and could be gone for six to 12 months.
"I was really emotional," Daye said. "I just didn't want to miss so much time. We've got one of the best teams and schedules in the country. I wasn't expecting any of this when they first told me (in Akron) that it was my hamstring. Then the ACL came out of nowhere (from the first doctor in L.A.). Then we met with two more doctors who gave me better news."
Attended Woodbridge (Irvine, Cal.) High School, playing basketball for head coach John Halagan Named to the Orange County Register first-team after leading Orange County in scoring at 30.9 points per game as a senior Also averaged 12.4 rebounds 5.4 blocks per game, as he was selected Sea View League Player of the Year, CIF-Southern Section Division I Player of the Year and Calhisports.com first-team All-State Named to the Hot 100 2007 players list by Sports Illustrated As a junior, Daye averaged 16 points, nine rebounds and 3.4 blocks Garnered All-CIF Southern Sectional Division II A first-team honors and was an All-Orange County third- team pick that year Named to the Long Beach Press Telegram Best in the West first-team, finishing seventh in the voting.
General Studies major Son of Tamara and Darren Daye Father was a standout forward at UCLA (1980-83). He ranks 40th on the school career record list with 1,149 points scored and second in field-goal percentage (55.5 percent). The two-time starter was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated (3/31/80) and was later drafted in the third round (57th overall) by the Washington Bullets in 1983. Darren played five years in the NBA for Washington (1984-87), Chicago (1987) and Boston (1987-88), appearing in 328 games. He averaged 6.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game during his professional career Born 6/05/88 Resides in Irvine, California.
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