Sunday, July 30, 2017
As an 8th grader at Lombard JH, Lexi Daniels was a dominant player. She was a point guard and was a scorer. She came to Galesburg HS, and made the varsity as a freshman. She never played freshmen or sophomore basketball. She played regularly for the varsity all four years. Lexi was one of the best three point shooters to ever play for Galesburg High School.
If people saw her play at Lombard, her high school success would have seemed predictable. But in athletics, it doesn’t always work out the way we might predict. Just because a player has great success early does not mean they are automatically going to have success later.
While a player may be a star in JH, to have the same success as a junior or senior requires a willingness to work on their individual skills. Being a 30% shooter is great in JH but it won’t cut it on the varsity level. A player must be willing to keep working and improving.
I read an article that said great pro shooters make 90% of open shots when shooting on their own. Great college shooters make 75% of open shots when unguarded, and great high school shooters will make 60% of their practice shots. By the time Lexi was a senior and shot on the Gun, she would consistently make 55-70% of her threes. She was a great high school shooter.
While Lexi had great technique, it was not that Lexi was just a “natural.” Lexi Daniels is a player who always kept working to improve her game, she got to where she was with hard work. She seems to never be quite satisfied.
Lexi has a great work ethic because of her discipline and toughness. But the primary characteristic that defines Lexi is her humility. No matter how great she played in a game, or who many honors she received, Lexi stayed humble. That made it easy for her teammates and her coaches to always be rooting for her. But I would argue her humility is what allowed her to get to where she is today. Lexi has never thought she was quite good enough- she has always seen the need to keep working.
This winter when I got to see her play with Dubuque, she got the ball on the wing. As she got into her shot, all of her teammates on the bench stood up, ready to throw their hands up to signal a made three. Just like high school!!
Massey- What attracted you to Dubuque?
Lexi- I picked to go to UD because of the small class sizes and how you can really make a connection with all of your professors.
Massey- How nervous were you when it came time to actually go to college?
Lexi- I was very nervous. I didn't know anybody coming in and I had all meet one other freshman before move in day.
Massey- Do you have any packing tips or room tips for people headed to college for first time?
Lexi- My packing tips for people moving in for their first year would be try not to bring a lot of stuff right away. You have a small room that you must share with someone else so things can get messy quick.
Massey- You have chosen El Ed as your major? Have they had you out in schools yet? What age do you want to teach?
Lexi- Being a freshman in the eduction program at UD I was in schools a lot believe it or not. I did over 20 hours of service in schools this year. I also got to help at multiple school carnivals. Once I'm out of school I would like to teach 3rd grade but I'll be open to any age group in an elementary school.
Massey- As a student are things harder or easier than you expected? How are things different than you expected as a student?
Lexi- As a student things were a bit harder than I expected at first. I was away from home for the first time and had a lot of things going on with school and basketball. Once I learned to manage my time things got easier as it went. One thing that was really different for me was how I could be done with classes at noon on some days.
Massey- As soon as you got on campus in the fall, you got started with basketball. What were your fall workouts like? What kinds of things did you do, how often, how long?
Lexi- Pre season workouts were hard. We went Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6 and then Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30. Everyday consisted of some type of cardio and lifting. Our lifting was more about strength training and a lot of maxing out. Thursday's were definitely the day everyone disliked the most. We would lift and then have to run 200s. We were to run 8 200s in 40 seconds if someone didn't accomplish that we added another one. The max we ever had to do was 12. I'd say it was all completely worth it when season came around.
Massey- What were your greatest challenges as a player in your first year?
Lexi- Some of my greatest challenges as a first year player was not really knowing what I was coming into and what everyone else's strengths were. As the season went on I became more comfortable though.
Massey- How do you feel your game has improved since high school?
Lexi- I think my game has improved since high school in the dribbling aspect. At the beginning of the year I played 6 JV games where I had to run the point guard. I haven't had to do that since I was in Jr. High so it definitely was a challenge, but it made me better and more comfortable with the ball.
Massey- After having a year playing, what are you trying to work on this summer?
Lexi- After playing for a year I'm still working on my shot a lot. My shot is my strength and it can always improve so I need to keep that strong. I'm also working on my shot fake and pull up jumpers a lot more as well.
Massey- You are one of the hardest workers we have had at Galesburg. And last summer after graduating and now this summer after your freshman year- you just keep going in the gym and lifting all the time. There have to be days you really don't want to do it. And now, your college coach is not around to see if you are going in each day. What keeps you going?
Lexi- There are definitely days when I don't want to get up to come to the gym, but it's all about mindset for me. I've always had the mindset of if you want something bad enough you will work for it. For me this summer it was about getting stronger and improving my game. So on the days when I didn't want to get up I'd ask myself am I going to continue to be an average player or a standout player next year.
Massey- You have helped with Streaks Camps and coached teams in Summer League. What do you enjoy about coaching? What frustrates you coaching? Do you want to coach when you get out of school?
Lexi- I love everything about coaching in camps and summer league games. I really enjoy being around the kids and watching them all improve over the summer. What frustrates me the most sometimes is having to just sit on the bench and not being able to go out there and play. It's definitely tough when you see something on the court that the kids don't and you can't get them to recognize it. I do plan on coaching later on in life.
Massey- Any advice you would give students headed to college?
Lexi- Any advice I would give to a student headed to college would be enjoy your time there, but stay on top of your school work. Things will get tough at times but it will always work itself out so don't stress yourself.
Massey- Any advice you would give a high school athlete who wants to play sports in college?
Lexi- If I was giving advice to a high school athlete it would be never stop working on your game. There will always be someone out there better then you in some aspect. Be humble and push yourself, it will pay off.
Massey- When you come back to Galesburg, what is the one restaurant you want to make sure to hit?
Lexi- The one restaurant I have to make sure to hit while I'm home would be Sully's because it's the only place I enjoy wings.
Massey- When is the last time your dad could beat you in HORSE?
Lexi- The last time my dad could beat me in HORSE was probably 7th grade. My shot really came around in 8th grade. There isn't a chance that he'd beat me now.
Posted by Massey Basketball