No. 8 Player in the country Madisen McDaniel Looks to Leave Her Impact

No. 8 Player in the country Madisen McDaniel Looks to Leave Her Impact

By John Armwood III

The No.8 player in the country for the class of 2024, Madisen McDaniel, resides in Maryland. However, many don’t know she was originally born in Chicago but she later moved at the age of two to Maryland. McDaniel began getting involved in sports when she was three but she tried several sports before she began playing basketball. Initially, McDaniel’s joined the swim team, dance team, and soccer team. Yet, none of these sports moved her spirit like the game of basketball did, not to mention, she was naturally gifted at it. 

Normally, when players begin playing basketball very rarely does one have dribbling skills, in fact, most have to develop that skill over time. In spite of that, McDaniel’s dribbling abilities came much faster than other facets of the game. McDaniel has a long line of basketball lineage and success, so it only appears natural that she followed suit.

McDaniel’s uncle, Ronnie Lester, suited up for the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls. While winning a championship with the 1985 Los Angeles Lakers, sadly, his career was cut short due to injuries. However, he worked as an NBA scout with the Lakers for several years before retiring.

“Basketball just appears to run in my family,” McDaniels stated. “My godmother and my uncle played at such a high level.”

Madisen McDaniel Has Only Begun

Although McDaniel is currently ranked eighth overall in the country, her aspirations are even greater. Some of her personal goals she’d like to accomplish are becoming the Gatorade player of the year (POTY), McDonald’s All-American, and Jordan brand. However, the biggest accomplishment she hopes to reach is having the opportunity to represent her country against opposing countries best. 

One of her biggest tactics for completing any of these goals is simply staying focused. The commitment to being focused can be applauded by McDaniel’s parents, Tameka and Jerry. They’ve kept Madisen on the straight and narrow and helped her maintain her priorities. In fact, McDaniel described how important education and school are to her by stating “if my school isn’t in order, then I can’t play.”

There’s been a clear understanding of school is the priority and that the game of basketball is a privilege. 

McDaniel’s “Sh3GotGame” Moment

 Through her ability to truly lock in and be focused, she’s learned how to embrace the journey and be in the moment. During her time at the Elite 24, with some of the most talented girls in the country, she realized how talented she truly was and how much better she can possibly be.

“It showed me I can compete around the country with other top-tier guards,” McDaniel stated.” The experience taught and showed me the caliber player I currently am and could be going forward.”

While watching McDaniel play one can understand her play style is a bit more traditional than most guards these days. However, she assures everyone that while not displayed often, her bag is “very deep.”

McDaniel also alludes to how the game will always be more mental than physical. During the interview, she runs through how she breaks down the film and discusses how each opponent she faces will have a uniquely crafted game plan to defeat them. With that being said, her gameplay may alter on a game-by-game basis.

“Meaning some games I know I have to come out aggressive to open up things for my teammates and sometimes I have to get them going to open up things for myself.”

While playing she admits that she attempts t sprinkle some of her favorite WNBA players' games into hers. While implementing these styles or techniques into her game to make her more versatile she often references Sue Bird’s facilitating, Chelsea Gray's scoring, Kyrie Irving's finishing and handling, and Chris Paul’s mid-range ability.

Tough Times Make Tough Players

While playing she suffered an injury towards the end of the year that jeopardized her chances at representing her country in the Olympics. As mentioned prior, this was one of her biggest dreams and goals to compete for the country. Yet, this opportunity was taken from her due to her ACL injury. Naturally, McDaniel began doubting herself and got sad, however, her mindset is what carried her through this tough time.

When asked, how did you fight through and bounced back the injury, McDaniel responded:

“When I was at my lowest point, I prayed a lot. My mind wouldn’t allow me to stop chasing my dream, no matter what.”

One would agree, that sometimes blessings come in mysterious ways, however, through her injury she found a passion for sports science. She admits she and the physical therapist became close as she continued to ask questions about his line of work. McDaniel believes this is her backup plan going forward. 

Some of McDaniel’s favorite things to do in her free time is a shop but shockingly she forces her father to drive around empty parking lots sometimes to capture specific angles and images of the moon to compare.

“Occasionally, I make my dad park in different spots in the parking lot to take pictures of the moon.”

Madisen McDaniel’s Advice and Suggestions

In conclusion, when asked if was there any advice she’d like to leave with any younger girls and boys that may resonate with her journey or who may look up to her, McDaniel responded:

"Never be scared to be different and always stay true to yourself. Never allow the politics to derail you, just continue putting in hard work. Eventually, the hard work will help separate yourself from the rest of the pack.”

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