Friday, July 8, 2016

Howard's James Daniel is going for another national scoring title, but for him, that's not enough

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The nation’s scoring champion was quietly absent from the NCAA Tournament last year. Actually, Howard’s James Daniel, who averaged 27.0 points per game, didn’t hoist a shot in any postseason tournament. That didn’t sit well with the soon-to-be senior guard.

"We’re trying to build something that’s going to last a long time," Daniel told the Las Vegas Review-Journal back in November, when his name had shot to the top of the national scoring list to begin the season. "Nobody likes to lose. But we’ve got a group of guys who really get along and care about each other. We all want to make this team successful and that’s more important to me than leading the country in scoring."

Unfortunately for Daniel and coach Kevin Nickelberry, nothing was built last season, at least in terms of postseason appearances. The Bison went 12-20, including 6-10 in MEAC play, and lost in the first round of the conference tournament to North Carolina Central. This was a step back from a 16-16 (10-6) campaign the year before, and showed that despite Daniel’s scoring, losing James Carlton to graduation was too much.

Yet Daniel makes Howard a team to watch next season, and history has placed an exciting opportunity in front of him. No player has repeated as the country’s leading scorer since Saint Peter’s Keydren Clark did so in 2003-04 and 2004-05. And here sits Daniel, who is perfectly positioned to make the repeat a reality in a league that registered the lowest conference RPI in 2015-16.


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