Mississippi State forward Travis Daniels played his natural position at the 3 last season. Due to depth issues in the post in Ben Howland's first season, the head coach opted to move Daniels to power forward to get the best five players on the floor.
Daniels has responded in a big way. While you won't see him posting up very often and working under the basket, he's given MSU another scoring threat as a stretch 4 that can hurt you from behind the arc.
In Wednesday night's game against Texas Southern, Daniels was 2-of-2 from three-point range and finished with 18 points in MSU's 86-73 victory. Outside of Gavin Ware -- who put up his third double-double of the year against Texas Southern -- no other Bulldog looks more improved since last season than Daniels.
The former Shelton State transfer shot just 40% from the floor and 29% from three for the maroon and white last season. He forced too many shots and struggled to find any consistency from game to game. Through seven games this year, he's improved his shooting to hit 53% overall and 50% from behind the arc.
Coming from somebody who watched nearly every practice last season, I can tell you Daniels had this kind of potential ever since he got to campus. He's always been a plus shooter but needed to perform better when the lights came on in a real game. It looks like he has turned the corner and is starting to do that.
His assist to turnover ratio was also one of the worst on the team last season as Daniels had almost three times as many turnovers as assists. He currently has been credited with 12 assists and just nine turnovers, the second lowest of any player that logs over 20 minutes a game.
With practically zero depth in the post, Daniels is one of the biggest keys to the team's success. He's helped out just as much in the rebounding department which was probably needed more than anything, but if he keeps scoring that's just icing on the cake.
Don't let his 10 points a game fool you. Daniels hasn't taken very many shots. As he gains more confidence and becomes more aggressive, don't be surprised if he ends up being one of MSU's most dangerous scoring threats behind Gavin Ware.