UCLA Assistant Donny Daniels To Join Bulldog Basketball Staff
March 30, 2010
SPOKANE, Wash. - Donny Daniels, for the past seven years an assistant coach on Ben Howland's staff at UCLA, has been hired to join the Gonzaga University staff, head coach Mark Few announced Tuesday.
Daniels replaces Leon Rice who last week was named the head coach at Boise State University after 11 seasons on Few's staff.
"We lost a phenomenal coach and person, but we've gained a phenomenal coach and person," Few said. "We were able to hit a home run with our hire."
Few said he has known and observed Daniels for 20 years.
"He's been on the bench for four Final Fours," Few said. "He recruited those guys, developed them and coached them. He's flat out one of the best assistants in the country."
Few, who just finished his 11th year as head coach and his 21st season overall at Gonzaga, said Daniels' strength "is he does everything well, and that's what we kind of demand at Gonzaga. You recruit, you coach, you develop and you scout."
Daniels said he is excited about the new opportunity.
"I'm excited to join the Gonzaga family and am looking forward to meeting the team," Daniels said. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to work with Coach Few and to contribute to the winning tradition of the Zags."
Few didn't have a timetable for Daniels' arrival, but said "he'll be up to speed shortly."
Daniels is one of the most respected coaches in the country. In 2004, Rivals.com designated Daniels one of college basketball's Top 25 recruiters. The 2009 Bruins' recruiting class was ranked fourth nationally by Scout.com, and the 2008 class was ranked No. 1 in the country by several scouting services and national web sites. He also helped recruit the 2004 class that ranked No. 4 in the nation by Rivals.com and the 2005 class that sported five players ranked amongst the Top 100 players in North America.
Prior to joining the UCLA staff, Daniels was the men's head basketball coach at Cal State Fullerton for three seasons from 2001-03 and was on head coach Rick Majerus' staff at the University of Utah for 11 seasons from 1990-2000.
Daniels' expertise is evident based on the recent success of the Bruins. UCLA won back-to-back-to-back Pacific-10 Conference titles from 2006-08 and made three straight trips to the Final Four in those same seasons. Additionally, the Bruins have produced six first-round NBA Draft picks in Jordan Farmar (2006), Arron Afflalo (2007), Kevin Love (2008), Russell Westbrook (2008), Jrue Holiday (2009) and Darren Collison (2009) in his six previous seasons as an assistant under Howland. UCLA has also had another four players drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft in Daniels' tenure including Trevor Ariza (2004), Dijon Thompson (2005), Ryan Hollins (2006) and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (2008).
On April 20, 2000, Daniels was named head coach at Cal State Fullerton. Prior to being named head coach, Daniels was at Fullerton for two years as a player and had three stints as an assistant coach, including two tenures under George McQuarn, who lettered for two seasons (1962-63) as a catcher on the UCLA baseball team.
The 2002-03 collegiate campaign was Daniels' third year as the head coach at Cal State Fullerton, his alma mater. After winning only 10 games in his first two seasons (Daniels inherited a Titan program that was on NCAA probation), his 2003 Cal State Fullerton squad doubled their victories (10), posted an 8-10 Big West record, despite a rash of serious injuries that affected all five returning lettermen. Suiting up as few as seven or eight players for several mid-season games, Fullerton had its best conference record in 10 years and reached double figures in victories for the first time in four years. The Titans beat every Big West opponent except tournament champion Utah State.
Daniels played on Cal State Fullerton's first two NCAA Division I teams in 1974-75 and 1975-76 under head coach Bobby Dye. His senior year he was selected the top defender on a team that won the school's only conference basketball championship by earning a share of the 1976 Pacific Coast Athletic Association title.
Daniels graduated in 1977 with a degree in criminal justice and returned to Fullerton as a volunteer assistant for the 1978-79 season. He was an assistant in Dye's final season (1979-80) before becoming an assistant at his high school alma mater, Los Angeles' Verbum Dei. As a high school player at Verbum Dei, Daniels played for then-head coach McQuarn.
Daniels returned to Cal State Fullerton as a part-time assistant coach under then-Titan head coach McQuarn for the 1981-82 through 1983-84 seasons before becoming head coach at Los Angeles Harbor College in Wilmington (another alma mater) for two years from 1985-86. His teams went 32-27 overall, including 20-11 in 1986. His third return to Fullerton was as a full-time assistant to first McQuarn and then successor John Sneed for the 1987-89 seasons. His full-time coaching tenures at Fullerton coincide with NIT appearances in 1983 and '87 and the recruitment and/or development of former Titan greats Leon Wood, Cedric Ceballos and Bruce Bowen.
Ceballos was a 1990 NBA second-round draft selection. He played 11 years in the NBA with five different teams. His best years were with the Los Angeles Lakers, when he averaged better than 21 points in both the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons.
During Daniels' 11 seasons at Utah, the Utes reached the NCAA Tournament eight times in 11 seasons and were national runner-up in 1998. Daniels was also the chief recruiter of Andre Miller and Keith Van Horn to Salt Lake City.
Daniels recruited Miller from his high school alma mater, Verbum Dei. Before his stint with the Clippers, Miller spent three years with the Cleveland Cavaliers and in 2002 led the NBA in assists (10.9 apg).
Other players Daniels helped coach at Utah who went on to the NBA include Michael Doleac (Minnesota) and Josh Grant (Golden State).
Before his two-year playing career at CS Fullerton, Daniels played for one season at Scottsdale Community College (1973) and for one year at L.A. Harbor College (1974).
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