Incoming Howard transfer James Daniel III is coming off an ankle injury that sidelined him for the entire season in 2016-17. The injury cost Daniel his final season at Howard, but allowed him to transfer to Tennessee and play out his last year of eligibility on a bigger stage.
Daniel was the NCAA’s leading scorer in the 2015-16 season. Needless to say, this is a big time addition and the Vols are going to be leaning on him quite a bit this season. But Daniel has to get healthy first.
The injury is keeping him out of Tennessee’s summer activities — most namely the Rocky Top League. He was able to give 247 an update on his status last night on the sidelines of the Tennessee summer league.
Daniel says he should be 100 percent by August.
"I was hoping I was going to get a chance to play out here," said Daniel, who averaged 27.1 points per game during his junior season at Howard. "But (Tennessee's staff) kind of know(s) my situation and everything.
The injury may have been a blessing in disguise.
"I feel as though I'm better for it now," Daniel said. "It gave me a chance to see basketball from a different perspective. Usually I'm the guy on the court, so I felt like I was a coach that year."‘
The injury will also give him the chance to lead a pretty competitive Tennessee team this year. They’ve added a lot of talent this offseason and should be ready to challenge with Grant Williams, Admiral Williams, Jordan Bone, Lamonte Turner, Kyle Alexander and Jordan Bowen return. John Fulkerson (injury) and Jalen Johnson (redshirt) will be welcomed reinforcements, too.
I personally have high hopes for Tennessee Basketball this season. There’s a nice blend of youth, talent and experience — I’m excited to see how it all pans out.