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Dug McDaniel.jpeg

Dug McDaniel

Paul VI High School (VA)

Team Takeover






~155 lbs


Point Guard

Strong Hand




May 2021

Although he played just 11 games in a covid-shortened high-school season, Dug McDaniel had no problem displaying upgrades in several areas over the previous season.  Point Guard Eyes was fortunate to evaluate these improvements across six of those games, three of which were against a couple of top 5 teams in the country.  Further, these observations were made during the first couple of Circuit events in the spring, just as AAU was starting up.  Suffice to say, McDaniel's recruitment by high major programs is justified. 

The following analysis of McDaniel’s time on the court in 2021 intends to build on his previous evaluations by Point Guard Eyes from 2019 and 2020.  Its purpose is to focus on progressions he has made year-over-year.  As always, comments on areas of the game where McDaniel can continue to advance are sprinkled throughout.

Stats from the 2021 High School Season (6 games)

Dug McDaniel.jpg
  • Looks to have grown an inch, now standing at roughly 5’10” or so

  • Body has matured; most evident in appearance and the strength of his movements

  • Already as quick as lightning, his movements were even sharper

    • Everything is quick, with different levels to that quickness

  • Has improved acceleration even more, and is one of the fastest guards in America with the ball in his hands

    • His stop & go is second-to-none

    • True blow-by explosiveness

    • Exceptional change of direction

  • Resumed top physical condition

  • Bouncier, and is now dunking on the solitary breakaway

Other Offensive Qualities
Offensive Qualities/Shooting
  • Now filling one of the team’s two primary offensive roles (along with Trevor Keels), his aggression level nearly doubled from the previous season. With this, his offensive attack made it very hard on opposing guards to defend him because, among other things, his attack is unpredictable.

    • Maintains heavy pressure on the defense and keeps them off-balance.  On one possession, he will simply enter the ball into the offense.  The next, he is attacking off a pick and roll.  Another, he pushes the pace in semi-transition and attacking the basket, driving the ball up the back of the defense.  Then he is moving without the ball to come off a pick for a jumper.  Next thing you know, he is in the paint setting up open looks for his shooters...

    • One of his main tools to keep the defense guessing is a mean change of pace, which he has continued to hone.  His understanding of when, why, and how to utilize it has refined.  For example:

He uses it to get himself out of trouble, creating space to make plays.

He uses it to attack the basket.  His stop-and-go is deadly.

He uses it to pull and manipulate defenders to create open shots for teammates.

  • His elevated aggression also shows through his increased confidence in attacking the basket with the intent to finish

    • While there is still room for improvement, particularly with floaters and runners, he displayed a higher conversion percentage at the rim 

    • Exhibited a better touch off the board using a variety of shots in the paint/around the basket, finishing over rim protection

    • Attacks were more balanced to the left and right this season

    • Will need to continue working on his craftiness against long, athletic rim protectors 

    • His change of direction and wiggle, combined with his ability to get the ball up on the board swiftly with touch helps him to convert around the rim at his size.  He has also become better at using his body to protect the ball.  He uses slight, subtle movements to shift a big man’s feet and body weight just enough to give him a sliver of daylight to get the ball up on the board.

  • Added a consistent same foot, same leg lay-in that leaves his hand quickly and gets high up on the board even quicker

  • As his aggression has risen, so has his propensity to take bad shots, which is to be expected.  It is nowhere near a concern.  It is simply a result of assuming a greater scoring role.  This will be an area he can improve upon as he moves into his senior year and prepares for the next level.

  • Has improved as a shooter, especially from 3, where he shot 36% on 6 attempts per game over the charted contests.  What’s more, the vast majority of those attempts were shot off the dribble, increasing the level of difficulty.

  • Higher confidence level and more willing to take the shot

    • Off-the-dribble

      • Capable of pulling up and squaring in the air from mid-range
      • Has a preference for shooting off the bounce going to his left

      • Terrific ability to create space via dribble moves/change of direction

  • Growing ability to stop on a dime and pull up

    • Will benefit from working to perfect this shot, especially in semi-transition/transition situations

  • Has added to his range, become much more comfortable shooting it from well behind the line, and exhibited greater consistency overall (as previously noted).  He sets up his shots in an assortment of ways, as we will see.

  • He likes to use the between-the-legs dribble move in a couple of different capacities to set up his 3 off the bounce

  • He will put it between his legs nonchalantly as a rhythm dribble, slightly lulling the defense to sleep, then rise up for a quick release

  • He will put more force into the move to sell the drive right with a hard step/lean, and then push off with his right foot to create the space to shoot a variation of a side-step moving left (yes, the bank was open...)

  • Advanced as the primary ball handler in pick and roll action

    • He makes the read and reacts accordingly

    • Attacks the switching defender/hedger to either quickly close the space, drive him backwards, or simply call the bluff of a soft hedge

  • Together with his handle and blow-by capability, the improvement in his 3-ball off-the-dribble makes him extremely difficult to defend as a scoring threat.  Giving him some space to work with is now risky, but pressing up may be even more detrimental.  On top of these scoring attributes, his vision, manipulation, and playmaking abilities only add to his to his effectiveness.  

  • Reading the defense more clearly, leading to better decision making

  • Playmaking – always a strength, but is showing more maturity

    • Continues to display an excellent ability to run the break as a decision maker

  • As mentioned above, he has grown as a pick and roll decision maker, creating quality looks for ball screeners and shooters alike

    • Increasing aggression and improving 3-point shooting consistency demanded greater attention, opening up more opportunities for his teammates

  • His A-1 ability to get into the paint and distribute continues to grow

  • Needs to improve his consistency at the free throw line

Shot chart from the 2021 High School Season Play (6 games)

Dug Shot Chart.jpg
Ball Handling (Passing/Dribbling)
  • As difficult as it may be for him to progress in this area, overall, his ballhandling continues to advance in quickness, control, and in deception.  The ball is a part of his hand.  He is able to combine his instincts, shake, and ball control with impressive court vision.  At times, his ball skills and creativity lead to pure wizardry.

  • Refuses to let anyone get close enough to attempt to body him off the ball

  • Continues to grow as a passer  

    • Accurate off the live dribble; keeps his head/eyes up and is accurate with placement to his targets

      • Struggled a bit during his first tourney with Takeover this spring due to a lack of familiarity with his teammates.  This should improve as he learns them.  He is a quick study.​

    • Easily found seams to slip no looks and bullet passes through​​​​, simply by being patient and letting movements develop

    • The game appears have slowed down for him with the ball in his hands a bit more this year.  He displayed the ability to manipulate defenses (see more below in the “IQ” section) and then deliver white glove service passes to his teammates for easy buckets.
    • Puts a beautiful touch on various looks
  • Throws a good bounce pass that leads his teammates nicely on the break, using the proper spins, as applicable

    • Uses front spin to skip the pass forward when it needs to catch up to a sprinter

    • Uses slight back spin to get the ball out in front of the defender and allow his teammate to catch up to it

  • Stronger, more accurate left-handed passer

  • Showed a slight tendency to overdribble, but usually makes good use of his dribbles

  • Rarely picks up his dribble prematurely

Basketball IQ
  • He is much more decisive on his paint touches.  Last year, he had a tendency to get in the paint without a plan.  This season, such was a rare occurrence. 

  • Has grown in his understanding of how to manipulate the defense.  He knows how to play chess out there, moving the pieces on the board to attack the defense at the weakness he has created.  Let’s take a look at an example:

Here, he drives hard to the left and away from the ball screen, pulling one help man off to stop ball and the corner defender down to the block.  At the same time, he drags his original defender behind him in a chase.  Meanwhile, off-ball, we see a back screen for the original ball screener (a little Spain pick-and-roll action).  As McDaniel pulls back and levels out a bit, he begins to advance toward the back screener who has, by now, popped up to the top of the key as the reverse man.  McDaniel’s momentum and eyes fix on his teammate at the top of the key, pulling both help defenders with them.  As he moves to make what appears to be a routine reversal pass, these subtle manipulations create an opening for the no-look pass to the cutter off the back screen.

  • Understands how to leverage a defender’s momentum and weight distribution very well, using them against the defender in various situations to create space, generate quality looks, and make plays for others

  • Instinctual reactions; an expanding feel for the game

    • Very quick processor

    • Continues to show a great understanding of space and time

  • Remains a disruptor

  • Communicated well with his teammates, and functioned as the leader on the defensive end

    • Stayed on point with switching assignments

  • Did not exert as much consistent ball pressure this year.  Most likely, this was due to playing more 20 minute half-games and carrying a larger offensive load.  Still, he showed the ability to apply stove top-type pressure on the ball, at times, giving opposing guards the blues trying to handle his quickness.

  • Seasoned veteran

  • Showed greater leadership

  • Enthusiastic and positive on the court; the engine

  • Growing in confidence

  • Plays very hard, and pushes himself to be at his best.  He was visibly hard on himself this year.

  • Showed a bit of frustration with his teammates, sometimes, when they made mistakes

    • Will want to be sure to nip this in the bud and get rid of any visible contempt

  • Has remained a high-motor player

  • Did not hesitate to get on the floor

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