July 9, 2014 11:05PM
By Sean Krofssik
MERIDEN — Chaise Daniels was a force in high school and at an elite prep school last winter. Now the Meriden resident is looking to continue his basketball success at Division I Quinnipiac University.
The 6-foot-8, 220-pound big man went to Maloney for two years before transferring to Hillhouse in New Haven. He helped lead the Academics to a Class LL state crown in 2013 and was named All-State.
Last winter, Daniels played at Putnam Science Academy. He guided the team to a 29-5 record and an appearance in the semifinals of the National Prep School Championships.
Daniels said he can’t wait to continue his success at Quinnipiac.
“I played at a high level at high school and at prep school we were ranked No. 2 in the country,” Daniels said. “Over the years I’ve gotten better and better. Quinnipiac offered me a scholarship. We developed a relationship over time and I decided it was the place for me. I’m excited to play there. My family and local fans will be able to see me play and I think I can bring a lot of excitement to that team.”
Daniels averaged a double-double last winter at Putnam.
He did the same in his senior season at Hillhouse with 13 points and 10 rebounds per game.
Daniels said he turned down scholarships from Virginia Commonwealth, UMass, Drexel, Fairfield, Hofstra, Dayton, the University of Charlotte and Long Island University before picking head coach Tom Moore and the Bobcats last November.
“I had the best relationship with their coaches,” Daniels said. “I liked their players. They treated me like I was on their team and I feel like I can succeed there.”
Daniels particularly bonded with QU assistant Scott Burrell, who grew up in Hamden, starred at UConn and played in the pros.
“We really got along well,” Daniels said. “He knows what it takes to get to the next level. He knows what I can do and what I need to do.”
Daniels is the first local Connecticut product to join the Bobcats since the 2010-11 season. He said he is ready to contribute to the Hamden school right away.
“I feel I’m ready right now,” Daniels said. “I need to work on my strength and, fundamentally, I need to sharpen up a few things, but I think I should be fine.”
Daniels plans on studying sociology.
While growing up in Meriden, Daniels said he looked up to Maloney stars Jaron Belin and Rashamell Vereen. He said he’s had the opportunity to play with both of them.
Daniels also said his mom, Tamika Daniels, is his biggest fan. The two live together in Meriden.