COLLEGE BEAT: Daniels sticking with Quinnipiac as Dunleavy comes aboard

COLLEGE BEAT: Daniels sticking with Quinnipiac as Dunleavy comes aboard


MERIDEN — Quinnipiac University introduced longtime Villanova assistant Baker Dunleavy as its new men’s basketball coach on Tuesday afternoon.

Meriden resident Chaise Daniels, who just completed his junior year with the Bobcats, attended Dunleavy’s first team meeting at 11 a.m. on Tuesday morning and came away impressed with the new coach.

“It was a great first impression,” Daniels said Tuesday evening. “He seems like a very good guy and we know what they are trying to do. They are willing to listen to the guys on the team. I’m excited. It’s going to be a new journey and I will see where it takes me.”

Daniels, 21, said he was upset when he initially found out Tom Moore was relieved of his duties on March 7 after a 10-year tenure at QU. So the question naturally arose: Would Daniels be back at the Hamden school for his senior year?

“Yes, sir. I will be back,” Daniels said Tuesday night. “When my coach got fired, I was confused and needed some time to myself. It affected me emotionally and I was saddened by it. I was coached by him for three years and he was gone without any notice. It was kind of a slap in the face. But a week went by and I decided I wanted to finish my career at Quinnipiac.”

It was Moore who recruited Daniels and the two bonded.

“They were one of the first schools to show interest in me,” Daniels said. “I wanted to go to Quinnipiac. Coach Moore was good to me. He took me on a tour of campus. He showed the school cared about me and my family. So it was rough when he was fired because it was so unexpected.”

Quinnipiac finished 10-21 last season, but Daniels did flourish in the Bobcat frontcourt. He started all 31 games and averaged 13.0 points and 6.2 rebounds. He also blocked 52 shots,

“Being an upperclassman and being a three-year veteran, I felt I had to take a leadership role and control the season as one of the older guys,” Daniels said. “This year was up and down. We had times where we were the team that could achieve the goals we wanted. Other times, we didn’t. We were a young team and it was expected at times. But it is a learning process and we are embracing it and moving forward.”

Daniels said he wants to help put a banner on the wall in his final year at the school.

“It’s going to be my senior year and ever since I was a freshman I wanted to be part of a team to post a championship,” Daniels said. “I want to have a 20-win season. When I was in high school and prep school we were always ranked high. I come from a winning background and I want to get back to that.”

Daniels. who goes 6-foot-9, 240 pounds, went to high school at Hillhouse and led the Academics to the Class LL state championship in 2013. He also played a year of prep at Putnam Science Academy before arriving at Quinnipiac.

As a freshman, Daniels played in all 30 games and started 16. Last year, as a sophomore, Daniels appeared in 23 games, including 21 starts, missing seven games with an injury. He averaged 9.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.

Dunleavy, only 34, joins the Bobcats after spending seven years on the men’s basketball staff at Villanova University under Jay Wright. He was aboard for Villanova’s national championship last year.

Dunleavy began at Villanova as the director of basketball operations in 2010 before being elevated to assistant coach in 2012 and to associate head coach in 2013.

Dunleavy’s older brother, Mike Dunleavy Jr., won a national championship as a player at Duke and recently completed his 15th NBA season with the Atlanta Hawks. Their father, Mike Dunleavy Sr., also played 10 years in the NBA and served as head coach for four NBA franchises (Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers).

Dunleavy Sr. is currently the head coach at Tulane University in New Orleans, giving the family two NCAA Division I head coaches heading into the 2017-18 season.

Baker Dunleavy becomes the seventh head coach in Quinnipiac’s 67-year basketball history and the third in its 19 years at the Division I level.

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