Last year Jalen McDaniels had his breakout moment of his breakout season when he went for 15 points and 10 rebounds in an upset victory over Gonzaga. That game would be a catapult for McDaniels as he was arguably the most impressive player on the team down the stretch for the Aztecs. He would finish the season third on the team in scoring (10.5 points per game) and first in rebounds (7.5 per game).
His stock grew towards the end of the year and after posting 18 points and nine rebounds in the loss against Houston in the NCAA tournament he decided to test the NBA waters. McDaniels worked out for 20 NBA teams in a long, thorough process that culminated with him deciding to return to San Diego State for his redshirt sophomore year.
With how quickly he hit the scene people are excited about the next step in his development. It is well known that McDaniels works with trainers Cartiea French-Toney and Clint Parks. The shooting that he displayed in the following video caused a stir of excitement at his development at the time. With June and July as further opportunities to improve we asked French-Toney about Jalen’s development. First he began by looking back at where McDaniels was last season and what people can expect from him next season.
“Last year Jalen played his role on the team which was rebound, play hard, and sprint the floor. This year everyone will see more of his arsenal as he is a 3/4 who can put the ball down and make plays, plus make shots!”
One area that you can see a marked improvement in the video is his three point shot, something that was not a consistent part of his repertoire at San Diego State.
“He really dedicated a lot of his off-season to improving his three-ball. He was 4/19 last season from behind the stripe.”
Of course last year was not perfect and there are always things to improve on. French-Toney highlighted to us some of the things that he thought McDaniels did well last season. These things are the excelled in last year and are a foundation of his game.
“[McDaniels] shot 80 percent from the line and consistently scored off face ups and one to two dribble pull ups.”
It seems like McDaniels will come in as a more well-rounded player. He and his trainers have identified some working points and worked hard at making those strengths. The NBA is in McDaniels future and I believe it is coming sooner rather than later.