June 15, 2011
by: Michael Stagno, Auburn Media Relations
Defying the odds and proving the doubters wrong while staying determined and committed is what Marquis Daniels does best.
"Pretty much my whole career's been like that," Daniels said after speaking to campers at the Coach Tony Barbee Basketball School at Auburn Arena on Tuesday. "People have pretty much counted me out. It pretty much just made me want to work harder."
Daniels graduated in three and a half years from Auburn and by the time he was a senior in 2002-03, he averaged 18.4 points and 6.2 rebounds. The Orlando, Fla., native averaged 23.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.3 steals in 35.3 minutes per game in three NCAA Tournament games in 2003 while shooting 53 percent from the field as he led the 10th-seeded Tigers to an improbable run to the Sweet 16.
Daniels scored a game-high 27 points, game-high nine rebounds, four assists and two steals in 38 minutes vs. eventual National Champion Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. He scored 17 second-half points against the Orangemen's vaunted 2-3 zone as the Tigers came back from 17 points down to lose 79-78.
"We all played hard together and we practiced hard together," said Daniels. "Everyone had each other's back. It makes a team and it makes you stick together. I think a lot of teams don't have the experience of having that team camaraderie."
That magical NCAA Tournament run began with an overtime win over St. Joseph's and a second round win over No. 2 seed, eighth-ranked and ACC Champion Wake Forest. Daniels had 25 points (3-of-4 three-pointers), eight rebounds, four assists and two steals in 42 minutes in the overtime win over Saint Joseph's. He scored eight of the Tigers' final 11 points in the win, drilling a 23-foot 3-pointer well beyond the top of the key with :05 left in regulation to give Auburn a 57-55 lead. He hit a reverse layup, was fouled and made the free throw with :44 remaining in overtime for a 64-63 Auburn lead.
Daniels tallied 18 points, four rebounds and three steals in only 26 minutes in the win over Wake Forest. He scored seven of his 18 points in the final 1:50 of the Wake game as Auburn advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second tme in five years.
This was Daniels' first time to see the new Auburn Arena when he came to speak to the campers.
"I think the last time I came here Auburn played Alabama in basketball, and they won," Daniels said. "Actually, they were putting the new Auburn Arena up. So this is my first time being here. It looks great."
As Daniels spoke to the campers and answered a variety of questions from the cars that he drives to the jewelry that he wears, he preached his philosophy that he likes to live by, that is, "WAC" without the `K' (work hard, attitude and commitment).
"Everybody's not going to play in the NBA," Daniels said. "But you still have to work hard and stay committed. That goes for everything, whether you're going to be a doctor, lawyer or whatever, you just have to stay determined."
Daniels applies his philosophy not just on the court, but at home with his family as well, proving that he is indeed an Auburn man. He is married to former Auburn women's basketball player, Shana Askew, and together the couple has two children, a 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter.
Daniels, an undrafted rookie in 2003, hit it big with the Dallas Mavericks for his rookie season as he averaged 8.5 points in 56 games, starting 15 in 2003-04. He has been to two NBA Finals with the Dallas Mavericks in 2006 and the Boston Celtics in 2010.
After three years in Dallas, Daniels played three seasons for the Indiana Pacers and signed with the Celtics after having a breakout season with the Pacers in 2008-09 in which he averaged 13.6 points and 4.6 rebounds.
This past season, while with the Celtics, he suffered a severe injury in which he bruised his spine when he collided with the Orlando Magic's Gilbert Arenas on Feb. 6 and lay motionless on the court for 10 minutes. He then had season-ending surgery.
"I just recently had my surgery on my spine," Daniels said. "I'm supposed to see my doctor again in maybe a week or so. I'm looking forward to hearing some good news and just getting back to playing again."
Daniels was traded to the Sacramento Kings mid-season and is currently a free agent.