Makayla Daniels Had Big Freshman Season, Mike Neighbors Excited for More in Future

Local Sports

FAYETTEVILLE — Freshman Makayla Daniels had a very good freshman season for the 24-8 University of Arkansas basketball team this past season.

Daniels, 5-8, signed with the Razorbacks out of Frederick (Md.) High School. She played in 32 games starting each of those. She averaged 9.3 points and 1.7 rebounds each game while dishing out 77 assists and had 45 steals. She shot 49.5 percent from the floor, 44.6 from the three-point land and 77.9 at the free throw stripe.

Mike Neighbors is pleased with how Daniels played for the Razorbacks. Some injuries to other players probably helped her playing time increase, but Neighbors liked how she responded.

“The question is ‘Do we find out about Makayla Daniels if I.T. doesn’t have the injury that she had in the preseason,” Neighbors said. “I don’t have an answer to that. Nobody knows that. Everybody would be guessing. But Makayla was ready when that opportunity came and made the absolute most of it. And  as a result she earned the respect of her teammates. I think you’ll see her take a big jump.”

Neighbors said Daniels has continued to work to improve during this time when the UA is closed due to the COVID-19.

“I’ve said to people kiddingly all summer, I think most people in our league forgot she was a freshman including the coaches because she didn’t get named to the All-Freshman team,” Neighbors said. “But you look at what she did last year for us as a freshman and I have the utmost confidence on the floor that she does what she did for us last year and more.  She takes a step up leadership now in having a voice.  It’s hard to do as a freshman.  Very rarely ask a freshman to do all that. 

“But now as a sophomore, I think most people forgot she was a freshman last year. I think most people think she’s an upperclassman this year even though she’s a sophomore.  She is one of our most attentive to detail people during this separation. She is always one of the first to reply to anything.  She’s watching the film on her own since we can’t mandate them.  She’s asking questions on her own. I anticipate a normal step in her progression from freshman to sophomore. That’s a pretty big step.”

Click here for Daniels’ recruiting report when she was a senior in high school.

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