Kai Daniels returned to Bendigo on Wednesday and put the Braves jersey back on in their exhibition game against the University of California Riverside.
How does it feel to be back in Bendigo and put the Braves jersey back on?
“It felt great always a good feeling being back playing for my home team I grew up with its been a year and a bit now since I wore the jersey so definitely felt good.”
Did you find your experience of playing college basketball in the US helped you during the match against Riverside?
“I just knew that those college teams really come out prepared for every game and they were going to treat it like it was an NCAA championship so I told the boys in the locker room that whilst we were all there to just have fun and enjoy a fun exhibition game that they would be coming at us from the jump and we had to be ready. I felt like we did a good job of coming out and playing together early keeping the scores close but obviously in the end they got the best of us and I think that was just because we were a completely new group who hadn’t played together yet.”
How did everyone find playing against a team from overseas? Would you like to see more games held here?
“I think the boys definitely enjoyed it and they loved getting a taste of what a division 1 college looks like and yeah I think they just loved the opportunity. Id love to see more games like these held in Bendigo and around Australia in general”
How do you feel you have improved in the last 12 months?
“I feel like mainly the last 4 months I have improved tremendously working with my brother, his trainer and other NBA players and overseas pro’s has really helped me to see what it takes to be at the top level and allowed me to learn new skills and especially how to play at an NBA pace where there’s a lot more fast pace scoring and a lot less structured offense. It was hard to show in last nights game as in Australia in general its more common to play a slower more structured game so adjusting back to that was a little bit weird but it was a great experience none the less. Often college kids find that the hardest part of adjusting out of college too is just the new pace of the game at the professional level especially those ones who are lucky enough to play in the NBA and they say it all the time when they speak about the differences of college and pro levels.”
What was it like attending the NBA Draft waiting for Dysons name to be called out? Has everyone seen the footage of Bendigo erupting when his name was called out?
“Being at the draft was such a surreal experience, something we always watched as kids and to actually be there was amazing and more then you could ever imagine just being in that moment with all those people around you achieving their dreams at the same time and lives being changed it’s truly incredible. Such a proud feeling when his name was called and a forever lasting memory. We did see the footage of the hometown viewers erupting and it was great to see and Dyson loved the support too.”
Dash and his team came away with the Giddey-Daniels cup, how proud are you of how far he has come?
“Dash’s pathway has been incredible he has overcome so much and he has worked so hard between COVID and me and Dyson leaving home he really has just done an amazing job to get to where he is at now. He’s always putting in the extra work and it’s showing i mean he is honestly playing better than me or Dyson did at his age and he’s doing it on every stage in Australia so we’re super proud of him but he does have a long way to go however, no doubt if he keeps learning and working like he is he will get to wherever he wants, there is no limit for that kid.”
Photo – Craig Dilks Photography