Daniel Guest is a 27 year old 191cm guard from West Harford that has played in the APBL with the Manhattan Pride (APBL) playing 8 games averaging 17ppg, 8rpg, 10apg and with the Springfield Sting (ABA): playing 2 games averaging 23ppg, 9rpg, 8apg. He most recently played with Ola Verde (Mexico-Cibevasar). He got NCAA experience with George Washington playing 53 NCAA games and played a season with Uconn playing 9 games. The American wants to play overseas and spoke to Germanhoops.com about basketball.
Daniel thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and how have you been keeping your self basketball busy?
I am currently in the UK working out with a trainer. I am preparing to join a team this upcoming season and I am excited to prove myself this season.
You have been a professional player since 2015 and spent some time in Germany this summer. You have never played in a real professional league in Europe, but have ties to Germany to Nils Giffey and Leon Tolksdorf who were your teammates at Uconn and also to Jared Jordan who comes from your home town West Hartford. What did you achieve in Germany?
I went to Germany and took part in some trials that lead to mutual interest from myself and a team. I am looking to make that situation work and keep my career moving forward.
You played with Jared Jordan at home. What kind of impact has he had on you? Have you been able to pick his brain about getting to Europe and playing professional ball?
Jared Jordan was my coach when I was younger. I learned a lot just from watching him play and he was really a big reason why I pursued the game of basketball. I asked him some questions earlier on and he gave me good advice about how to progress my career.
Before we get to your NCAA career, let´s talk about the last years. You played a total of 380 minutes with Uconn and 62 games for George Washington and Uconn. Do you feel like having played so little in the NCAA has hampered your professional route?
I think that my time in the NCAA was plagued by a personal family tragedy. That really caused trouble for my career, my focus and level of concern for the game, and my passion. I have the ability to play basketball at a high level so I am going to keep pursuing it. I proved that I can play by getting to the positions that I was in early on. I think my teammates and coaches would also say that I am a good player. I am now looking to get back to playing basketball for a good organization.
How tough has the last years been for you? You played semi pro basketball with the Manhattan Pride (APBL) and Springfield Sting (ABA), played on a USA Select Team touring United Kingdom:and with Ola Verde (Mexico-Cibevasar). Were there ever moments when you wanted to quit the game that you love?
I think that I have tried to navigate my career on my own and I did not really have a mentor that really knows the professional basketball market. I made some bad decisions about teams to play on but my talent has not diminished and I am pursuing my passion. I think there are moments when lots of athletes question their drive and motivation but the ones who succeed push forward.
Despite being two years at top school Uconn, it didn´t seem to open any doors for you after. Talk a little how difficult it has been getting yourself into the professional door. With every added year and no real European teams to add your resume, it gets harder and harder to get that much needed break. How have you been coping and what is your strategy for the upcoming 2018-2019 season which would be your fourth professional season?
I think it has been a learning process. I think going from a high level in college to having to work harder to get a professional start has helped me grow. I think I appreciate things more and am focused on basketball and understand how it can and cannot fit into my future. I think lots of times the grind for the collegiate basketball players in the states can cause players to not look towards the future. There are so many responsibilities that you sometimes do not look at how what you are doing translates to the next steps in the basketball world or to other professions. I faced a lot of personal family challenges and so I was not as able to focus on the next steps at a crucial developmental stage for me. My strategy is to now look forward and enjoy the game of basketball while putting my best foot forward.
Talk a little about your professional experience you have had. How much have you really gained form playing semi pro ball in the States, playing in England and Mexico. What have been the positives and negatives in your experiences?
I think that my basketball experiences so far have built up mental strength. I have an appreciation for the full spectrum of the basketball world and the passions and goals of different types of players.
How would you sell your basketball life story best to a professional team in Germany? You practiced a whole season with the 2013-2014 UConn national team and battled NBA player Shabazz Napier on a daily basis.
My experiences at Uconn showed me that I have the talent level to compete with great basketball players. It also showed me the differences between good and great players. There is consistency in addition to talent that pushes players from the collegiate level to the professional level. I think sports are great in that the progress of each individual and where their work ethic will take them is so observable. I got a better understanding of what it takes to be a great basketball player and why players are great by just being in a basketball environment like Uconn.
You won´t land in the easyCredit BBL, but with some luck could land with a German Regionaliga team. Is your ego sane enough to play in the German 4th league and possibly for 500-700 dollars a month?
I think landing a position playing for a basketball organization in Germany will be great. I do not mind that it is not the top of the mountain to start. I have a lot in the tank and the motivation to succeed. I also have maintained a good reputation and I am not a head case for a coach or an organization. I think securing a contract in Germany will be big for me because getting stats there will grant me the official verification that teams need to offer me bigger contracts.
How big is the chip on your shoulder to prove everyone wrong? You never got a chance in the NCAA and haven´t had a chance in the pro´s either. How heavy is your chip and what keeps to going to get that one chance to to get your foot in the door in Europe?
I do not feel snubbed or vengeful that my past opportunities were limited. I came out of the gate strong to start off my collegiate career and if you speak with my coach at the time, Karl Hobbs, he would tell you that. I think it is pretty simple in that I just need to secure a contract and move forward to keep playing the game I am passionate about. I could see myself working in the business of sport after I am done playing. I just got a business degree while playing this past year so as I move on I think my drive and determination will continue to be evident in my play. A lot of the experiences within the past five years or so have been new challenging and forced me to grow. So I think I am better prepared now more than ever to move forward and carve out a good ending to my basketball career.
Let´s talk a little about your game. You’re a 191cm point guard that has nice size. What are your biggest strength as a player and to what NBA player would you describe your game best to?
I think I have a lot to bring to the table having good height and size for a point guard. I really do not know what NBA player would be a good comparison for me. I think I have good size can see the floor well, great mid-range game, good outside game, and I can post up smaller defenders. I think creating off the dribble and making plays for myself and my teammates has always been a major strength for me as well. So I guess whatever NBA player is most like that description is also who my comparison should be.
You had top competition at Uconn for two years, but in the last three years not had the best competition to measure how your game has been developing. How would you say your game has progressed in this time which would still merit you the opportunity to deserve a shot somewhere in Europe?
I think that if a team brings me in to workout or just watches me play over the next year in Germany they will be able to see that I have the level of talent to warrant a good contract. I have not diminished in my capabilities sense battling with high level players in college and I have studied and learned the game more in my basketball experiences since then.
What have you learned about the basketball business in the last years that you feel will help you in your next endeavors overseas?
I think that I do not take basketball decisions personal because they are business decisions. I think that through my studies and through my past experiences with basketball I have learned that clubs want you to add value to their organization not just play basketball. There are so many players out here that you have to look at yourself as an employee and keep figuring out ways to better yourself and grow as an employee.
How have you been keeping in basketball shape as of late? How does a normal basketball work out day look like for you on and off the court?
I work with a trainer consistently and I work on my conditioning to make sure that I will be prepared for the start of the season. The season is really right around the corner now. I try to break down clips of myself and my movements to increase my level of efficiency.
Let´s talk about your NCAA career. You played at George Washington from 2010-2012. You played 53 games, but hardly got minutes and played for two coaches. How difficult were these two years there and did you get a fair chance for minutes?
I actually think my freshman year I got off to a great start if you look at the games that you just mentioned you will see that I was starting as a freshman at one point. My personal family tragedy and the harder points of my collegiate basketball career both suffered synonymously. I think it is hard for people to understand that what happens off the court really can affect the person playing the game. But getting to that point my freshman year and making the roster at Uconn and being acknowledged as someone with ability means something. There must be stats and production for teams to go off of but I am taking care of that now. My talent and abilities will speak for themselves with numbers as my opportunities continue to open up.
How tough was it playing behind Tony Taylor who has had a stellar career in Europe. When you see his game and look at yours, is there so much difference? How profitable was it having a guy like Tony Taylor for your game. How did he help your game in those two years best?
Tony Taylor is a great player and a brother to me. He always had great words and he is someone who I think really has flourished and rightfully so. His game to me was just really efficient. He was taught how to play from a young age and it really always showed. I also think that he is someone who believed in my game and talent. We have really not gotten a chance to play together since those days but those were good times. It was great growing and learning along with him for the time we played on the same team in college.
Do you remember hearing any amazing NBA stories from assistant coach Donyell Marshall? Did he any impact on you as a freshman?
Donyell Marshall was a great guy when he was at George Washington and is now coaching at Central. I wish him the best for his career and I am sure he will continue growing. I think whenever you have a guy of his caliber on staff it affects your mindset and provides you with a blueprint for what an accomplished individual looks like. That is invaluable.
In 2013 you transferred to Uconn, but had to sit out on account of the transfer rule. How did you experience the NCAA run? You practiced with the team, but didn´t play games. How tough was this season working your butt of in practice and watching the games?
I think that sitting out but being a part of the team and practicing my first year at Uconn was big. It gave me an experience for what it means to exceed expectations on a national level. That was a special time period.
What did you try to gain from Shabazz Napier´s basketball existence most? He obviously had amazing talent, but was there any other things that you noticed in his game that kind of were off he radar simply because you saw him so much on a daily basis?
I think that a player like Shabazz had complete control of the game and a knowledge about how everything worked. It was almost like a professional playing the college game for that 2014 championship year.
Nils Giffey was an important role player on the wing, but how key was his defensive game for the Uconn season?
I think Niels Giffey was like a 60% shooter from three-point range that 2014 year. His defense was always just really solid. He is a team player and I think what he does on and off the court is consistently outstanding. I have a lot of respect for his game. I think everyone respected his game and his work ethic. He was a great guy to be around and seemed to really care about everyone and he may have been a European but he was treated like a brother by everyone.
Did you develop a special relationship with Sam Cassell Jr? He didn´t play much at Uconn and now also is struggling to get overseas. Do you still have contact to him?
No, I have not spoken with Sam in a while. I saw him in the summer league not to long ago which was great to see. I also watched when he was at Iona. I hope his career keeps flourishing
Who was the toughest player that you ever faced in school, pro´s or pick up during the summer that is in the NBA now?
I think there was some great runs at Uconn and I was able to play and see guys at the Uconn alumni events. So those have to be some of the best players I have seen. I was also able to get out to workout at the John Lucas camp for one summer so I saw some great players there as well.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?
I guess four great players I like Lebron, Jordan, Hakeem, Kareem.
Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title and is still three away from Michael Jordan. Where does Lebron stand right now in your opinion in the never ending debate of who is the best of all-time?
I am a Lebron James fan for sure and I like all that he has accomplished through scrutiny. I think lots of times people do not take into account the basketball circumstances or situations a player is in. They do not reasonably question if anyone could exceed the expectations they sometimes subject on one player. I do not think I can say whether or not Lebron James is better than Michael Jordan.
There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell Westbrook?
I think Russell Westbrook is a great player. I do think that a players stats can be a good indicator of what their nature is on the court. I also think sometimes stats are not the best things to go off of. I think Russell Westbrook is a great player that has accomplished great things. As a fan of the game I will be interested to see how his career progresses.
How did you experience the 2018 NCAA March Madness? What was the most spectacular upset in the tournament?
I was abroad at the time of the NCAA tournament. I was not able to follow it as closely because of the time difference and this is the first year that really happened. I understand the struggle of fans that live abroad in different time zones now.
Deandre Ayton was the #1 NBA draft pick in 2018. But having been in Europe this season you must of seen some highlights of Real Madrid´s 19 year old stand out Luca Doncic who belonged to the best players in the Euroleague. Should a guy like that be the automatic #1 pick just from sheer experience and talent?
I think that NBA scouts travel and watch and experience guys. It can be harder to enter the draft for a player that has not had all of the exposure to the American market in the way top young players in the NCAA do. But it can also be good in that you do not have all of the scrutiny that comes with being under a microscope for a full collegiate basketball season. In any event I am sure Luca Doncic is a good player and as he goes through the system it will be clear how he fits into the NBA game.
Lebron James makes amazing passes in every game, but really showcased it in a game this season against the Los Angeles Lakers. He already is like a point guard, but if he played just point guard and concentrated only on playmaking how many assists do you feel would he average per game?
I think Lebron James can pretty much do what he wants on the court so it probably depends on how many assists he wants to get.
What was the last movie that you saw? Let me guess Black Panther?
I saw Jurassic World fairly recently. It was not bad either.
Thanks Daniel for the chat.