BENDIGO Braves legend Ricky Daniels insists his son Dyson will relish the challenge to forge his own path with the proud NBL1 club and not try and follow in his dad’s shoes.
The Braves announced last Friday they had signed the 15-year-old junior Australian team representative for the 2019 season, making him just the third son of a former player to represent club.
He follows Austen Flint (late 2010), the son of the man voted the Braves’ greatest player in 2010, David Flint, and Lewis Beks (2017), the son of 1988 championship player and 189-gamer David Beks.
Ricky, who played 189 for the Braves and had his #23 singlet retired in 2011, said learning Dyson had been offered a contract was an emotional moment for the entire Daniels family.
He said any concerns he had about Dyson’s body size and ability to match it with the men had been quickly erased after watching him at Braves practice.
“For him to be asked to step up and play in the men’s league at the age of 15, I was thinking about his size,” Ricky said.
“But looking at it, he’s actually a guard – and a big guard.
“I’ve come down and watched his training a bit and I think he’ll fit it in pretty well.”
Ricky, who averaged 20.3 ppg, 13.1 rpg and 4apg and was twice named league MVP, felt comparisons between father and son were not particularly apt as both played different positions.
“He’s more of a shooting guard-point guard, I was more a 3-4-5, (but) I played point guard in high school and college a bit,” he said.
“He’s a bit quicker and a bit more athletic and he has got the smarts.
“That will help a lot stepping out into the men’s league.”
He understood Dyson would be eager to establish his own identity with the Braves and stressed there had never been any pressure from inside the home on Dyson to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“We don’t force our kids to suit up for any sport, they’ve decided to do that themselves and all I can do is help them along the way and give them a few pointers here and there,” he said.
“I am very proud – he’s achieved a lot at a young age.”
Dyson, who doesn’t turn 16 until next month, admitted genuine surprise at being elevated to the Braves’ senior roster, but acknowledged the hard work was only beginning.
“I do have a much smaller body against the senior guys, but I have got to use my other strengths like my speed and agility and athleticism,” he said.
“To play in the (former) SEABL men’s team has always been a dream and now that dream has come true.”
It follows a whirlwind 12 months for Daniels, highlighted by his Oceania Championships gold medal with the Australian under-15 team and a silver medal with Victoria Country at the national championships.
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