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[The Monitor] 12.28.15 Rockets recall Harrell, McDaniels after strong weekend for both in RGV

Discussion in 'Rio Grande Valley Vipers' started by HoopScribe, Dec 28, 2015.

  1. HoopScribe

    HoopScribe Member

    Jul 19, 2013
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    Posted: Monday, December 28, 2015 2:55 pm
    Posted on Dec 28, 2015by Dennis Silva II

    The Rockets recalled second-year wing K.J. McDaniels and rookie forward Montrezl Harrell from Rio Grande Valley on Monday morning. The weekend stint with the Vipers was the third for McDaniels and the second for Harrell.
    Harrell has played five games for the Vipers and was spectacular this weekend, averaging 20.5 points, 7 rebounds, 5 blocks and 2.5 steals while shooting 48.7 percent in wins over Bakersfield and Santa Cruz.
    “Every time I come down here, I look to do better than I did the time before,” Harrell said after Sunday’s win in which he posted 20 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. “I work harder than before and I play every game like it’s my last.”
    When asked where he felt he got better this time around after his previous stint with the Vipers earlier this month, Harrell said, “I definitely got better on the defensive side, took some big charges for crucial plays and I feel like I definitely got the gist of making the next rotation and being that next person to step up.”
    In five games with the Vipers this season, Harrell is averaging 20.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.6 steals and has as many blocks (13) as turnovers. Harrell is shooting 45.9 percent, but that number is lower than what it should be because he has worked to establish a long-range shot during his time with the Vipers. Harrell is shooting 5-for-21 from 3-point range, though the balance and form look promising.
    Harrell has also quickly earned the trust of the Vipers’ coaching staff. More and more when he’s assigned to the Vipers, RGV runs offense through the former Louisville standout. During Sunday’s win over Santa Cruz, Harrell scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and added a couple of assists as the Vipers went through him in the post during a close one-point game.
    “He’s a leader,” Vipers coach Matt Brase said. “He plays hard. He settled for some shots early in the game, and to his credit, before I could even tell him about it, he said, ‘Coach, my bad. I got you next time.’ They couldn’t stop him when he attacked and he really took it to them.”
    McDaniels, too, is coming along, though his rise has not been as consistent or as rapid as Harrell’s. The 6-foot-6 swingman is averaging 13.5 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.2 steals, but shooting just 21.9 percent from 3 (7 for 32) and has attempted just seven free throws in six games with the Vipers.
    But McDaniels left back to Houston on Monday morning on a positive note. During Sunday’s win, McDaniels had just 12 points on 4-for-9 shooting, but had eight rebounds, five assists, two blocks and no turnovers in 38 minutes.
    “He just had a good all-around game,” Brase said. “He struggled from deep (0-for-4), but he was getting to the rim and he wasn’t settling. He had a big offensive rebound and tip dunk that really got us going.
    “He had maybe the best overall game he’s played for us so far, and I think that’s because he got in a flow, he took the right shots, and he stayed aggressive.”
    Having no turnovers was huge for McDaniels, who’d had 24 in the previous five games.
    “I think every time I’ve played I’ve had at least two turnovers, so to have none feels good and I just have to keep reading the game better and seeing plays before they happen,” McDaniels said.
    McDaniels is getting comfortable affecting the game in more ways than just scoring. He still looks unsure knowing when and where to attack offensively, but he is moving the ball, playing lead guard in a pinch and defending and rebounding.
    “I feel like my all-around game is developing,” McDaniels said. “That’s what I’m focusing on. Being able to play multiple positions and showing better decision-making and knowing how to pace myself. It’s definitely been helping just getting the reps and playing and coaches and teammates giving me the confidence in doing what I’m doing.”
    The Vipers have some practice time this week before playing at Texas on Saturday. Then comes the D-League Showcase next week in Santa Cruz. It’s probable Harrell, a second-round draft pick in June’s draft, and McDaniels, a second-round draft pick in the June 2014 draft, return to the Vipers before the game against the Legends, and it’s all but certain they’ll be with RGV for the two games at the Showcase next week.

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