The King and KD help out

CLEMSON - There may not be a student on the Clemson campus that got more out of their summer internship than K.J. McDaniels.

Alongside some of the top wings in the country, McDaniels was one of six college basketball players to attend both the Kevin Durant Skills Academy and the LeBron James Skills Academy.

"It helped out tremendously, because I saw the discipline that they had for the game that they love," McDaniels said.

The "they' that he referred to are James and Durant, arguably the two best basketball players on the planet.

"They were doing extra shooting before we even came in and started working out, or after, they were still shooting," McDaniels said. "Just the discipline that they had, it's what I caught the most of, being able to focus all the time on basketball. When you love something, you're going to go out there and do whatever you've got to do to do your best.

"I felt like me seeing Kevin Durant and LeBron do those things, it was definitely a boost for me. I feel like I should do the same."

While those experiences certainly played a role in helping McDaniels' junior season get off to such a hot start, his emergence as one of the most explosive players in the ACC can also be attributed to the development in years one and two at Clemson.

Eighth in the ACC in scoring [18.6] and tied for 19th in rebounding [6.3], McDaniels leads Clemson in both categories. If he continues to lead the league in blocked shots by more than a full block, he'll draw serious consideration for ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors in the spring.

But there is a lot of basketball left to be played before then.

After Tuesday night's 7 o'clock game against S.C. State, Clemson will hit the road for the first time on Saturday when they travel to Arkansas. After that, there are only three games left between the Tigers and ACC play.

And that's where we'll really get a sense of just how far McDaniels has come in his third season of college ball.

"I feel like I have to go out there and not be scared of anything, no matter who's on the court. So, I feel like, to establish myself, I have to go out there and make my presence known," McDaniels said.

Well, he's done a good job of making his presence known, scoring at least 20 points in five games this season. The only player in the ACC with more than that is Duke's Jabari Parker.

"Having to come out with that mentality every game, that's what is most important, because I want the team to win," McDaniels said. "I'm going to do whatever I have to do."

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