Updated: Jan 1, 2020
July 2019 has been my busiest month of the year, my month started with a spectacular holiday barbeque at my Mother and Stepfathers house in suburban Atlanta. The next day I was on a plane heading to Las Vegas for NBA Summer League, which is an annual voyage for me to network and talk shop with some of the best basketball minds in the world. I would also be visiting and interviewing one of the Nations top Point Guards in the class of 2020 Daishen Nix, (ESPN #5, Rivals #2 and 247Sports #1). My month continued after Summer League, with NCAA Live Period in Birmingham, Atlanta, Augusta, and concludes at USA Basketball in Colorado Springs.
I first saw Daishen on December 19, 2018, at the historical Tarkanian Classic. It was my first time covering the event and I had no idea what I was in store for. While at the Tark, I got my first looks at several other highly touted players as well, including Evan Mobley, Jonathan Kuminga, Michael Foster, Jr, Makur Maker, and Kyree Walker just to name a few. But it was Daishen's collection of size, skill, strength, and speed coupled with an elite passing ability that made him a prospect that was much better than his then #79 ranking.
After watching him that first night, I did a recap of the day's standout players on Twitter and listed him as the best player on the floor during his game against Our Savior New American School (NY). Unbeknownst to me, I mistakenly listed him as a 2019 prospect. The next morning I had a comment on my tweet from his Mom Mina, letting me know he was C/O 2020. At the gym, I spotted his family and introduced myself to his Mom, who was very welcoming to me. She then pointed me in the direction of his Coach, Coach Greg Lockridge. I introduced myself to him, asked him about Daishen's recruitment and then exchanged contact info to stay in touch.
Later that night I watched Daishen and his Trinity Squad take on a loaded Findley Prep (NV) team compiled mostly with major D1 talent. In a losing effort, I watched him pick apart Findley. He got to wherever he wanted on the floor with his handle, whipped on target cross-court passes to open shooters. Snatched down rebounds & pushed the ball in transition, finding teammates for easy baskets, while also picking his spots to score on the perimeter and in the paint. I walked away that night with the confident conclusion that he was one of the best players/point guards in the country. I believed it so much that I called a well established ACC Head Coach to give him a synopsis of Dashien's game accompanied with a vigorous pushed for him to get in on his recruitment.
After leaving Vegas that weekend my next stop was the Chick-Fil-A Classic in Columbia, South Carolina. This was another event loaded with basketball talent I was excited to cover but I was equally excited to chat with so many well-known basketball recruiting publications from around the country. I asked several of them had they heard of Daishen and if so what they thought of him. Not one person was high on him, they said things like he's not athletic, he can't shoot it or he hasn't played against anybody. In my head, I'm thinking these guys are absolutely out of their minds and couldn't spot talent if it smacked them in the face.
I've tracked Daishen ever since I left Las Vegas in December, while also staying in touch with Coach Lockridge. I watched him on the Grind Session compete against some of the best prep-talent in the country. Teams like Bella Vista Prep (AZ), Prolific Prep (CA), The Potter's House (FL), and Spire Academy (OH) just to name a few. He was always the best if not one of the best players on the court. So it blows my mind to hear people say he hasn't played anybody because all those schools are loaded with Shoe Circuit guys.
I was also able to see him live a few more time before my visit with him in Vegas. I saw him at USA Basketball Junior Mini-Camp in Minnesota during the Final Four, Nike Hoop Summit in Portland as he participated with a select team that was brought in to Scrimmage against Team USA, Terrific 24 during the first live period in Atlanta and NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, VA. Every time I saw him, he'd gotten better, his body has changed and he tweaked some things in his game.
Which brings me to my time in Las Vegas and my sitdown interview with Daishen Nix. When I landed in Vegas I reached out to Coach Lock about the possibility of coming by to check out a practice or two while I was in town. He was gracious enough to allow me to sit in on a couple of practices, as his team prepared for their final NCAA Live Period tournament in California.
The first thing I noticed was, Daishen is the leader of his team by far, not so much on the vocal side but more so by example. He led them in their pre-practice stretches/warm-ups, then right into baseline out of bounds plays, sideline out of bounds plays, half-court sets, and finally transitions sets. Throughout the process, the voice of Coach Lock was ever-present, he'd jump in to get on guys mostly about mental mistakes that were being made. Daishen wasn't immune to this at all, as he got his fair share along with the rest of his teammates. Coach Lock says that he likes to "apply pressure" "because if they can handle him, when they get out into the real world they'll be able to stomach whatever comes there way." Coach Lock typically followed the pressure sequences with a sound explanation on what he was trying to teach and why it was necessary.
What I noticed while sitting in on two practices was Daishen's receptiveness to be coached, he took the beratement from his Coach with little push back. Which I think allows his other teammates to receive it without hesitation, because if the #1 Point Guard in the country is taking it everyone else had to fall in line accordingly and from my point of view that falls back on his leadership qualities.
Now I'll move on to my sitdown with C/O 2020 Point Guard Daishen Nix in Q&A form:
Q: How has your transition been from Alaska to Las Vegas?
A: It's been good, the only thing that's tough for me is the weather.
Q: It's Hot?
A: Yeah, it's too hot for me.
Q: So I met your Mom back in December, do you have siblings and if so how many?
A: 3 Sisters, 2 older than me and 1 younger than me.
Q: So you grew up in a house with 4 women?
A: Pretty much, well 6 counting my Grandma and my Aunt.
Q: So how was it growing up in a house with all Women?
A: It was good because they let me do whatever I wanted. They really spoiled me and got me what I wanted most of the time.
Q: What would you say your strengths and weaknesses are as a player?
A: My strengths are my court vision, my passing, and my handles.
A: My weaknesses are my shooting and probably my defense, I get lazy sometimes.
Q: But that's something you can work on, right?
A: Yeah, most definitely.
Q: Do you have a favorite player, or someone you may model your game after, past or present?
A: I probably model my game after Deron Williams and Jason Kidd.
Q: Have you played against or seen anybody this year that has impressed or surprised you?
A: Pretty much all the ranked player but the one that surprised me the most was probably Cade Cunningham. He's really Nice!
Q: Where did you play against him?
A: USA Basketball Mini-Camp, during the Final Four. Cade was the most talented one I've seen.
Q: How have things changed for you, now that you're nationally ranked in the top 25?
A: More recognition from pretty much everybody else, they know who I am now. They play me differently now, before they didn't know my strengths but now they know what I can do.
Q: Have you had to adjust to that at all?
A: Sometimes I adjust some times I play the same it depends on who's guarding me.
Q: How's recruitment going for you?
A: It's pretty good, I've got offers from a lot of High Major programs like West Virginia, Maryland, Gonzaga, LSU, Kansas, UCLA, Arizona, and Kentucky joined in the mix.
Q: Do you get a lot of calls or are they calling your coach?
A: They call him but I get more text from them.
Q: How do you feel about the people who doubt you because you don't go to some powerhouse school or play on one of the big shoe circuit AAU teams?
A: I really don't pay much attention to it, because when I get invited to camps that's when I can show those people that doubt me that I can play.
Q: Tell me something that most people don't know about you?
A: I'm a quiet kid, I don't like talking that much.
Q: What kind of music are you listening to these days?
A: Hip-Hop mostly, mainly Lil-Baby and Polo G. Oh I like Lil Uzi too.
Q: Fashion sense, what kind of stuff do you like to wear when you're not hooping?
A: I like wearing sweats and stuff like that, I'll wear J's (Jordans) and I like to wear Vans too.
In conclusion, I have to say that I believe Daishen Nix has a bright future and I'm not just talking about Basketball. He's a good kid with a loving family that supports him fully coupled with a coach that provides that tough love that we all need from time to time. If you didn't know the Name Daishen Nix you must've been under a rock or wearing blinders and if you're unsure of his talents I urge you to watch him play and I guarantee he'll make a believer out of you. I'll leave you with this, a well known D1 Coach told me this a few weeks ago, "you are who recruits you" and Daishen is being recruited by the very best programs in the country.
Until next time......