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Dug McDaniel’s silent grind ahead of the 2023-24 season

Michigan’s sophomore point guard Dug McDaniel appeared on Defend the Block to share what he’s been working on this offseason.


Called into action likely a lot sooner than he thought, rising sophomore guard Dug McDaniel took on the challenge as Michigan’s starting point guard this past year. While the season didn’t go according to plan, McDaniel shared on Defend the Block this week that he took a lot away from the experience. He remains inspired for the upcoming season, having watched close friends and teammates Jett Howard and Kobe Bufkin head to the NBA, and anticipates a different narrative for Michigan basketball at the end of this year.

Reflecting on some of the positives he took away from his own game through the course of his freshman season, McDaniel highlighted that his leadership development was his biggest takeaway. “Being a better leader, the guys were looking to me a lot more. This year I am going to hold myself accountable and them as well,” he shared.

He continued, “Personally, I know my role is going to be bigger this year. My role is going to increase in terms of leadership. I am always ready to attack a task, that’s just another chip on my shoulder, and being a leader that can lead a group of guys to a national championship.”

From gaining confidence as a leader, he noted that other areas improved in tandem. “I feel like my decision making, as the season went on, I locked in on that. Focused on my turnovers and I felt like, as the season went on, I had two or less turnovers a game,” he said, “I was making that an emphasis and that was one of those positives I am going to carry over into the next season.”

Making strides

Improvement has been McDaniel’s main focus this offseason. Recognizing that he wants to head down the same path as Bufkin and Howard, McDaniel realized he had to block out the noise, put his head down, and work. “I have been locked in all spring and summer. I have been grinding,” he admitted, “My jumpshot has improved dramatically in my opinion, working on my range. I feel like I got stronger, mentally as well. I have been on my silent grind.”

Seeing the strides Howard made in his freshman year and Bufkin’s leap into his sophomore year have been, according to McDaniel, the blueprint for his own path to success.

“I am taking the path he [Bufkin] did, grinding behind the scenes. It laid out the blueprint for me. As the season went on, I envisioned myself like, ‘that is going to be me next year’,” he shared, “Hopefully, I get to be the next Michigan point guard that gets drafted.”

Knowing where he wants to go and fostering all the pent up emotions leftover from last season, has transformed into McDaniel working ostensibly harder. It’s the work that not everyone sees, but he prefers it that way. “You are working on stuff you want to work on,” he explained, “When the cameras are off you see what you really need to do. You really get to see your weaknesses so you can work on them.”

His teammates have taken notice and have joined in, mentioning that even the guys new on the scene immediately followed suit. With everything that happened last year, the Wolverines are ready to shed that negativity and get back to the level they know they can be at.

“From seeing the guys and seeing how they work, I feel like we are on the same page to make sure that doesn’t happen again. The new guys are feeding off our mindset,” he shared, “They are being very vocal, I feel like they have been here before. We can all hold each other accountable. If we keep that up, going into the season, we give ourselves a really great chance.”

He added, “They see that they have to work harder to get playing time. It goes off making each other better. The more you push me, the more I push you.”