(Editor’s note: Florida Southwestern State College press release)
FORT MEYERS, Florida – Florida Southwestern State College men’s basketball sophomore guard Russell Daniels has signed his National Letter of Intent to play for head coach Brian Fish and Montana State University from the Big Sky Conference. Daniels marks the fourth NCAA Division I signee for head coach Marty Richter and the FSW men’s basketball program.
Daniels will join the Bobcats for the 2018-19 academic year. Montana State finished the 2017-18 season with a 13-19 overall record and a 6-12 record in the Big Sky.
Under the leadership of 2018 Suncoast Conference Coach of the Year Marty Richter, the Buccaneers finished the season 30-3 overall, earned the program’s first Suncoast Conference championship (12-0 conference record), secured their second consecutive berth to the NJCAA District VIII Championship and were awarded the highest seed of the at-large bids to the NJCAA National Tournament (6-seed). The Bucs defeated tournament host Hutchinson Community College, 80-65 (March 21), in the second round of the National Tournament, before falling to Vincennes University (76-68; March 22) in the Quarterfinals.
As a team, FSW led the nation in opponents’ field goal percentage (36.8 percent) but they also ranked in the top 25 nationally in multiple categories, including blocks per game (6.9; 4th), defensive rebounds per game (32.1, 7th), assists per game (20.4, 9th), opponents’ three-point field goal percentage (29.9 percent, 11th), rebounds per game (46.0, 11th), steals per game (10.2, 12th), field goal percentage (50.8 percent, 14th), total points (2,985, 18th) and points per game (90.5; 24th).
“I’m extremely proud of Russell,” said Richter. “He’s worked hard over the last two season to get this opportunity to go to Division I. Montana State is an excellent program and Russell’s going to a very competitive conference (2017-18 conference RPI was 17th in the country). He has an opportunity to become a team leader and help Coach Fish and his staff win games right away.”
Daniels led the team and the state in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.4), which ranked him 17th in the nation. The Baton Rouge, La. native averaged 4.4 points and 3.6 assists, while shooting 49.5 percent from the field and 48.0 from long distance. Daniels, a 2018 Suncoast Conference Second Team All-Conference selection, scored in double figures four times this season, highlighted by a 19-point performance in an 86-69 win over then-No. 4 Tallahassee CC.
As a freshman, Daniels appeared in 32 games (three starts). He averaged averaged 2.2 points and 2.1 assists per contest. Daniels recorded a season-high 12 points vs. Combine Academy (Nov. 4) on 4-of-6 shooting from three-point range.