Former Pittsfield star Bryce Daley announces commitment to play basketball at UMass-Lowell
The 6-foot-3 rising senior experienced the high of sending the Generals to victory with a last-second three-pointer over rival Taconic as a freshman, dealt with nagging knee pain and adjusted to life at multiple prep schools and AAU teams. Now, the goal he began striving for when he left home as a 15-year-old has finally been realized. On Monday, Daley announced his commitment to UMass-Lowell. The River Hawks play in the America East conference and are led by Dalton-native Pat Duquette, cousin of Baltimore Orioles general manager Dan Duquette.
Daley announced his commitment via Twitter in an ALS Ice Bucket challenge video. Choosing a college to spend the next four years of his career is a weight off the young guard's shoulders.
"It's a huge relief," he said. "It wasn't the smoothest process, with the knees bothering me for a little bit when I was growing, but it's a big relief. I feel already at home when I go there to watch a practice or something like that. I can't wait to get there."
The Salisbury School guard said his relationship with the coaching staff played a role in his commitment. Not only can Duquette relate to Daley as a fellow former Berkshire County athlete, but Daley said the bond formed with assistant coach Biko Paris — a former Division I guard — helped influence his decision.
"Coach Biko Paris was the one I bonded with the most," he said. "He reached out to me the most, kept in touch, checked on me a lot to see how I was doing. He was a guard himself at Boston College. I looked up to him and he's just a great guy. He was very helpful throughout this process."
Leaving your local high school to attend prep school is becoming a trend for talented local basketball players. Daley was the first of his peers to make the jump. He spent one year at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exter, N.H. before transferring to Salisbury in Salisbury, Conn.
Under coach Harlan Dodson, a former basketball player at Williams College, Daley earned a NEPSAC All-New England Honorable Mention nod and developed into a multidimensional lead guard.
"[Lowell's] getting a really good, talented all-around basketball player," Dodson said. "He's a guy that has great size, great length. He can get to the basket. He has a good mid-range game. He shoots it better from the outside than I think people realize. He's a really underrated defender. When he finally put his mind to on that side of the ball he became really talented. But he's also a terrific teammate. Terrific kid."
At Lowell, Daley said he fits well into the team's three-guard system. He'll be joining the team at an ideal time, as the 2018 season will be just the second year the River Hawks will be eligible for the NCAA Tournament after making the jump to Division I from Division II in 2013.
With his college decision behind him, he admits that his journey to get to this point wasn't easy. He added that the process has taught him to focus on developing relationships and how to find the positive in any situation.
For prospective players looking to make the move to prep school, Daley said if they're mature enough to handle an increased workload on and off the court, going to prep school could be a very beneficial decision.
"I definitely would recommend [prep school], but the kid's gotta be ready for it," he said. "It's not only a big step up competition-wise, but it's also a big step up working out. Works out increase, you're on your own, you've got to be a lot more responsible. Overall, I think it's a huge positive and the resources you get at prep school are just phenomenal. I would really recommend it."
Reach sports writer Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252 or @TheAkeemGlaspie.
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