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Basketball Victoria guards (from left) Dyson Daniels and Patrick 'Paddy' Ryan who are playing in the Australian under-20 championships in Mackay, 2021. Picture: Matthew Forrest
Basketball Victoria guards (from left) Dyson Daniels and Patrick 'Paddy' Ryan who are playing in the Australian under-20 championships in Mackay, 2021. Picture: Matthew Forrest

‘Next Ben Simmons’: Rising stars headline Mackay tournament

Rising Australian stars Dyson Daniels and Patty Ryan have put international basketball scouts on notice with their dazzling display at the under-20 National Championships.

Talent from across Australia has descended on Mackay to play in 32 games over five days, with Mackay locals flocking to witness elite-level sport.

Professional and college scouts are heavily tracking Daniels and Ryan, who recently debuted for the Australian Boomers in Cairns, throughout the tournament at McDonald’s Multi-Sports Stadium.

Dyson Daniels plays for the Boomers against New Zealand in February, 2021. Picture: Basketball Australia
Dyson Daniels plays for the Boomers against New Zealand in February, 2021. Picture: Basketball Australia

Both Daniels and Ryan represent Victoria, who has won its first three games of the tournament.

Daniels, who national representatives have referred to as ‘the next Ben Simmons’, has been particularly impressive in the first three games, averaging 14 points, 5.67 rebounds, 3.33 assists and 2.33 steals in 22 minutes per game.

Daniels said not winning a national title in four attempts hds been the main motivating factor for him as he entered potentially his last championship.

“It makes me hungrier to go get that gold,” Daniels said.

“I haven’t won a title yet, and it may be my last chance to win here.”

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With Ryan playing in his last under-20 championships, his focus is solely on winning one last title for his state.

“It’s definitely our goal, we want to go as far as we can and win that gold for Victoria,” Ryan said.

“There will be some tough games and match-ups leading up to it, but our ultimate goal is to win the gold medal and go out on a high.”

While Ryan is expecting a move to America to play college basketball, Daniels hasn’t made a decision on where his future lies.

“I’m just trying to make the right decision for me, whether that’s college or pro,” Daniels said.

“I have an ultimate goal of making the NBA, but I’m still deciding on the right pathway for me.”

Even with scouts in attendance of the tournament, Daniels said he did not feel the additional pressure.

“I put the team first always and play my role,” Daniels said.

“I try to have a good game so I can help the team win, but the scouts are here to see what you can do, whether that’s as a teammate on the bench or when you’re on the court.”

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