Carver basketball great receives his flowers

Richard Daniels Jr. was elected into the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Sportsmen Club Hall of Fame.

Carver basketball great receives his flowers
June 06
16:27 2024

Another Winston-Salem legend has been honored for his accomplishments on the court. On May 10, Richard Daniels Jr. was elected into the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Sportsmen Club Hall of Fame. 

Daniels was a four-year varsity basketball player for Carver High School from 2006-2010 and played football for the Yellowjackets as well. He went on to have a successful basketball career at Johnson C. Smith after graduating from Carver. Daniels was a part of the 2024 class that included five players (Robert “Buddy” Bovender, Rodney Cooper, John Floyd Jr., Reggie McCummings and Daniels), one athletic director (Linwood Jerald), and one administrator (Ed Weiss). 

Daniels submitted his information after being nominated for inclusion. Once going through the selection committee, Daniels received the necessary votes for induction. Although he is not one to seek the limelight, Daniels was elated to find out he made the cut.

“I am very humble, so a lot of times it will just randomly hit me in those moments,” said Daniels when he thinks about now being in the Hall of Fame. “As I had time to sit back and reflect, it was one of those surreal moments like someone actually noticed what I did in high school.”

The induction ceremony was fun for Daniels, even though he doesn’t like to be the center of attention. All of the new inductees delivered a speech at the Downtown School prior to the event. 

“You always wonder how you were as a player to other people, and I think the Hall of Fame kind of shows what other people think about you.”

While Daniels was a two-sport athlete, it was the basketball court where he shined the most, making varsity as a freshman.  

“I felt like I was more into basketball,” Daniels said. “I was a varsity kid as a freshman and the youngest on the team at 13, so that was a different experience playing against the Dudley’s, Glenn’s, High Point Andrews’ and Parkland and Prep were our rivals. Those games were like a different atmosphere that I had never seen before.

“Football was always fun. I was really good at football, but Carver just had a lot of talent. You either had to compete, or you fall to the wayside, so I think it pushed me every day. We had some really good backs.”

Making the varsity team as a freshman was not a given for Daniels. He initially attempted to try out for the JV team because says he was “afraid to go to varsity tryouts.” After some encouragement from his coach, he decided to take the chance and try out for varsity.

“It just so happened that three other underclassmen decided they didn’t want to play varsity and I was the only one that stayed up and I ended up being the sixth man that year, just working my way into the rotation,” he said. “I felt like I played a good role my freshman year, I just had some guys that were pretty good.”

It clicked early for Daniels that he was good enough to play on the varsity level after being afforded the opportunity to start a couple games late in his freshman season. He says he held his own against bigger and stronger competition and the game became easier.  

Wins did not come easy for Daniels and the Yellowjackets in his first two years. He says they had the talent to win, but just did not play as a team, which contributed to some of their losses. Things turned around for them his junior year, but it was his senior season that was the most memorable.

During that senior campaign, Daniels led the Yellowjackets on a great playoff run, falling just short of a state championship appearance. He averaged 18.1ppg and 7.4 apg during that year.  

“That senior year was kind of one of those Cinderella teams,” he said about his senior season. “Nobody expected Carver to go that far, and no one took basketball that serious up to that point.”

The goal for Daniels throughout high school was to make it to the next level and play basketball. His dream school was the University of Miami, but ended up with a full scholarship to Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) where he eventually came to realize it was the perfect situation for him.

“I love Johnson C. Smith,” he said with a smile. “I started off rough because I came into Smith injured because I broke my ankle going into freshman year. So, my journey was a little different than everyone else’s.

“Going from a high school stud, to basically starting all the way over from the bottom, it was tough at times. Adapting to the time management was something I struggled with. I eventually got it together and ended up starting my junior year and led the CIAA in assist-to-turnover ratio. Playing at Smith was some of my best memories.”

After concluding his career at JCSU, Daniels says he was a little burned out with playing basketball after giving it his all for over a decade. Monty Gray introduced Daniels to the world of coaching while he was coaching at Glenn High School in 2014. 

He volunteered as a coach his first year and quickly transitioned to the JV head basketball coach for the Bobcats the next season. He learned how to adapt to the new generation of kids playing the game at the time. He spent six years at Glenn learning the game before being hired as head coach for the Walkertown boys varsity basketball team. Daniels has been in this role since the 2020 season.

“I applied to a few other jobs and went through the interview process, and they chose other candidates,” Daniels said about his search for a head coaching position. “Looking back, I feel like Walkertown was the best place for me.”

Daniels feels he has finally built a culture at Walkertown and the expectations for every player are known as soon as they walk through the front door. He would eventually like to dip his toe into the world of coaching on the collegiate level, but has some goals he still wants to accomplish with the Wolfpack.

For Daniels, being in the Hall of Fame is not just for him. It gives him the opportunity to brag about Carver, his teammates and coaches, and his family, because he is proud of where he’s from.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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