Canaan, Daniel prepare for NBA draft

Two of the most recognizable basketball players to ever don the blue and gold are currently hard at work preparing for the NBA Draft and their new lives as professional basketball players.

Seniors Ed Daniel and Isaiah Canaan have set their sights on the NBA, hoping to earn a spot in the world’s most highly regarded professional basketball league next season.

While the 2013 NBA Draft is not until June 27, Daniel and Canaan are extremely busy staying in prime physical shape, working out for interested NBA teams and playing in tournaments and other pre-draft events.

The student athletes are also balancing school work with the constant travel and grueling workouts as they finish up their degrees and prepare to graduate in May.

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Isaiah Canaan

While Canaan admitted it has been a bit hectic, he said he’s trying to soak it all in.

“I’ve been working out twice a day,” Canaan said. “I’ve had to change a few eating habits, too, and it’s a lot of traveling, but it’s fun. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to all my life, so I’m taking it all in and trying to make the best of it.”

Canaan seeks to be the first Murray State player taken in the draft since 1996 when Marcus Brown was selected in the second round by the Portland Trailblazers.

In total, 18 Racers have been drafted since 1958, including four second-round picks, the earliest of which being Jeff Martin, who was taken as the fourth pick of the second round in the 1989 draft.

ESPN’s Chad Forde currently ranks Canaan as the No. 10 point guard in the draft, listing him as an efficient scorer with excellent shooting range. He discredits Canaan, however, on his lack of size and strength. Forde ranks Canaan as a mid to late second-round pick.

Unlike Canaan, Daniel is not currently projected to be drafted. This does not mean he won’t get the chance to compete for a spot on an NBA team, however. Nearly every team invites players who were not drafted to attend their respective training camps and compete for a roster spot, or a position on the team’s developmental league affiliate.

Daniel took a big step in improving his draft stock last weekend, however, playing in the Portsmouth Invitational. The tournament features some of the top college players from around the country, and provides a chance for NBA and overseas teams to scout out the athletes.

Ed Daniel

Ed Daniel

Joined by fellow OVC players Ian Clark (Belmont) and Robert Covington (Tennessee State), and 61 other players from around the country, Daniel played extremely well during his three games. Averaging 13 points and eight rebounds per game, Daniel was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Daniel, who played with several elite players including Rotnei Clark (Butler) and Khalif Wyatt (Temple), said he was glad to play with some new faces.

“There were a lot of good players from all over the states,” Daniel said. “I played well up there, though; I almost averaged a double-double, and I got to play with a lot of good players from different teams. It helped me to learn to play and communicate with a lot of different types of players.”

Amid skepticism of whether his 6-foot, 7-inch frame can stand up to much larger players in the NBA, Daniel remains confident and continues working to make his childhood dream a reality.

“I’m just taking it one step at a time,” Daniel said. “Hopefully, I’ll get to do what I’ve always dreamed of doing, which is playing in the NBA.”

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Story by Jonathan Ferris, Staff writer.