UND coach says Danielson having amazing year as he plays amid his dad's cancer battle
Brady's dad Denny was diagnosed in August with Stage 4 glioblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer.
GRAND FORKS — UND's Brady Danielson has played nearly every role on the basketball court in his career — from running the point to guarding bigs.
"He's a Swiss Army knife," UND coach Paul Sather said.
It's more than a diverse skill set that impresses Sather about Danielson this season, though. In August, Danielson's dad Denny was diagnosed with Stage 4 glioblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer.
"Amazing," said Sather, whose team travels to South Dakota State (Thursday) and South Dakota (Saturday) this weekend. "He's having an amazing year and there's not anything more difficult you can be going through. It's an awesome family. They mean a lot to our program, to us."
Danielson has played in 111 career game for the Fighting Hawks, making the most of his 6-foot-4 size sometimes as an undersized post presence. He's averaging 6.9 points, 3.5 rebounds per game and shooting a career-best 38.5 percent from 3-point range this year. But his tough-nosed demeanor has set a tone beyond his individual statistics.
"Brady leaves his heart on the floor, so his teammates know that," Sather said. "He's a guy who's all about the team, and he gets that from Denny. That's how Denny raised those boys, he and Judy. Brady has been a soldier at a time when a lot of other stuff is going on for him. He's done everything to help our team and that shows his makeup."
Danielson, who received recruiting interest out of high school from major college football programs, was originally committed to Northern State in Aberdeen, S.D., but when Sather left Northern State for UND, Danielson joined.
"Even more than previous years, he's really taken ownership in whatever you need me to do," Sather said. "There's no holding back. It's whatever you need. That servant heart, leadership example is really valuable and won't just serve him well now, it'll serve him well in life. He's one of those guys who'll do well."
In warmups for UND's game against North Dakota State last week, both teams warmed up in T-shirts with the words "Danielson Strong" and "Rally Time for Double D".
Denny was the high school basketball coach in York, Neb., for Brady and his three brothers. Brady's brother, Ty, is the associate head coach at Fort Lewis College. The Skyhawks also wore the same "Danielson Strong" warmups that UND and NDSU wore last week, as did the coaches at Hastings High School in Nebraska where another brother Drew is the boys basketball coach.
According to the Hastings (Neb.) Tribune, Denny had most of the tumor removed but the cancer is likely to return despite the aggressive regimen of chemotherapy treatment. The 53-year-old Denny now awaits news on a recent MRI conducted at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. A clinical trial is his next likely destination.