November 30, 2009
By David Driver
For the Deseret News
Used with permission
WASHINGTON — With less than nine minutes remaining in warmups, President Barack Obama and his family took their seats in the first row behind the bench of the Oregon State men's basketball team.
Less than three minutes later the Beavers, including junior forward Daniel Deane of Park City and Judge Memorial High, came onto the floor here at George Washington University for their final practice drills.
But Deane, named Utah's Mr. Basketball by the Deseret News in 2006, knew the night before that Saturday's game on the GW campus would not be just another non-conference affair.
Deane and his teammates had a private audience with the president on Friday at the White House. The team was told by head coach Craig Robinson, the brother of first lady Michelle Obama, that the president planned to attend the game just four blocks from the White House in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood.
Deane, listed at 6-foot-8 and 245 pounds, started on Saturday against GW and played 18 minutes. Even though he missed his only two shots from the field, Deane was six of eight from the foul line and had six rebounds, the second-best total in the game, and also grabbed several loose balls in the 64-57 win.
"I would say it was an experience," Deane said after the game, standing outside the OSU locker room. "I have had a lot of good experiences in college." One of them, he noted, was winning the CBI postseason title last year with the Beavers. "I am going to have some more experiences," he said. And one of them came Saturday for Deane, who said he had been to the Washington, D.C., region "four or five times" before Saturday's game. Last year, during a trip to the nation's capital to play at Howard, the Beavers took a tour of the U.S. Capitol and saw Obama's Senate office building.
This year Deane played at GW in front of an uncle who made the trip from the Pittsburgh area and his godmother, who lives in the Washington suburbs. Deane said he does not discuss his political views and would not say whether or not he voted for Obama. But he did add, with a smile: "I vote for the person, not the party."
Deane, who played for Jim Yerkovich at Judge Memorial, made his first start of this season at GW and helped the Beavers, who led 14-0 early on, claim the win. GW missed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds and Deane got the rebound. He was fouled and made one of two free throws with 1.2 seconds left to account for the final score.
"His hustle on defense set the tone," said Douglas Stewart, an OSU assistant coach. "In terms of halfcourt defense, he really was our anchor. Daniel really set the tone."
OSU senior forward/center Calvin Hampton, who is from Maryland, has gone up against Deane in practice. "He is a really good player," Hampton said of Deane.
Through five games he was averaging 9.4 minutes, 3.4 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. Oregon State is 2-3 overall going into a home game Dec. 4 against Colorado Last season Deane started 19 of 36 games and averaged 20.5 minutes, 4.1 rebounds and 5.3 points per game. He sat out the 2007-08 season after transferring from Utah, where he averaged 12.9 minutes, 3.9 points and 2.7 boards as a freshman in 2006-07. Deane said he wanted to play in the Pac-10 conference and be near family for his reasons in leaving Utah. He has relatives in Oregon, so the Ducks of Oregon or the Beavers fit his requirement for the transfer.
"He is fine. His minutes should go up as we move along here," said Robinson, in his second year as the OSU head coach. "Every practice is an audition. He is an excellent athlete. He has a nice shot for a guy his size. We are making him a wing player. He has been a post player most of his life. He has risen to the challenge. He is becoming one of our more consistent players."
Deane is the son of Greg and Patrice Deane and he grew up in Park City.
His father played in college at Utah from 1975-79 and then played three years for the Utah Jazz after he was drafted by the NBA team in the fourth round in 1979.
An accounting and finance major, Deane, who was the Gatorade Utah player of the year in 2005-06, has one more year of college eligibility after this season. He has kept in touch with former OSU teammate Rickey Claitt, who is a first-year pro in Denmark. So what are the goals for Deane? "As far as basketball takes me," he said.
And this past weekend it took him to the nation's capital, and a chance to play in front of the president.