UND coach says Danielson having amazing year as he plays amid his dad’s cancer battle
Feb. 1 – GRAND FORKS – UND’s Brady Danielson has played almost every role on the basketball court in his career – from leading the point to protecting bigs.
“He’s a Swiss army knife,” said UND coach Paul Sather.
It’s more than multifaceted skill, however, that Sather has impressed in Danielson this season. In August, Danielson’s father 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 a fantastic year and there’s nothing harder you can go through. It’s a great family. They mean a lot to our program, to us.”
Danielson has played in 111 career games for the Fighting Hawks, making the most of his 6-foot-4 height, 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 tenacious demeanor has set a tone beyond his individual stats.
“Brady keeps his heart on the ground letting his teammates know,” Sather said. “He’s a guy who’s all about the team and he gets that from Denny. That’s how Denny raised these boys, him and Judy. Brady was a soldier at a time when many other things were going on for him. He’s ready to do everything to help our team and his makeup shows it.”
Danielson, who received recruiting interest from major college football programs outside of high school, was originally signed to Northern State in Aberdeen, SD, but when Sather left Northern State for AND, Danielson joined.
“Even more so than in previous years, he really took responsibility for whatever you ask of me,” Sather said. “There is no holding back. It’s all you need. This servant heart, leadership example is truly valuable and will not only serve him well now, it will serve him well in life. He’s one of those guys that’s going to do well. “
During warm-ups for the UND vs. North Dakota State game last week, both teams warmed up in t-shirts that read “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 an assistant head coach at Fort Lewis College. The Skyhawks also wore the same “Danielson Strong” warm-up shoes that AND and NDSU wore last week, as did the coaches at Hastings High School in Nebraska, where another brother Drew is the boys’ basketball coach.
Denny has had most of his tumor removed, according to the Hastings (Neb.) Tribune, but the cancer is likely to return despite aggressive chemotherapy. Denny, 53, is now awaiting news on a recent MRI performed at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. A clinical trial is his next likely goal.