This fellow was a fiercely competitive 2-time MVP and a champion. He's one of the most underrated players in basketball history, and is a fierce bull of a man with a supreme drive to win.
I'll gladly and proudly take champion, mvp, poet, Mel Daniels.
Ht. 6-9GPMinFGMFGAFG%3PM3PA3P%FTMFTAFT%TRebASTPFStlBlkPntsRPGAPGPPGCareer ABA Totals6282234046599950.468334.08824183676.658949411342280--1173915.11.818.7ABA Playoff Totals10939017401648.44905.000421616.6831608168433--190114.81.517.4ABA All-Star Totals719550111.45000.0003253.604778200313211.01.118.9
College - New Mexico
ABA Teams: Minnesota (1967-68), Indiana (1968-69 to 1973-74), Memphis (1974-75)
All-American at New Mexico; ABA's first Rookie of the Year in 1967-68 with the Minnesota Muskies; 2-Time ABA MVP; Led ABA in Rebounds 3 times: 1967-68 (15.6 rpg), 1968-69 (16.5 rpg), and 1970-71 (18.0 rpg); ABA All-Time Career Leader in Rebounds with 9,494; 7-Time ABA All-Star; 5-Time Member of ABA All-Pro Team; Member of all 3 Indiana Pacers ABA Championship Teams; Unanimous Selection to ABA 30 Man All-Time Team
From Jim O'Brien's 1972-73 Complete Handbook of Pro Basketball:
Mel has been a most consistent star in the ABA from its beginning . . . Has won just about all available awards in ABA, and respect in NBA from those who have competed against him in all-star contests or seen him in action . . . A fiercely competitive, driven man . . . When challenged he is as awesome as the Loch Ness monster . . . Favors bulling opposing pivots into the cheaper seats . . . League's MVP in 1969 and 1971, and All-Star Game MVP in 1971 . . . ABA Rookie of the Year in 1968 . . . Led Pacers to ABA title in 1969-70, 1971-72 and 1972-73 seasons . . . Enjoys horseback riding and outdoors in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he went to school, made All-America and was No. 1 draft choice of NBA Cincinnati Royals . . . Joined ABA with ill-fated Minnesota Muskies . . . Pacers gave up two players and cash to get him for second ABA season and it was an absolute steal . . . Writes poetry about his personal experiences, prefers Poe for reading
MEMORIES OF PAT COSGROVE: It is a shame Mel Daniels doesn't get the respect that he earned. During the first six years of the ABA he was as good as Nate Thurmond. He certainly deserves to be in the Hall Of Fame before Walt Bellamy. During Game 5 of the 1971-72 ABA Finals against the Nets, Daniels made a couple of plays (in succession) that I'll never forget. As I recall, the series was tied 2-2 and the Nets jumped out to a huge lead on the Pacers home court. The Pacers staged a wild rally -- mainly due to a 3-point barrage by Billy Keller. However, the Nets looked like they would hold on for the upset. Rick Barry hit a couple of big hoops and then made a spectacular move to get past Roger Brown. He seemed to be cruising in for an easy left-handed layup. But Daniels came out of nowhere to reject the shot right into the hands of Freddie Lewis. Lewis then led the break and dished off to a hard-charging Daniels -- who dunked and was fouled. The momentum reverted to the Pacers and they won that crucial contest. If this sequence had occurred in the NBA Finals, you can be sure that we would have seen the film replayed as much as Willie Mays' catch in the '54 World Series."