Daniel Giddens joins the Vermont men’s basketball program for his final year of NCAA eligibility. The six-foot-eleven center will play a crucial role in the Catamounts’ front line for the 2019-20 season.
Giddens joins John Becker’s program after spending three years playing in the SEC for the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Daniel shared that coming to Vermont was a big change, but a change that he needed. He’s played basketball his entire life and said it’s practically in his DNA.
“It was interesting because when they first contacted me I didn’t hesitate to pick up the phone because it was out of the box. Where I’m at in my life right now I wanted to go somewhere I was going to challenge myself and the coaching staff was gonna challenge me” said Giddens.
The winning culture of the Vermont men’s basketball program stood out to Daniel. The Cats are coming off of one of their most successful seasons in 2018-19 and the majority of the team returned for this season. He shared that he wanted to be around winners for his final season of college ball.
“It doesn’t matter if the gym has five thousand people or thirty thousand. They win. That’s what attracted me” he emphasized.
UVM head coach John Becker noted that when looking for a few additions to the roster, Daniel’s size and history of playing for Alabama stood out to him. Giddens picked up on the culture in Becker’s program quickly.
“He’s been tremendous. You know since the day he’s gotten here he’s been bought into what we’re trying to do. He’s really a pleasure to coach, really smart and want’s to be told what to do so to speak. Anyway he can help he wants us to win and get back to the tournament” stated Becker.
Moving from the Deep South to the middle of New England can be a tough adjustment. Daniel shared that although he has not experienced a Vermont numbing winter yet, he doesn’t feel a real sense of culture shock.
“Even though I have not been in a Vermont winter yet, I know it’s a different type of cold. It’s not really culture shock. It’s a slower pace. Tuscaloosa has a lot of stuff going on especially because it’s a big SEC school. So, it’s a slower pace but it’s a pace that was much needed for where I’m at in my life” said Giddens. Daniel shared that although it’s an adjustment, it’s one he’s really liking.
When news broke out that Daniel would be joining the UVM program, he shared in a tweet “I love the peace and tranquility up there. Plus I can finish Art of War finally on a mountain with my Patagonia jacket” when asked about his tweet he shared he’s found tranquility and peace in his team, the way they carry themselves keeps him focused on the court.
Entering a program as a graduate transfer isn’t always easy. But, merging into the family that is UVM basketball was seamless for Daniel.
“Now it just seems like he’s been here forever quite frankly. I think there’s been a lot of trust and relationships developed really quickly. Kudos to him and our guys for making that a priority. I think he’s gonna be really good for us” said Becker.
Daniel shared that while living in Vermont his main focus during the season is to win a championship with his team and for the cats to get back to the NCAA tournament.
During the off season, Giddens hopes to try some typical Vermont activities like skiing at Stowe and exploring the outdoors.
The Catamounts were voted unanimously to finish first in the America East for the upcoming season. Vermont will benefit from the addition of Giddens to the 17-man roster.
The Cats open the 2019-20 season in an Exhibition game this Saturday at 7 p.m. at Patrick Gym as they host Brown.
*Courtesy of Alabama men’s basketball video to WVUA 23