Xavier McDaniel answered his cell phone driving 231 miles from Chapel Hill, N.C., to his home in Columbia, S.C. It is a drive he makes often, especially when he thinks his daughter needs coaching.
Xylina McDaniel is a sophomore center for North Carolina, where she averages 12 points and 6.5 rebounds. As a freshman, she averaged 11.3 points and 7.1 rebounds to earn ACC Rookie of the Year and All-ACC honors. Earlier this week, he visited to celebrate her birthday and pass on basketball advice from No. 34 to No. 34.
“I had to show her a couple things defensively and on offensive rebounds,” he said.
Xavier McDaniel, 50, lives in Columbia, S.C, where his three children occupy a lot of his time. He owns 34 X Man LLC, a janitorial, renovations and rental-home business based in nearby Blythewood. Daughter Alicia is in graduate school at South Carolina. Son Xavier Jr. is a junior at Hammond School in Columbia.
Yes, he plays basketball. Dad isn’t afraid to give him tips, either. Junior is a 6-foot-5 forward who averaged around 11 points as a sophomore, according to his father. SEC and ACC schools are checking in and McDaniel figures Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall will call this season.
“If he had my daughter’s motor, he would be top 10 in the country,” McDaniel said. “He needs to toughen up a little bit more.”
While work and family are in the South, McDaniel remains close to his days at Wichita State. Former teammates Gary Cundiff and Aubrey Sherrod will travel to Kansas City, Mo., for Sunday’s induction into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. WSU athletic director Eric Sexton will introduce McDaniel.
McDaniel came to Koch Arena last season and helped Antoine Carr deliver the pregame speech that spawned the “Play Angry” slogan. He went to Atlanta for the Final Four. He keeps an eye on the Shockers from afar and is pleased to see Marshall sustain and improve upon the work former coach Mark Turgeon did to keep the program successful. Like many players from his era, he is glad to see Wichita State regain national prominence, some of which eluded their teams because of NCAA probation.
“(WSU) had some outstanding teams,” he said. “It just hasn't been sustained long term. Coach (Gene) Smithson did it. Mark Turgeon did it and now Coach Marshall has done it. He's done a very, very good job.”
McDaniel kept Cundiff updated during the national semifinal game via phone. Cundiff said Marshall’s recognition of the teams from the 1980s means something to McDaniel.
“He’s got a loyalty for Wichita State,” Cundiff said. “He’s got a respect for Coach Marshall for how he treated Gene and embraced MTXE.”
Sherrod and McDaniel remain close friends. Sherrod is quiet and reserved. McDaniel is outgoing. However, they hit it off from the time they met before a pickup game at Friends University.
“He never changed, even with his fame and fortune,” Sherrod said. “Xavier will always come back.”