Player development profile: Carlos Daniel

By: Blake Moore, Pelicans.com

All-Star forward Anthony Davis has been working closely with Carlos Daniel this off-season to gain weight and build up his strength.

Having played professional basketball in the past, Daniel, the New Orleans Pelicans’ director of athletic performance, knows what is expected of Davis.

“It gives me a chance to relate with him. I know how their body feels and I know the rigors of the game,” said Daniel, a 38-year-old who has been with the Pelicans for four seasons. “We can talk basketball, and can get out on the court, mess around and play a little bit. It kind of endeared him to me and vice versa, we have something in common.”

Daniel said he believes Davis is very dedicated to getting stronger and plans on being with him as he travels this summer to U.S. National Team events in Las Vegas, Chicago, New York and Europe.

“He’s made it a point to be here and that’s the biggest thing. ... That speaks to what he wants and where he wants to go with his game,” Daniel said. “He knows that getting stronger is a vital component and he’s been dedicated to it.”

Daniel said that Davis’ attitude is becoming infectious to the other players.

“He gets tickled when he sees some of the younger guys that haven’t worked out with me before and are struggling,” Daniel said. “He’s like, ‘I was there.’ He can help get them through it since he has some experience.”

“I still have a lot more to do to take that next step to become an even better player and do more for the team,” Davis said earlier this month.

Daniel works with the entire team on strength and conditioning.

“Everybody has a little bit of a different push since they’re so relatively young,” said Daniel, who served on the strength and conditioning staff for the San Antonio Spurs before joining the Pelicans. “My job really becomes a lot more important at this time of the year because they actually have the time to dedicate to reaching these goals.”

Daniel is a hands-on trainer who said he likes to be involved in the workouts, and not one that just sits back “pointing and clicking.”

“It gives them an idea that I’m not just talking. I’m doing it. They can’t say I just sat back in my office and made that up, and I’ve never tried it before,” Daniel said. “I get out there and get after it with them so they can see me struggle just like they struggle sometimes.”

When it comes to a specific workout regimen, Daniel said he is open to different programs, and realizes not all workouts are for everyone. It depends on where a player is at in his game and what goals they are trying to achieve.

Daniel said he has one rule for players and that is, “dedication to the work.”

“Hard work, there are no shortcuts, you just have to put your head down and do the work,” Daniel said. “The same amount of time you spend looking left, right or under something in order to get around to just doing it, would be the same amount of time required if you would have just put your head down and done it.”

“I told Mickey (Loomis), you guys may not like me forever, but you better not ever lose ‘Los. He’s just that good,” Pelicans Coach Monty Williams said. “I know we wouldn’t be where we are if we didn’t have Carlos.”

As for the upcoming season, Daniel is committed to getting the team ready.

“Every guy has an individual goal that I want to help them obtain. If I’m helping them obtain those goals then we’re a much better team,” Daniel said. “Those guys are going to be better basketball players and more capable of giving Coach Williams exactly what he wants, and if they’re giving Coach Williams what he wants I believe that translates into wins.”