Danuel House first appeared on my radar after a conversation with one of his coaches. The conversation was right out of the hoops movie classic Hoosiers in terms of hyperbole. You remember the line I’m talking about:
In over 40 years of looking at the best this state's ever had, I've never seen a better ball player than Jimmy Chitwood.
Except replace Jimmy Chitwood with Danuel House and Hickory Indiana with inner city Houston. Okay, maybe the analogy falls short, but the conversation was about as epic, and certainly a worthy precursor to the kind of player I, and now you, are about to see. From a basketball standpoint, House has the total package of size, athleticism, and skill, while playing the coveted small forward position. Wings with his type of total game don’t grow on trees in the college game, and if you can find one with the size and skill set of House, you have a leg up on your opponents who are probably starting a pseudo-third guard in that spot.
Danuel House, a 6’6" long armed athlete, who can handle and shoot like a guard, with the ability to finish and board like a hybrid four will give one lucky team this rare competive advantage on the wing. Even more impressive to me, however, is Danuel’s competiveness and toughness to go along with the hoops skill eye candy prevalent on the AAU circuit. What sets Danuel House apart from And-1 Mixtape fools gold is that basketball is important to the young man. Winning and being the best is important. These are points of pride for a guy that has had to earn everything he's accomplished on the basketball court. And don’t think for a second that House's lack of notoriety in comparison to some higher ranked players House himself has obliterated on the AAU circuit has gone unnoticed. In fact, I’m surprised House can rebound or blow-by at all with that giant chip residing squarely on his shooting shoulder. Danuel House is genuinely angry about where some pundits have him ranked and it’s not an emotion that’s borne of cockiness or selfishness—House is driven by his competiveness, and it’s a trait that will serve him well in college and beyond.
If you've watched the young cat play at all, you too would find it stupefying that House isn't nationally ranked by any of the college hoops services. But that's just a matter of time.
As for recruiting, schools like Louisville, Maryland, and dozens of others have thrown their hat in the ring for this talented wing player. As House shoots up the rankings, look for bigger name schools to join the party, including most in the Big 12. I fully expect House to be ranked top 25 or even higher by this time next year, and wouldn’t be surprised if he had the type of meteoric rise that the University of Texas’ Avery Bradley had once House goes head up with some Top 10 type kids.
There is one school House has his eye on in the Big 12 and it's his home state school Texas. House would like to hear more from the Longhorns because it’s his dream to play close to home, but if he must go out of state he will. Having seen House play and after talking to some folks that interact with House on a daily basis, I think Texas would be crazy not to make Danuel House a priority. He’s got more skill than Avery Bradley and more athleticism than Corey Joseph, but those aren't the only attributes that would help House excel at Texas. House is tougher mentality than any of the Top 10 caliber players Texas has recruited in the last two years and that toughness would serve him well in Austin. Danuel truly is a Rick Barnes’ type of kid upstairs, he just happens to be incredibly athletic with the ability to handle and shoot.
If Texas can pair this kid with Myck Kabongo in 2012 provided Myck stays an extra year, or if they could put Danuel's ability on the floor with LJ Rose were Kabongo to leave, and you’re guaranteed to have two playmaking scorers on the perimeter to complement Cameron Ridley as an inside force. You'll also have a home grown kid, with dare I say, some down to earth loyalty to perhaps stay an extra year ala Harrison Barnes or Jared Sullinger.
But regardless of who you put on the court with House, you’ll have college basketball’s version of the Holy Grail--a skilled wing who can do it all and that's what Texas needs to replace Jordan Hamilton. And, as Danuel refreshingly mentions at the end of the following video, you’ll have a kid that understands that nothing is going to be given to him. Danuel House knows he has to either earn it or take it. That’s exactly the type of player Texas needs to target.