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How The Global Pandemic Has Impacted Top Ranked Basketball Sophomore Eric Dailey Jr.

How The Global Pandemic Has Impacted Top Ranked Basketball Sophomore Eric Dailey Jr.

Some of you may remember Eric Dailey Jr, a basketball player for IMG Academy from a previous SPMA feature entitled “Meet The Dailey’s, Basketball Is Our Family”. Eric comes from strong basketball roots. His father, Eric Sr, played professional basketball for 10 years before becoming an accomplished entrepreneur. His mother, Shell, is a former WNBA coach! At our last writing, 15 year old Eric Jr. had secured college offers with his aim set for the NBA. However, unlike many of his peers, Eric was considering opting for a nontraditional path to the NBA and going straight overseas rather than playing in the NCAA. I have been fortunate enough to keep up with his career and when we chatted last he had also secured potential professional offers. Since the global pandemic has put both sports and travel on hold, I reached out to Eric to gain some insight on how COVID-19 is affecting his development, his career, and his plans. Check it out!

Please note: The interview with Eric Dailey Jr was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

In our last interview, we talked about how players like LaMelo Ball may be good role models for you because he has opted not to play NCAA and play professionally overseas instead. After hearing about him buying the Australian team he played for last year, do stories like his make playing overseas look more attractive than NCAA as a path to the NBA?

Not a lot of players have the option to go overseas and LaMelo Ball was one that did, but he also had a plan while over there. By buying the team he played for, I am a little interested in how he was able to do so.

I was actually supposed to be going to the Geico High School Nationals in New York, but due to COVID-19, it stopped me and my team’s journey towards winning another national championship. Also, being able to be back at training camp with USA Basketball would have been a great opportunity and most kids would love to have the problem for deciding between the Nationals and USA Basketball training camp!

I know you also had plans to train with FC Barcelona. How do you see the pandemic affecting your ability both short term and long term to play internationally?

It’s not really affecting any plans for my future. The situation revolving around COVID-19 and the recommended isolation/social distancing regulations are allowing me to work on my body so when I do play again I would be taller, stronger, and faster.

Speaking of cancellations, the 2020 Geico High School National Championships, much like March Madness, has been cancelled. How do you feel that affects you, especially in terms of player national rankings?

It would’ve been my first time going to the tournament in New York, but watching what my team did last year and winning I would have loved the opportunity to play and try to win. I’m not worried about my player ranking, I could care less because rankings don’t define a player, only the work on the court does.

I’m very excited to get on the court again. As for seeing my name ahead of familiar faces, it is a testimony to all of the hard work that I have put in over the last few years.

We’ve talked a lot about the negative affects of the pandemic on your plans and your career, but there is always silver lining. What do you think is the most positive thing you can take away from the time off?

It’s a time to reconnect with my family and enjoy their company because we was always moving around, as well as giving me the freedom to work on my conditioning.

With the recent player rankings putting you ahead of some familiar faces people are used to seeing at the top of the leader board, how excited are you to get back on the court?

I am ready to play again. I always wanted to see what the hype was about, but now people are talking about me I want to play against the top players in my class.

Stacey's Final Thoughts

There’s no surprise that Eric Dailey Jr is itching to get back on the court; however, it’s great to see that he is making the most of the mandatory time off. Taking a break to recharge both mentally and physically is a blessing. It’s incredible just how mature and focused Eric Jr is at such a young age. It’s always a pleasure to get to speak with the rising star, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for him and his career after the pandemic allows the world to return to normal.

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Interview by Stacey Leawood