Combo-guard Danya Kingsby (6-foot-1 inches, 170 pounds) officially signed his letter of intent to this week. The dynamic lead guard out of Milwaukee, WI, averaged 11.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game leading the College of Southern Idaho Golden Eagles to a 27-6 record last season. He shot 49.8 percent from the field, including 41.7 percent from three-point range, and 77.3 percent from the foul line a year ago.
To gain a better perspective on Kingsby both on and off the court, Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke with College of Southern Idaho head basketball coach Jared Phay.
Pitt basketball fans want to know more about Danya (pronounced DAN-YAY). Tell us about him on the court. What are his strengths and areas of improvement?
Well, on the court Danya is a very exciting player to watch. He’s got a 42-inch vertical, very, very explosive to the rim and quick off the bounce. He’s hard to guard that way, especially in transition. But he shoots it really well. He’s shot 41% on the three-point line last year so he can score. But he’s really developed as a point guard, and a leader on the court. So we throw the term “combo guard” around a lot, but I think he’s a guy who can play both (guard) spots well.
The ACC is the best conference in the nation. Danya will be playing against some of the best players in the nation. Do you believe he’s ready to handle the rigors of an ACC schedule?
I do. I mean, he’s going to have a transition, just like anybody does when they step into that league. But his athleticism, and his skill set is pretty much ready to go. So I think once he figures it all out mentally, and what all probably needs to change … [to] rise to the level of competition, … but he’ll get there.
What’s Danya’s demeanor like off court? How does he interact with his teammates?
Yeah, he’s a really nice, personable kid, and really well-liked. I had mixed emotions yesterday when he signed, even though obviously we still get him for the rest of this year, but already kind of dreading the day when he’s not here. But, like I said, he’s just real likable, fun to coach, and fun to be around.
What was it like dealing with Pitt coaches? I believe this is the first time they have recruited one of your players?
Yeah, it is the first time, and I thought they did a great job. You know, they really liked him when they first saw him, and never wavered, and other schools recruited him and got in there, but they kind of stayed with him through the process, and ended up with him. But from my perspective, they’ve been great. They’ve been open and honest, and that’s really all I can ask.
Do you believe that Danya is a bit of a ‘hidden gem’? If he waited to sign, do you believe he would have received additional attention from upper major programs?
Yeah, a little bit. And I think Pitt did a good job from the first time they saw him, offered him, and were in there. And so I know if he would have wanted to sign late, he’d have several schools, very high-level schools, recruiting him. So I think they just did a good job of jumping in at the right time.
Danya appears to be off to a very strong start this season. Through a pair of games he has averaged 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6 assists. What are your thoughts on his initial play this season?
Yeah. Yeah. No question. He got in a little bit of foul trouble in our last game, the first half. But played well … kind of saved us in both games, really.
Harry Psaros can be found on twitter at @PittGuru