A Gracious Competitor: Daniel Saeli

Source: Brittany Lopez

As basketball season dwindles down, tournament action has slowly started to creep up in the small town of Greenville. The Greenville Men’s basketball team have made themselves known throughout the entire country with their unbelievable style of play. Let’s take a look at a key player in the Panther’s rotation. Senior guard, Daniel Saeli is a four-year varsity player for Greenville University and he came all the way from Scottsdale, Arizona to continue his academic and athletic career.

6-foot senior guard #22 from Scottsdale, AZ, DANIEL SAELI!
Source: Darrin Stewart

Saeli started to indulge in the sport of basketball at a young age and fell in love ever since. He came to GU in 2015 as a freshman looking to make an immediate impact on the team. Saeli is currently averaging 6.1 points per contest. His passion and drive for the game has generated non-stop energy and excitement for the team.

Saeli talks highly of his experience as a Greenville Panther. When asked how he felt knowing that this is his last season playing in a Panther uniform, Saeli responded, “it’s a surreal feeling knowing that my time in a Panther uniform is coming to an end. It feels like I was just a freshman fighting for playing time.”

Not many athletes have the privilege of being a four-year varsity player and Saeli has made it clear that he is very blessed to have received this opportunity. Saeli expressed, “i’m extremely thankful there were a couple unfortunate injuries that allowed me to step into the rotation as a freshman, but ultimately it was the trust from Coach Barber and the staff that allowed me to excel at such a young age.”

Daniel getting ready to set up a teammate for a quick bucket.
Media by: Darrin Stewart

As we all know, life isn’t easy and some days you face adversity, but ultimately it’s how you respond to it. The most difficult experience for Saeli would be losing early in the postseason his freshman and sophomore year both to Westminster College. He often looks back at those losses and realizes how much it taught the upperclassmen. The Panthers were finally able to get past Westminster in last year’s SLIAC conference tournament.

Recently, the men’s team broke 8 records in just ONE game against Fontbonne University on February 2nd, 2019. Just to mention a few: NCAA D3 combined points (346), NCAA D3 total rebounds (146), SLIAC record for points (200), and SLIAC record for 3FG made (33). That’s insane! Breaking records is a milestone in one’s career or profession. Saeli explained, “It’s been a blessing to be a part of such a historic team these last four years. When I was a freshman, being told we would be adopting this style (“The System”), I could have never imagined what we’ve accomplished.”

Daniel and his parents on senior day.
Media: Darrin Stewart

Saeli also has a word of advice for other athletes in the men’s basketball program. He stated, “My advice would be to have fun with it because it will be over before you even know it. We have a unique opportunity at Greenville to be a model of what it’s like to be a gracious competitor. Go out and smack a team by 50 or whatever, but raise your hand on a foul, respect the refs, and shake your competitor’s hands.” After his May graduation, he plans to move back to his hometown of scorching Scottsdale and use his degree to search for a job in the technical field.



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