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INDIANAPOLIS – Dan Dakich has reached the point in his life where he isn't going to sugarcoat things. Or perhaps he never was at that point in his life.
Whether it's on his sports talk show in Indianapolis or while he's coaching the Indiana Elite South AAU basketball squad, what you are going to get from the former Indiana men's basketball coach is honesty. Pure, unfiltered, wince if you have to, brutal honesty.
Even if you are his son.
Following his team's 71-70 loss to Team Bradley Northwest Panthers in the opening round of the Adidas Invitational at North Central High School, Dakich gave his assessment – some good, some bad – to each player, including his point guard and son, Andrew Dakich. He wasn't harsh on Andrew, but as always, he was honest about his defensive play down the stretch of the game.
Likewise, the elder Dakich is honest in evaluating his son's game and where it will fit in this summer of performing in front of hundreds of college scouts.
“I'm able to step away (as a parent),” Dakich said. “I think that he is pretty good. He makes others better, which is what a point guard is supposed to do.”
The 6-foot-1 Zionsville High School senior did that on Friday almost to a fault. He rarely shot the ball, but his impact on the game was felt on virtually each possession as he encouraged his teammates after nice plays and offered instruction when needed following mistakes.
“I think my strength is just being a coach on the floor,” Andrew said. “I talk a lot (in) telling people to get into spots and I set people up.”
As a junior with Zionsville, Dakich did set up teammates a lot. He led the Eagles with 113 assists (against just 50 turnovers), while helping his team to 15 wins before losing to eventual IHSAA Class 4A state champion Carmel in the sectional. Though he averaged just 9.3 points per game, Dan believes that some college coach will realize the positives that Andrew brings regardless of his offensive production.
“I think that he is one of the best leaders – if not the best leader – that I've ever been around,” Dan said. “Even in AAU he is always talking to guys and getting them going. I think that has real value. Somebody will see that or not.”
Andrew doesn't have a round of college visits planned at this point. He visited the Air Force Academy last fall, but despite having to perform in front of the scouts over the next few weeks to alter his future, neither he or his dad are looking at this recruiting period as pressure-packed for the teenager.
“I'm not really focusing on (the recruiting),” Andrew said. “I'm just trying to play my game, play tough.”
Just as his father did for the Hoosiers as a player, Andrew comprehends that there is no substitute for effort. His father said that Andrew has “worked on his body and worked on his game.”
“I try to get into the gym every day,” Andrew said. “This is a great opportunity for me over the next few weeks. We'll see what happens.”