Coach Wes Miller got his guy. Get used to that phrase throughout Miller’s tenure at Cincinnati. After 7-footer Sage Tolentino committed to the Bearcats in July, Miller was looking for a long wing with the potential to be a three-level scorer and he found one in top-100 guard Daniel Skillings. Coming from Philadelphia’s Roman Catholic High School, Skillings did not start playing organized basketball until the ninth grade which makes his meteoric rise all the more noteworthy. Fielding offers from NC State, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, and others, Skillings ultimately chose the Bearcats nearly three weeks after his September 4th visit which included the Battle for the Victory Bell between Cincinnati and Miami (OH).
At 6’6” 180 lbs with a 7’2” wingspan, Skillings projects as a shooting guard/small forward in Wes Miller’s offense. His long arms automatically gives him an advantage when guarding the ball. He has a nice handle that will need some improvement if Coach Miller wants him to be a primary ball handler. That being said, he dribbles the ball low to the floor which is a great habit because it makes it tougher for defenders to pick the ball from him without fouling. This contrasts with a player like Keith Williams who frequently dribbled the ball way too high (sometimes near his chest) and he would get stripped whenever he would try a simple crossover or spin move. Skillings has a smooth shooting stroke, but he will likely have to speed up his release in order to create his own shot at the next level.
Skillings tenaciously attacks the boards and makes his presence felt on the offensive glass frequently picking up garbage buckets through sheer effort. In order to continue this in Division I basketball, he will have to work with strength and conditioning coach Mike Rehfeldt to put more muscle on his body so he can bang around down low a little bit. Since he only started playing organized basketball a few years ago, Skillings’ grasp on off-ball and help defense isn’t where it needs to be in order to succeed in the American, let alone the Big 12 which Cincinnati will likely join in 2023.
Wes Miller understands that he needs to successfully recruit guys like Skillings to compete at the highest level. Miller doesn’t need to get five one-and-done guys to attain the success that Cincinnati fans desire. He should mirror Jay Wright and Villanova. While Villanova has gotten a few top 20 recruits over the last five years or so, they have found consistent success in commitments from the top 40-80 range. These are guys that are good enough to make an impact right away, but they won’t leave after one year. Players like Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo, and Eric Paschall all stayed at Nova for multiple years. This is the recipe for defeating the blue bloods like Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, and Gonzaga.
With the addition of Skillings, Cincinnati’s 2022 class now moves to 29th in the country. It is unclear whether Miller will go after more recruits since only Hayden Koval and Abdul Ado are guaranteed to be leaving after the 2021-22 season. David DeJulius and John Newman III are seniors as well, but they still have the option of using their extra year of eligibility due to COVID. Coach Miller will likely use the transfer portal again to replenish his frontcourt after the departure of his two centers.