It is refreshing to see high school student-athletes that do things for the right reason and can keep life in the proper perspective.
It is refreshing to talk with a student-athlete like Amador Valley’s Ethan Daley.
Daley is a senior on the Amador Valley boys’ basketball team, but he is so much more than your typical high school athlete.
In addition to being a good basketball player for the Dons, Daley is an exemplary student, and dabbles in music, even recently performing in Pleasanton with his two older brothers.
Basically, he is a Tri-Valley high school version of a Renaissance Man.
“I’ve had some people call me that, but I don’t know if I would say that,” said Daley with a laugh.
Let the evidence speak for itself.
Basketball is a sport Daley has been playing since the family moved to Pleasanton from Boston when he was in fourth grade.
At 6-foot-1, Daley is hardly big for a high school varsity basketball player, yet he plays every position for the Dons and has led the team in rebounding in some games.
“I play whatever the coach needs me to play,” said Daley. “I’m not the biggest scorer but focus on all the other intangibles.”
It was like pulling teeth to get Daley to name someone he patterns his game after.
“I don’t want to describe myself – I don’t want to sound egotistical,” said Daley. “But I guess I am like a Draymond Green-type player.”
Academically, Daley is rocking a 4.3 GPA and accomplishing his excellence without his parents’ shoving academics down his throat.
In a time where we see kids face issues regularly from parental pressure, Daley is a shining beacon when it comes to what is possible with the proper support from home.
“I’ve had an interest in school since I was young,” said Daley. “I was in Kumon (an educational network) when I was young, and it just was interesting. My parents are not overbearing – they make it not about grades but understanding the material.”
Daley bring an impressive academic resume, one that is even more eye-popping considering the time he puts in to play basketball year-round.
“The balance comes with getting (school) work done during the day,” explained Daley. “It has never really been that much of a problem. I usually sacrifice (free) time during the school day to do my school work.”
Are there any days when he strays?
“Sure, there are times I get off task,” said Daley with a laugh. “It is just a discipline instilled by my parents. Some days I will get home from practice, shower, eat, and then I can study. But there has to be some time for video games.”
Then there is the musical ability.
Daley was first exposed to music in middle school, and in his freshman year he played the French horn. It’s turned out to be something he enjoys with his two older brothers.
“I have to hand it to my brothers,” said Daley of brothers Connor, 27 , and Joseph, 23. “They have loved music forever.”
For Connor, who lives in Boston, music is currently a side-profession. He works full time while pursuing a musical career. He has a song, "Fade Away," on Spotify under the name C3D and in the last month was in town when he was offered a gig at Pairings in downtown Pleasanton.
It was a family performance as Connor was the singer with Joseph and Ethan playing keyboards.
“We played for three hours,” explained Daley. “We did cover songs, pop, rock and some indie. It was the first time we had done that, and we all enjoyed it. We would love to do another. I think (Pairings) has invited us again.”
It was yet another thing in Daley’s life that required discipline.
“Oh, it was a time commitment,” said Daley. “(Connor) got out here two weeks before and there was a lot of practice.”
So, what’s more pressure – standing on the free throw line with the game on the line or taking the stage for a musical performance?
“For me, it’s more nerves in basketball,” said Daley. “It’s a good thing I am not the singer. I am in the back playing keyboards – all I need to do is make sure I get the first note right. Having a chance to win a basketball game is something I dream about.”
The balance Daley has shown in all his activities makes it not surprising when it comes to his plan on making a college decision.
“I’ve got all the college apps filled out and submitted,” explained Daley. “When I get the decisions coming in, I will take it one step at a time. I’ll figure out which colleges I have been accepted to, then sit down and make a list of pros and cons for each before making a decision.”
Will basketball factor in?
“I’m honestly not a D-I player,” said Daley, once again with a chuckle. “But I would love the chance to walk-on at a D-II or D-III school. If not, I will play intramurals. Basketball is always something that I just want to play. Basketball is more than just a game – it’s a place where you can let go of everything in your life.”
Amazing perspective from a high school senior as there are plenty of high school athletes and their parents that have delusions of grandeur.
“At the end of the day, I am not going to be the next Draymond Green,” said Daley, also laughing. “I just love playing basketball.”