As Dakota Daniello ’23 stood at center court during a break in Monday’s New York Knicks game against the Chicago Bulls, the gravity of the moment kicked in.
“It was kind of surreal because I was always used to just looking at the court from so far away,” said Daniello, who was invited to Madison Square Garden to receive the 2018-19 Dave DeBusschere Award. “It just felt really good.”
According to the Knicks’ website, the award recognizes two tri-state student-athletes — one boy and one girl — who excel both on the court and in the classroom and exemplify the heroic characteristics of the late great Dave DeBusschere.
Daniello played an important role for Masters’ varsity girls’ basketball team as an eighth-grader this past season, routinely providing a spark for the Panthers with her quickness and creativity on the court. Playing with unmistakable energy and enthusiasm, she helped Masters make a run to the program’s first-ever New York State Association of Independent Schools championship. Daniello’s also been a member of the Middle School’s softball, soccer and track teams.
Daniello has thrived off the court at Masters, too, exploring a range of academic and artistic pursuits. She was a drummer in the Middle School’s Boom! and Masters of Rock musical groups last year and is a member of EFFECT — the School’s environmentally-focused club. In addition, Daniello has helped out in her local community by delivering food to homebound seniors and assists her mother in fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Association.
Looking ahead to the future, Daniello is focused on making more of her dreams become realities.
“My goal is to play Division I basketball at a good school,” she said.