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Decatur Heritage's Daniel Long
Daily photo by Emily Saunders
Decatur Heritage's Daniel Long

One on one with ...
Decatur Heritage's
Daniel Long

Besides time in the basketball gym, Decatur Heritage senior guard Daniel Long spends most of his time outdoors. Eagles coach Tommy Kyle said the three-year starter is one of his most solid defensive players and a remarkable person off the court as well. Long took time for 10 questions with The Daily's Brooke Milam after practice this week:

Question: Which is more exciting: A blowout win or pulling out a close one?

Answer: Pulling out a close one. Really, all the past R.A. Hubbard wins. It has been an ongoing tradition with us and them to have close games. (Decatur Heritage most recently beat R.A. Hubbard 68-64 in double overtime Jan. 5, and the two teams will play again Friday night).

Q: What's the biggest Decatur Heritage win you remember — playing or just watching?

A: When I was a freshman playing and we played for the area championship against R.A. Hubbard here. We won and we went to the region championship where we played them again and they beat us by a last-second shot.

Q: In your opinion, what's the best way to relax?

A: When I'm out with my horses. We have a farm out toward Eva. That's where we live. I have two horses, Chloe and Belle, but they're both pregnant, so we're going to have more. My mom (Tricia Long) also has a stud, his name is Winston.

Q: What's your favorite month of the year?

A: April — it's my birthday. I'm usually riding horses and camping about that time of year.

Q: Where did you pick up your love for the outdoors?

A: I was born into it, and I spent the majority of my life in Royal Rangers. It's a program that teaches young boys how to survive and stuff like that — it's church-affiliated.

Q: Coach Tommy Kyle said he can count on you for solid defense. What does it take to be a strong defensive player?

A: Heart, all heart. They've always looked to me for defense, and that's what I've always been really steady on. I used to like watching Brandon Hill, who played here a few years ago. He always reminded me of spider running across the floor because he stayed so low to the ground. (Hill graduated in 2002 and went on to play at Bevill State.)

Q: Do you have any hidden talents?

A: I've been playing piano since I was about 5 years old. My mother made me start taking lessons from Mrs. (Vondale) Merritt in Hartselle, and I've been taking ever since.

Q: What famous person would you like to trade places with for a day?

A: John Wayne — the Duke. I've been watching his movies my whole life — grew up on him and Roy Rogers.

Q: You're one of four seniors on your team this season. How many are in your graduating class?

A: I think 23 or 24. I've been going to Decatur Heritage since the seventh grade, and I've really liked it a lot. At a smaller school, it allows you to interact with the teachers a lot better, and I've enjoyed it.

Q: Class 1A Decatur Heritage plays a lot of teams from larger classifications. What differences do you see in small-school basketball and big-school basketball?

A: They've got a lot more people to pick from. Our coach has to take what he's got and shape them up.

Usually, we only have one big man. But we work with what we have and do pretty well.

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