Viont’e Daniels, a senior leader for No. 1 Federal Way, leads the Eagles (24-2) against Moses Lake in the Class 4A state tournament quarterfinals at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday.

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FEDERAL WAY — Viont’e Daniels typed the words “LeBron motivational videos” into his YouTube search bar — he’s kind of a sucker for motivational videos.

A specific line stood out from this video, which featured James and Kevin Durant working out: “Effort is between you and you. Nobody can judge effort.”

“There were games last year where I just didn’t give enough effort, I just didn’t play hard enough,” Daniels said. “I wasn’t the same person last playoffs as I was this playoff season. The game is really 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical.”

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The illustration previewing the 4A and 3A state basketball tournament features the following area schools, from top: Cleveland, Rainier Beach, Bellevue, Inglemoor, Garfield and Bishop Blanchet.

Daniels, a senior leader for No. 1 Federal Way, watched that video before a season-ending loss to South Kitsap last year. It was a far cry from the short-term effect he was hoping for, but it turned into an important long-term message for him.

“From that point on, I just play every game like it’s my last because you just never know what’s going to happen,” said Daniels, who leads the Eagles (24-2) against Moses Lake in the Class 4A state-tournament quarterfinals at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday.

Before the season began, the Eagles were primed with a loaded roster, led by Daniels and Malik Montoya, both seniors. But when Montoya, who is signed with Seattle University, went down with a torn ACL, a talented squad suddenly became a much younger one.

State Hoops 2015

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The leadership responsibilities shifted heavily toward Daniels.

“When Malik went down, now it’s like, you can’t share it, you have to own it,” Federal Way coach Jerome Collins said.

Daniels didn’t just need to be physically ready for the season, but he had to be the team’s leader, mentally and emotionally.

The physical part of the game, in a way, had to be second nature. That’s where the summer work came into play.

“I thought it was important, the work that he put in in the summer in the weight room,” Collins said. “I thought it was important in the gym, the drilling. Gaining that mental edge then. You could see it just coming forward in the summer. It was a process and he got there.

“But still, he still had to seize it … I thought when he had immediate success, those first three, four games, I (saw) it really build.”

Daniels, who averages 21.2 points per game, thinks of himself more as a role player during his first three seasons. But he worked this offseason on, among other things, becoming a consistent scorer, someone who could take over the reins of the offense.

The changes haven’t gone unnoticed by those around the league.

“The thing that he does really well is he can shoot the lights out of the ball,” said Kentwood coach Blake Solomon, whose team has lost twice to the Eagles this season. “He’s always on balance, straight up and straight down. His skill work is unbelievable.”

The biggest difference isn’t necessarily an improved offensive game — though it can’t be ignored — but it’s his maturation. Daniels, who is still waiting for an offer despite contact from a handful of mid-majors, understands the effort necessary to be successful.

When Federal Way tips off at the Tacoma Dome, it will be an essential quality to possess. State-tournament games are rarely blowouts, and usually become battles of will. Thanks to YouTube, Daniels’ is stronger than ever.

“When things went bad the last couple years, it would go away,” Daniels said. “Now, since I’m so mentally tough and strong, whatever happens, I just stay focused.”