Q & A: Catching up with 2017 IU commit Al Durham

  • 04/29/2016 9:27 am in

Class of 2017 Berkmar (Ga.) guard Al Durham committed to the Hoosiers last fall following a trip to Bloomington and remains Indiana’s lone commitment in the class.

It’s been an up-and-down start to the spring for Durham, who is ranked a 3-star prospect and the No. 207 player in the country according to the 247Composite.

Through the first two sessions on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) circuit, Durham is averaging 13.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game, but is shooting just 30.5 percent from the field and is committing 2.9 turnovers per game.

Inside the Hall caught up with the 6-foot-4 combo guard at the EYBL stop in Westfield last weekend to discuss a variety of topics. Our complete Q & A follows:

How are things going so far this spring on the circuit?

“It’s going OK so far. We just had two tough losses at the beginning of this session. We’ve just got to come back and bring the fight that we had the first session over these next two games.”

What does it take to win in this league?

“Every possession counts. You can’t take one possession off. You’ve got to play defense. You’ve got to make sure you know your assignment and the rest will take care of itself. You have to play defense and score off the mistakes the defense makes.”

This last game against CP3 seemed to get a little chippy at times. Is that just competitors getting after it?

“Yeah, we know each other and we’ve been playing against each other forever. It’s just a little competitiveness during the game and wanting to win, the will to win.”

What are you working on most right now in terms of your game?

“Repetition on my shot because that always can get better. Working on coming off of screens, footwork, two-foot jumping, ball fakes, all of that.”

What are your conversations like with Indiana at this point? What do you talk about with them?

“We talk about the process of getting ready to go up there. They gave me hints and stuff on things to start working on now so I’ll be ready when I come in.”

What do you like about the program the most? What stood out to you watching them play this season?

“They all play together. I love their team chemistry. They move the ball and everyone plays for each other. No one is really selfish. Everyone is looking to pass the ball and move and then when it is your turn, you gotta go make a play.”

You talked about your shot, what are the things you can do to improve there?

“Just repetition. Just make sure I shoot the same way, squared, follow through, elbow under the ball and then letting it go at the highest point.”

Give us a synopsis of your high school season and how it went.

“My high school season went well, we fell a little shorter than we anticipated. We played in the Sweet Sixteen and lost a tough one there, lost a couple of players, but it was a good season. We played well, but we’re going to come back next year stronger and better.”

Did you notice opponents coming after you harder after you committed to Indiana?

“It’s a lot of fun. People get up when they play against someone who is committed somewhere big. Everyone got up, they double teamed, they tried to get me off my game, trying to get into my head, but it was fun. I liked it and I love the competitiveness and I’ve got to show them why I’m going to Indiana.”

What’s your relationship like with coach (Tom) Crean and coach (Chuck) Martin? What do you like about them?

“It’s going well. They’re more similar to the people around me. They want to help me get better. They care for me and they care for all of the kids at Indiana like they are their own. I really like that. That really stands out to me.”

Filed to:

  • TomJameson

    This is somebody who will become a “core” player. He’ll play 4 years and get better every year. He’ll learn the system, play his role, and when he’s an upperclassman he’ll be passing on the culture to the underclassmen. By his junior year he’ll be contributing and will be an important “glue” piece to the team. You can’t build consistency with a class full of 1-and-dones, but still like to have that talent on the team for 2 years, like TB.

  • Fivelefts

    He’s still a bit skinny for a 2 guard.. and I don’t like that 30% from three.. He’s gonna have to shoot better than that, when he gets to IU! Good Luck to him.

  • Fivelefts

    I wholly agree, with that assessment!

  • thrawnjan

    30% from the field.

  • Kyl470

    Sprinkling in a one and done can be nice, but it’s impossible to build consistency without four year players.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    What is not to like about the kid? Okay SHOOTING but he seems to be a competitor and a fighter. CTC and team will get him shooting and in three years he will be a part of IU upper class leadership. I like it when I see those guys commit to IU along with a lot of top 50 two year guys.

  • David Macer

    He’s barely 17. Wait until he’s 19. His body will change. Especially after a year of weight training at IU.

  • Fivelefts


  • Ole Man

    IU is not going to have any room for top 50 two year guys at the rate it is going.

  • Ole Man

    Sorry, but I’m not buying that “story” just yet, Tom.
    The ’17 class is loaded with 4 stars, who have shown a lot of interest in IU, who fit the description you wrote above. . . “Core” guys who stick 3 and 4 years.
    If IU is ever going to be elite again, those are the ones we need to prioritize.
    This is a great recruit, two or three years ago. Not today, necessarily.

  • TomJameson

    Tony, I agree with that to an extent. I want a reasonably balanced class every year, and I would think that Crean would want the same as well. I don’t think a class size of 6-8 is beneficial at all. Elite 4 stars don’t normally stay 4 years … maybe 3, but most probably 2.
    If Crean didn’t recruit 3 star guys with talent, think back on some players we would have missed out on. Not saying CTC hasn’t missed on a couple, but he sure can pick some talented kids that are under the radar. His record has earned my trust in him knowing what he’s looking for. I’m definitely not going to lose any sleep over it.

  • Ole Man

    I am, Tom, because right now IU has a roster full of glue guys — Newkirk, Durham, Gelon, CuJo, McFly, Morgan — And I’m not including RJ and OG even though I think both have two more years here. That’s solid enough. That’s seven, probably eight of the type of players you’re talking about. Time to focus on A: Big Men, because they’re in and out of IU in two years; B: 4 and 5 stars.


    Nothing against this kid on a personal level, but in the game of recruiting you want to take the best available to you the vast majority of the time and I can’t help but believe that there are more than just one or two players in his class that have a high interest in IU, and that could fill the role he will have at IU and do it at a much higher level. Think Tom may have jumped the gun a little early on this one.

  • Ole Man

    Wouldn’t be the first time he’s done that.

  • SilentBob

    I’m nobody to say what method is best. But there is an obvious problem facing coaches today. And that’s that the glue guys and fall back options are committing earlier, and the superstars are committing later. And then to be captain obvious, there maybe lots of glue guys, but some are made of better glue. Some of these “glue” guys we have recruited will not pan out and be made of your regular elementary elmers glue. And others will be more like rubber cement, and other types. But I can guarantee you, Al won’t keep Crean from chasing Scruggs and Al won’t keep Scruggs from committing. And I will also guarantee you, if we sign a bunch of five stars, a bunch of five stars will be playing in IU uniforms the next year. Whether that be NBA departure, transfers, or “transfers”

  • Fifer39

    That’s true but our recruiting perspective and expectations have probably shifted quite a bit even since last fall. BL pointed out recently that we have about 12 offers out for about 1 or 2 spots from 17. I’m sure many of those offers have been out there for quite a while. I think you will see TC become a bit more selective now in making offers. That’s not a comment on Durhams recruitment specifically – lots to like about the kid even if he is glue. But whether you call it getting ‘Creaned’ or not, TC has always shown that he can manage the scholarship situation and if there’s a better guy to get, he will make an opportunity.

  • twarrior87

    I agree for the most part Ole Man, but remember CTC has plucked out some 3 star gems over the years.

  • Jordan

    30% in a few Aau games.. Zeisloft was 30% at one point too this season.

  • Outoftheloop

    In May 2017, Collin and Troy will graduate; Thomas, OG and James will likely go to the NBA; Tim Priller may graduate. That would make 6 open scholarships! Even for an “ole man” that is plenty of room! I am more concerned with 14 players for 13 slots after 5/25/16 if both Troy and James return.

  • Outoftheloop

    Wrong! No other kid matches Al Durhams interest in Indiana. He is the only kid to say I am a Hoosier! I don’t care who else offers me!

  • Outoftheloop

    5-6 spots not 1-2!

  • Outoftheloop

    Right now he shoots better than Victor, Will, Juwan or OG did at the same time in their career. IU needs another lefty shooter (I think I am right on this).

  • Outoftheloop

    So you get 4 top 50 players plus Durham. I like that!

  • Outoftheloop

    Durham is not here! No argument that IU needs another really good Big plus 3 more top 50 kids in 2017
    (which can be top 10 kids)!

  • Outoftheloop

    That has always been the case! Smart 3-star kids take the offer now while 4-5 star kids wait and see.

  • Koko

    I was thinking that this new rule (declare without agent to return to school) might create more glue guys than before.
    Each year they try and get turned down then they come back and become better players/team players…..just me thinking.
    Totally agree on getting a big guy…or two.

  • Ole Man

    Good observation!

  • millzy32

    This is great but it sure would be nice if a kid in the top 50 or better yet the top 20 said the same kind of thing. We could fill all our open spots with kids outside the top 200 today if we wanted. Just offer and they’ll accept and be totally all in on the Hoosiers.

  • millzy32

    He didn’t end there and he only shoots 3 pointers so I’m not sure what your point is on this one. If you miss your first shot of the season you’re shooting 0% for the year. Should we just stop there and say at one point you were shooting 0%?

  • millzy32

    Duke and Kentucky have both won National Titles in the last five years. I’d love to be that inconsistent.

  • Fivelefts

    I just so happen to a Lefty! So I think, you may be on to something! Thanks for the prospective!

  • Jordan

    His shooting % was taken from a few AAU games. Just saying you shouldn’t judge his overall impact from one stat.. And Zeislofts % do to a rough shooting streak which was what I was trying to Al maybe going through. Not sure how you took my comment

  • Bill Graham

    I agree. I think we should push early on the top 20’s (knowing they will probably be late commits). Once the big boys sign elsewhere then we can fill our unused schollys on 3 stars and transfers. A couple more Al’s and the headlines will be reading: “Porter to pUKe” “Wilkes to Kansas”….We need to get back in the mix again for the top tier kids.

  • Kyl470

    You are correct and if you do a roster check you will notice that both of their title teams had upperclassman that played major minutes. It wasn’t just a team full of one and dones.