Durham Jr., Smith help lead Lightning to win in Derby Festival Basketball Classic

  • 04/15/2017 10:09 pm in

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It’s been a busy couple of weeks for Al Durham Jr. and Justin Smith following the coaching change in Bloomington.

But after both players reaffirmed their commitments to the Hoosiers following meetings with Archie Miller, Saturday’s Derby Festival Basketball Classic at Freedom Hall was a chance to have fun.

And that’s exactly what happened.

“It’s always good to get head start in getting to know your future teammates,” Durham Jr. said. “Justin and I connected very well. We had fun this weekend. I think we’re going to do great things at Indiana.”

Smith scored 15 points and Durham Jr. added 10 as the Lightning team beat Thunder, 122-109, in front of 4,812 fans.

Playing together as teammates for the first time, the pair of IU signees both played 20 minutes and were on the court together the entire time.

Smith was 7-of-13 from the field, including a 1-of-4 performance from behind the 3-point line, and added four rebounds and three assists. He was one of six Lightning players to finish in double figures.

“I had a good time,” Smith said postgame. “It allowed me to show my athleticism a little bit. And it’s always fun to get up and down and dunk all of the time. So I had a good time.”

Smith finished as the runner-up in the dunk contest, which Texas A & M signee Savion Flagg won. The preliminary round was held Friday night at Indiana University Southeast and the finals were held at halftime on Saturday.

Durham Jr., meanwhile, shot 5-of-11 from the field and had six rebounds, three assists and two steals.

“I showed that I can compete with the best,” Durham Jr. said. “It will help me get a head start on who I’ll be playing against next year and basically just getting a head start in upgrading my game.”

With Saturday’s exhibition acting as one of the final events for both players as high school players, the trip to Louisville to compete against some of the nation’s best was a rewarding experience.

Both players said they plan to arrive in Bloomington in June for summer school and offseason workouts. Smith said he’s looking forward to beginning the next chapter of his career.

“I’ve been working at this for a long, long time,” Smith said. “And just to have it finally have it pay off and have it actually be put into motion, it will be very fulfilling.”

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  • IUAZ75

    I thought Smith looked good. Certainly should be a multi year contributor for IUBB. Durham with a great attitude but needs some time with the shot doctor. Both seem like solid character individuals.

  • Archie knows a thing or two about shooting. I’m sure AD’s shooting woes will be rectified.

  • Ole Man

    Until Durham learns to squares up, he will never be a great outside shooter. So he has a long way to go in that arena.
    I do really like his attitude, however.

  • Koko

    I think they both played well….AD can use the shot doctor….but overall I was happy with what I saw. If I were to pick between the two I’d say Smith is the one
    most likely to get the most minutes in their freshman year. They appear to be solid picks….let the games begin!

  • iugradmark

    Justin seems to have the whole package for a small forward. He is athletic but under control. He seems to be mature beyond his years. He is athletic enough and seems to have a great attitude. I like his comments that he will not play in any more games and instead will focus on the workout programs that Indiana has given to him and his father. Based on player rankings, I think we may have got a steal with signing him.

  • “… let the games begin!” Alas, that’s not for quite some time. Haven’t been this excited for a season to start in a long, long time.

  • Koko


  • TomJameson

    Yeah, I’m not any kind of a shot doctor, but my very first thought was that he needed to square up. Hopefully Archie and staff can work that out of him.

  • TomJameson

    I think we’re going to have a better team than some think (me included). Even with the new system that Archie puts in,

  • Corey Schroyer

    I know it was just the 3 point contest but for athletic as Smith is he’s got no jump on his shots, didn’t see the game highlights but even if he was just playing relaxed that’s not a great habit lol

  • SilentBob

    Ya know I’ve watched that video at least 10 times now to see what everyone is talking about and I just don’t see it. Very well could be an indictment of me, as like you I’m no shot doctor, but the way he misses just doesn’t seem to be an issue with body position. If you watch it he doesn’t miss left or right, but actually leaves it short. Very few, if any, shooters get perfectly square. It’s more of a guideline than an actual rule. In my very limited experience working with small children, I always watch where the shot lands and rework from there. And this method leads me to agree with coach Millers assumed assertion (in Al’s post game interview) that it’s an issue of following through and not body positioning.