Freshman Focus: Al Durham Jr.

  • 08/30/2017 2:12 pm in

“Freshman Focus” is an Inside the Hall series on each of Indiana’s incoming freshmen. Over the next couple of days, we will take an in-depth look at each newcomers. Today: Al Durham Jr.

Al Durham, Jr., a 6-foot-4, 175-pound guard, appears to be ready to help the Hoosiers as a freshman.

“(Durham is) a long, slender, athletic guard who can score,” Indiana head coach Archie Miller said at Huber Farms last May. “He’s got really good size. He’s got a frame that I think is going to fill out. And I think he’s a guy, with the skill set and how he plays, will fit in nicely with what we do”

Durham was Indiana’s first commit of the 2017 class as he originally announced for the Hoosiers in October of 2015, signed in November of 2016 and recommitted in early April.

“He fell in love with the school,” said Greg Phillips, who coached Durham for four years at Berkmar High School. “It was definitely – he likes coach (Tom) Crean and respected him and it was a big reason he signed – but I think a bigger reason was the school itself.”

The three-star guard out of Lilburn, Georgia improved throughout his four years on varsity at Berkmar. His scoring average increased from 15 points per game his sophomore year to nearly 21 as a senior.

Last December, Durham was named to the All-Tournament team of the King of the Bluegrass Tournament after scoring 30 points in the championship game.

As a senior, Durham was named first team all-county after averaging 20.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.7 steals and 2.8 blocks per game for Berkmar.

“He worked for four hard years on strength, continuing to get stronger,” Phillips said. “Whenever a weakness or something he needed to improve upon came about in his game, he made sure to work on it. A lot of time at 6 a.m. in the gym before school started. A lot of time after school and individual workouts. No matter what someone said was a weakness for him, he chose to get in the gym and work on it and make sure it was not a weakness anymore.”

Durham played AAU ball for Southern Stampede, with his father serving as head coach. In his last year on the EYBL circuit, Durham averaged 15.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists over 16 games while playing alongside five-star guard Collin Sexton, who will suit up for Alabama this fall.

The left-handed Durham will be just one of five guards on scholarship for Indiana during the 2017-18 season, so he’ll have plenty of opportunities to earn playing time.

He played both guard positions in high school, but Phillips said his natural position is point guard.

“He’ll fit in well,” Phillips said. “He’s a tremendous passer, has a tremendously high basketball IQ, and so I think he’ll fit in well to the style of pushing the ball up the court. He is a really good defender.”

For Berkmar, it will be an adjustment not having Durham to rely upon, but Phillips says he’s excited for his former star to take the next step in his basketball career.

“We hated to see him go, but he was here this summer, he’s been back supporting his brother and to visit us numerous times and working out on his own. Indiana is getting a special young man.”

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  • SCHoosier

    Al will need a little ‘seasoning” but I do believe he’ll earn his keep the first two years..and then be a factor by his JR year.

  • Kyl470

    You heard it here first on 8/30/17. Al Durham Jr. will go down as the greatest point guard in IU history.

  • sarge

    I love hearing about him improving his weaknesses. Every great competitor does this. If you don’t have a weakness, you look invincible and impossible to attack. He seems to be an all around guard with a lot of capabilities despite his recruiting ranking. I bet competition in practice is brutal between our guards and wings.

  • Mark Bando

    I like hearing that he is a good defender. I’m hoping to hear that about almost all of our players from now on.

  • inLinE6

    Are you sure? Where do you rank Isiah Thomas?

  • We’reAllForYou82

    A 6’4″ point guard who likes defense too. I agree, he may become a real solid Hoosier and be a big part of this team right when we are taking off

  • inLinE6

    I think Al will average about 5-8 mins a game providing much needed energy. His defense will determine how long he stays on floor, for the first year. To get a bigger impact, his shot has to fall, which is still a work-in-progress.

  • Kyl470

    After Al is finished it’ll be:

    Quinn Buckner
    Isiah Thomas

  • millzy32

    Got started hitting the sauce a little early today ehh? Maybe that’s why that cup is always full. Fill empty repeat. Fill empty repeat. Start at 2:00 in the afternoon? Why not? Enjoy.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Micheal Lewis

    Then a drop off in my humble opinion. I do think there will be several players coached by Archie that will be added to the list.

  • Outoftheloop

    “Indiana is getting a special young man”. That is a great comment! Al has great size and length for a college PG (and Lefty’s are unusual as PG’s). Al needs strength and experience. He needs to improve his shooting, to 50% FG, 40% 3-point, and 75-80% FT. But he appears to be a great worker, driven to improve. I like his chances to play well in limited minutes.

  • Mr. Shep-dizzle

    This kid could be special in a couple of years. He has the size and determination to compete with the big boys. He may lose more battles than he wins in the beginning but by the time he’s a junior we’ll be happy that CM was able to keep him. You can’t teach heart and love for a program and AD seems to have both. These are the kids we need right next to the 4 & 5 star guys.

  • Outoftheloop

    Rivals 266! Make the ranking groups eat their lack of knowledge!

  • Outoftheloop

    Pass the Bong!

  • Mr. Shep-dizzle

    Wow, that is really bullish on the young man and holding him to high expectations. I’ll be really happy if he’s as good as Mike Lewis, who was under appreciated imo. Mike was tough as nails and a smart player. He wouldn’t take crap from anyone, even the General.

  • Miamihoosier

    I don’t see a big drop off from Michael Lewis to Tom Coverdale. He was tough

  • iugradmark

    I have been pretty outspoken regarding Coach Crean and why we needed to make a change but regarding this class of kids, I think we are going to be pretty happy with all of them. Al was the one question mark to me. He seems to be a high quality kid that is willing to put in the work and seems to be growing his game. Justin is a top 100 kids that looks ready to play and Clifton, with his size and skill set, may be a real jewel before he is done. Tip of the hat to our former coaches on these kids and for Archie going out and resigning them.

  • Larry Brown

    AJ Guyton ….. Tom Coverdale … They didn’t have Lewis’ assists but they were both better at other things

  • VOXAC30

    Maybe it’s me but Al will only get limited minutes this year and steadily rise coming off the bench or starting as a senior. Green, Josh, RJ, and CJ will get the Lions share of playing time.

    I do think he will get the opportunity to play because a 6’4 lefty point guard will definitely throw the defenses off.

  • VOXAC30

    Kyl470 I hope your right because if he is that good then we will have a F4 contending team and we will win the BIG. I do think your optimism just a little high but I hope your dead on!

    He would be among some elite names in IU lore if your right though.

  • VOXAC30

    That is a pretty awesome list. Make sure you include AJ Guyton in that list. He is top 10 in scoring (3), Assist (8), and Steels (10). Also he is still First in 3pt field goals made.

  • VOXAC30

    I cannot believe you don’t have Zeek on the list. ESPN ranks him the #5 PG of all time.

  • AndyCapp

    Sounds like a total gym rat to the order of Jordy Hulls and Victor… no wonder CTC liked him. I think we *all* will before the end of 2018-19!

  • AndyCapp

    Sorry, guess I don’t know everyone’s nickname… Zeek?

  • SoCal Hoosier

    Isiah Thomas

  • E Foy McNaughton

    IT – which I meant as initials for Zeek, 1st

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I always thought of AJ as more of a 2 guard

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Coverdale was very good, I’m just not sure I’d say great. But, I’m not sure M Lewis really rose to the level of great either. I had thought of AJ as more of a 2 guard.

  • nmstan

    Attitude and the Will to Prepare really are keys to success. Glad to hear of a young man that learned this early and took to heart. Congrats to his parents, his HS coach, teachers, and his buddies.

  • AndyCapp

    Cool thnks… but unless he edited it later IT is Isiah Thomas (aka Zeek). And I would definitely agree with ESPN’s rankings.

  • VOXAC30

    I think he was but with those Stats he was a pretty good PG as well. I think he was more of a combo guard.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    AL Durham,,,thank you. You will love it at Indiana University.

  • Knuckledrager

    Jay Edwards.?

  • Knuckledrager

    Wore no.#44. Averaged 44 points a game in high school. Same as pistol pete.

  • bleeding crimson

    I agree with many of your post but if you’re correct, he should be starting this year don’t you think? I don’t know much about AD but he seems like a special kid and I hope you’re right.
    Keep’em coming CM.

  • KelvinSampson87

    i like all these kids and am optimistic about next season but i am not sure the previous staff should be given a pat on the back for a recruiting class with only 1 top 100 recruit that leaves us with only one true post player.

  • VOXAC30

    OMG….. Good Man and sorry I missed IT!

  • VOXAC30

    I am probably spelling it incorrectly but Zeek is Isiah Thomas.

  • cbags05

    Any Mateen Cleaves comparissons here? I may not know what I’m talking about. Defense, can score, but not really a shooter, passer, does the little things, HUGE smile.

    Regardless, I really look forward to seeing how this kid can develop under CM. This will be a really good case study of what to expect as far as 4 year guys developing.