That’s A Wrap: Al Durham Jr.

  • 03/23/2018 8:47 am in

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2017-2018 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Al Durham Jr.

Durham Jr. (31 games): 4.8 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 47 eFG%, 71.4% FT in 18.8 minutes per game.

The first of three recruits in the class of 2017 to pledge to former coach Tom Crean, Al Durham Jr. didn’t take long to make his presence felt in Bloomington.

After a pair of shaky performances to start the season against Indiana State and Howard, Archie Miller shook up his starting lineup for the third game of the season at Seton Hall.

Durham Jr. was one of two freshmen to earn a start in Newark and although the Hoosiers were beaten soundly by the Pirates, the freshman from Lilburn (Ga.) showed that he wouldn’t be intimidated by the big stage. Durham scored 10 points in the loss.

The 6-foot-4 lefty would go on to earn nine starts in his first season, but like most freshmen, he had his share of ups and downs.

Early in the season, Durham’s minutes increased in large part because of his ability to defend, draw fouls and take care of the ball. Over the season’s first nine games, Durham had 19 assists to just five turnovers. He was also 8-of-21 on 3s (38 percent) during that stretch and averaged 7.8 points per game.

But as teams had a chance to scout Durham and make adjustments, he struggled to produce with the efficiency he exhibited over the first nine games of the season. In Indiana’s 71-62 loss at Louisville on Dec. 9, Durham committed a season-high five turnovers. And after making eight 3-pointers in the first nine games, he shot just 6-of-28 (21.4 percent) from distance the rest of the season.

One area of Durham’s game that remained consistent throughout the season was his defense. According to Synergy Sports, he was Indiana’s best individual defender in terms of points per possession allowed (.66). Opponents attempted 125 field goals on the season when guarded by Durham and made just 35. That number ranked in the 93rd percentile nationally and was significantly better than Devonte Green and Josh Newkirk. Green ranked in the 58th percentile in the same statistic and Newkirk was in the 46th percentile.

The key for Durham moving forward will be diversifying his offensive game. The strength of his game at this point is getting into the lane and drawing fouls. Durham’s free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 48.7 percent was easily the highest among Indiana’s guards. According to Synergy, he scored an efficient 1.15 points per possession in pick and roll situations as the ball handler. In spot up situations, that number fell to. 88 points per possession and was just .89 in transition possessions. In order to keep defenses honest in the future, Durham’s perimeter shot must become more reliable.

Bottom Line: After coming to campus as a 3-star recruit who was often overshadowed on his Nike EYBL team by Collin Sexton, Durham’s freshman season exceeded expectations. He was an above average defender as a freshman and showed off an ability to get into the lane and draw fouls. If he continues to make strides this offseason, he should be in line for more minutes and an increased role as a sophomore.

Quotable: “Al is a high level IQ for a freshman. You can just watch him play and some of the plays he makes, he makes them look easy. And he’s obviously got a good feel for the game. So as we continue to play and practice he’s only going to get better.” – Miller after Durham’s 16-point performance against Howard in early November.

Previously: Justin Smith

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  • Hoosierkamp

    Al will be a very nice 4 year player

  • We’reAllForYou82

    I really like Al, I think he will keep improving and is a solid teammate locker room guy.
    Last 6 games stats
    10/18 shooting, 4/7 from 3, 14/16 from the line.

  • John D Murphy

    With so many incoming guys, Al will have to take a leadership role already.

  • PalmettoHoosier

    Speaking of that…
    Anybody know anything about Ryan Taylor from UE’s chances of being a Hoosier next year?

  • Tommy Morrsion

    Become a threat to shoot the three and all those great slashing drives he made in traffic will open up.

    Al is a coach’s son and a hard worker based on Archie’s comments. I fully expect him to be more of a threat shooting the ball next year.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    the thing i like about AD and JS is that they never played scared. both were agressive and played hard! now as sophmores they will have to grow into a leadership role. i really like these 2 kids.

  • ImYourHuckleberry

    What a surprise Al was this year. Thanks to the inconsistencies in our backcourt he had his opportunity to get quality minutes as a freshman. He had the usual highs and lows of a first season but overall I was pleased with him this season and I think he will be a valuable guard if he can be a realible shot maker.

  • Any danger of Al transferring to Ga, with the Crean hire, Al is from Georgia? I sure hope not?

  • jaywiz

    I think not. I believe I recall him saying he loves Indiana because Indiana loves basketball. I think he wants to play at a Bball school. I live in GA and last week I was asking all my UGA coworkers and friends what they thought about Crean hire, and they had no idea what I was talking about. UGA is all about the FB.

  • Hoosiernation1887

    Got to hand it to Crean, though he wasn’t highly ranked and often overlooked Al has shown in flashes what he can give to the program in his 4 years here. He will probably always have to fight to have more than a role-player’s minutes but as he continues to improve his strength and jumpshot, I think he will be a very key player the rest of his career here whether that is in a bench capacity or maybe as a full-time starter by his senior year.

  • RonMlarkey

    I predict and hope AD will not play any more minutes in any year than he did this year. As IU recruits better guards over the years they will surpass him on the depth chart.
    Doesnt seem like he has the instincts or talent to be more than a backup guard.

  • coachv

    what a bunch of malarkey

  • IUMIKE1

    Exactly as I would have expected it to be. In most of the South bball is just something to do to pass the time until football starts again. This is also the reason that I think Crean has found a landing spot where it will be seen as a win win situation, if he produces like he did at IU.

  • MrNobody

    I agree. With his size, ability to get to the rim, and defense that is silly. He will grow as he adjusts to college basketball and what Arch wants. More upside to be seen

  • MrNobody

    Think he made some comparison that in Indiana basketball was like oxygen or something and that’s what drew him to IU

  • marcusgresham

    Best on-ball defender on the team. Yeah, sounds like you have a sound idea there.

  • Given that Archie has extolled AD’s basketball IQ the entire season, I think there’s at least one important person who disagrees with your assessment. However, that said, I do think he’ll remain a backup guard as Phinisee takes over point and hopefully Romeo dominates at shooting guard.

  • Outoftheloop

    I totally disagree! Al is a 6’4 lefty guard with great defensive “instincts”. He must get much stronger physically, get much more accurate on his shooting, develop a “jump-stop”, floater game, and become more assertive on assists, not just a “move the ball” passer. I think that Al will! He is a “keeper”!

  • Outoftheloop

    Nice stats! And at the right time of year.

  • Outoftheloop

    Next year will be very different from 2017-18! IU will add size: DeRon, Clifton, Reece, and Forrester to Juwan and Justin. IU will add shooters: Damezi, Jerome and Romeo and Ryan to Devonte. Rob P and Al will run the show! I like the prospects! Everyone will value the ball and focus on great defense, or sit!