Al Durham wants to be a Hoosier.
The three-star Georgia guard is keeping his commitment to Indiana following last month’s coaching change, his father, Al Sr., told The Herald-Times on Thursday night. Durham requested to be released from his signed National Letter of Intent on March 20, four days after Indiana fired former coach Tom Crean.
But after new coach Archie Miller personally visited Durham and his family on Thursday, Durham is comfortable and excited to remain a Hoosier.
“He and Al went over some film from when he coached at Dayton and the way he used his guards,” Al Sr. said. “He fits right in with the type of guards he had at Dayton and the way he developed them and was able to be successful in his system. He fits perfectly, and once again, I can tell everybody it’s still Indiana basketball. It’s still Indiana basketball and, if they want you, it’s hard to say no to that — especially when you have a good coach like Archie.
“He knows a lot of the same people I know. I’ve been in (the travel circuit) for a long time, so I got the stamp of approval with everyone I talked to. It was just about Al. Al wanted to feel comfortable and talk to him.”
During the past season, Durham was the most visible IU signee at games near and far. He watched the Hoosiers beat Ohio State in Columbus on March 4 and was also in attendance for IU’s season-ending National Invitation Tournament loss at Georgia Tech on March 14.
One of Miller’s first acts as Indiana basketball coach was to reach out to Durham and his family mere hours after he was announced as the program’s new leader on March 25.
“Anybody who’s been doing this awhile knows how this recruiting thing goes,” Al Sr. said. “A lot of it is dealing with the coach. Crean was fired and, for us, that was a major blow. You just don’t want to be stuck with whoever they hire, if it wasn’t a good hire. Al wanted the freedom to make a different decision. That’s why the whole release was requested. We requested before Archie got there. We just wanted to make sure we had options, just in case. That’s why we always said Indiana was still in the picture.”
Durham was the first player to commit to IU’s 2017 class, picking the Hoosiers after developing strong relationships with Crean and former assistant Chuck Martin.
Durham is ranked No. 160 overall in 247 Sports’s list of recruits for 2017. The same service considers him the No. 33 overall point guard and the No. 14 player in the state of Georgia.
Durham’s decision to remain signed means the Hoosiers will continue to deal with a numbers crunch with next season’s roster.
Indiana currently has 16 players in the mix for the 13 scholarships allowed, per NCAA rules.
There are, of course, moving parts still in the equation
James Blackmon Jr. is expected to officially declare for the NBA Draft and test his stock, though he’s not expected to hire an agent. Meanwhile, teammates OG Anunoby and Thomas Bryant are also considering professional futures.
Indiana could still lose four-star signee Clifton Moore, a 6-foot-10 forward who also requested his release from a signed NLI. Four-star wing Justin Smith is expected to remain signed with IU.
Just like Durham.
“Archie did a real good job,” Al Sr. said. “He called him immediately after it was announced. He checked in with him each day and chopped it up with him, and I think the final nail in the coffin was when he came out to sit down and talk to him about what his plan is and how he fits. The fact that Archie really, really watched him over the summer and knew key games when he was in the EYBL (spring and summer league), he watched him and made him a priority, just like he said.”