Durham waiting for shots to fall on EYBL circuit #iubb

WESTFIELD — Al Durham is learning the virtue of patience.

Across his first four games on this month’s Nike EYBL circuit, Durham’s shot has betrayed him. The 3-pointers aren’t falling, neither are the floaters nor the drives to the rim. But Durham’s feel for his game tells him this slump is only temporary.

And in the meantime, the 2017 three-star Indiana commit knows what he has to do to break it.

“(I have to) do other things,” Durham said after his Southern Stampede AAU outfit dropped their EYBL Session II opener Friday at Jonathan Byrd’s Fieldhouse at Grand Park. “The game will come to me eventually. Shots will fall. I just have to make sure my team is all doing what they need to do and get everyone involved, rebounding and playing defense. The game will come to me.”

Durham, a left-handed combo guard who gave his verbal commitment to IU in October, scored 12 points on 4-for-22 shooting on Friday against Cal Supreme, an AAU program loaded with top-tier talent like No. 1 overall prospect DeAndre Ayton and the No. 10 overall recruit in the class, Brandon McCoy.

Durham missed all four 3-point attempts and struggled to finish consistently around the rim. He had two turnovers, but both of those came within the first few minutes, and finished his weekend-opening stat line with three steals. In four EYBL games, Durham is shooting 26 percent (16-for-62) from the field and 27 percent (5-for-18) from 3-point range.

No, Friday was not a portrait of Durham at his best. Far from it. But the Georgia native offered at least a glimpse of the potential the Hoosiers see in his future.

He has the quickness IU coach Tom Crean covets in his guards, and upon inspection appears to have a shooting form that can produce more consistent results. Though his shots from the field weren’t falling Friday, he did shoot 4-for-5 from the free throw line. Across his four games this spring, he is 15-for-22 (68 percent) at the line.

At Berkmar High School in suburban Atlanta, Durham was a first-team all-region selection by the Gwinnett Daily Post, scoring 14.8 points per game to go along with his 5.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists per contest. He shot 34 percent from beyond the arc.

When his game is rolling, Durham feels it is a fit for Indiana.

“Coach Crean, he lets everyone play, but he holds everyone responsible,” Durham said. “He makes sure everyone is in line and works with them in the off-season and gets everyone better. Basically, there’s flow in their offense. They’re gonna move, pass the ball, everyone shoots and everyone plays together. I like to play with my team, get everyone involved and then when the game is coming to me, I’ll shoot it.”

Durham says he can see himself playing either at the point or off the ball when he arrives in Bloomington next year. As part of his growth, he says, IU coaches want to see him continue developing into a more vocal presence on the floor.

Durham was noticeably talkative in his Indiana EYBL opener, especially early.

“My coaches stay on me to make sure I’m talking constantly,” Durham said, “making sure everyone knows what’s going on and being like the floor general.”

Although he’s not sure whether he’ll be able to make a quick trip to Bloomington this weekend, Durham says he already feels a connection to his future home. He watched every IU game on TV this past season that his schedule allowed, and attended a couple games in person.

Through the arc of the Hoosiers’ season, he also learned a lesson in adversity — something that could serve him well perhaps sooner than expected.

“Indiana winning really proved a lot of people wrong,” Durham said. “People had them doubted. People had them losing first round, second round and they came with a lot of heart, played defense and they proved the world wrong.”

3 comments

    1. BeatPurdue,
      Sort of. Durham was 2-of-13 field goals on Saturday morning, then went 7-of-13 from the field and 12-of-18 on free throws for 29 points in the Saturday evening game.

Comments are closed.