After the Howard game we highlighted how the national recruiting services appeared to have significantly underrated Indiana freshman guard Al Durham, Jr. Since then that impression has only been further cemented as Durham continues to play at a high level despite his 3 star rating as a recruit. Take a look at his statistics through 6 games:
- Points – 9.0
- FG% – 49%
- 3PT% – 35%
- Rebounds – 2.5
- Assists – 3.0
- Turnovers – .33 [only 2 all season]
It is perhaps the turnovers that have most wowed the Indiana fans who have been hungry for a cleaner and more efficient brand of basketball. But Durham’s play has also caught the attention of the media and most importantly, his coach. In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon in Bloomington, Coach Archie Miller was asked about his upstart freshman guard, and he didn’t hesitate to pour on the praise. Specifically, Miller was asked about Durham’s ability to limit his turnovers, and how his play might be impacted as the competition ramps up.
Coach Miller’s response helped to confirm a lot of what we think we are seeing, noting that Durham “plays within himself” and that “he has been taking what the defense gives.”
Furthermore Miller noted that Durham has a “high basketball IQ” is “efficient with his dribble” and that he “plays in straight lines”.
Perhaps most important, Miller stated that he trusts the freshman guard and his teammates trust him. He expects that he won’t be phased by higher profile games or a higher level of competition, noting that Durham played at a high level on the road against Seton Hall. Along those lines Miller also stated the Durham is not afraid of anything. This is something we have noted several times in our post-game report card. There have been multiple critical junctures within games where Durham has stepped up and made a big play. The coach attributed a lot of these qualities to Durham’s upbringing, family and growing up around the game with his dad being a coach.
Finally, Miller also believes that there is more to come from Durham, including an improved perimeter shot. Whether or not we see an improved shot against Duke, this game will provide an opportunity for Durham to demonstrate even more of his abilities, as this will be the biggest stage and highest level of opponent he has seen thus far. At this point, we will no longer be surprised to see him excel.
CHECKING ON COACH MILLER
Miller speculated that Durham might be number 1 in the country in assist to turnover ratio. We took a look at the statistics on the NCAA’s official website, and the coach wasn’t too far off. In fact, Durham is currently 5th in the country with his 9 to 1 ratio. Not bad for a 3 star.
Photo by Vincent Carchietta of USA TODAY Sports