The 2018-19 Indiana University men’s basketball season is right around the corner. To help get you ready, The Daily Hoosier is profiling every player on the 2018-19 IU roster. You can see all of our 2018-19 player profiles in one place here. If you are looking for the 2018-19 IU basketball schedule, you can find that here.
Aljami (“Al”) Durham, Jr. was an early season surprise last year when he became a starter within just a few games as a freshman. Overall he made nine starts in 31 games, averaging 4.8 points per game to go with 39 assists.
He made it to the starting lineup with a combination of energy, an ability to get to the rim, and ball security.
IU head coach Archie Miller places a heavy emphasis on taking care of the ball, and Durham became one of his most reliable guards in the early part of the season. He had an amazing four game stretch in November where he had no turnovers despite playing at least 28 minutes in every game, and he added 13 assists during that span.
Durham only had one multiple turnover game in his first 13 contests as a Hoosier. As the season wore on, his ball security became a bit more erratic, but the Georgia native was mostly reliable in that regard.
What cost Durham minutes was his perimter shot, as defenses start to sag off of him at times, daring him to shoot. He shot just 28.6 percent on the year from long range, although he did hit four of his last seven from distance, perhaps signaling progress in that area.
Durham’s highest point output of the year was a 16 point, three rebound and three assist game against Howard. He followed that up with his first career start at Seton Hall where he scored another 10 points.
Durham put together a good close to the season as well. He established a new Big Ten-high with 14 points and made both 3-point field goal attempts against Illinois. Providing last year’s Hoosiers something they desperately needed, Durham made all 10 of his free throw attempts against Rutgers in the Big Ten Tournament.
- Height: 6-foot-4
- Weight: 181
- Position: Guard
- Class: Sophomore
- Hometown: Lilburn, Georgia
- High School: Berkmar
- Minutes per game: 18.8
- Points per game: 4.8
- Assists per game: 1.3
- Rebounds per game: 1.9
- Turnovers per game: .8
- FG%: 40.9%
- 3FG%: 28.6%
- FT%: 71.4%
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
IU head coach Archie Miller on Durham —
“If we had to start a game today, if we had to play a game right now, you know, who’s ready? Who’s engaged? I really like Al,” Miller said. “I really think Al is doing a great job, he’s talking he’s communicating.”
WHAT 2018-19 SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE
We’ve been through this before, right? The days of doubting Al Durham, Jr. because of recruiting rankings should be long behind us. It took us all of two games last year to write a story about Durham being underrated.
Maybe you still think he doesn’t have the flashy game or natural scoring talents of some of the other guards. That may be true. But go back up and re-read that quote from Miller. And then go further up and take another look at that main photo.
Durham is going to play a significant role on this team. Miller has high volume scorers in Morgan and Langford. He is looking for a floor general and a leader, a spark plug and a crowd energizer. Durham is going to be all of those things. Despite the higher talent level on this team, it would be foolish to think that Durham won’t have a meaningful role.
If his perimeter shot has improved, and we’ve heard that it has, well then, look out. When senior captain Juwan Morgan was asked who on the team has improved the most from last year, he offered this:
“Al is a lot more confident in his game, and he’s added so many aspects to his game.”
Trying to draw conclusions out of the Hoosier Hysteria scrimmage is a mistake, but if there was one player during that segment that truly stood out to us, it would be Durham. From bringing energy, to facilitating the fast break, to knocking down shots — the confidence and enhancements to his game were readily apparent.
We’ve seen and heard enough to this point that we won’t be at all surprised to find out that Durham is a day one starter. Even if that isn’t the case, we expect big minutes for the sophomore guard. You are going to know when Durham is in the floor. Much like another high energy kid from Georgia named A.J. Moye, look for a new fan favorite in Bloomington.
Previous Player Previews:
- Damezi Anderson
- Jake Forrester
- Jerome Hunter
- Romeo Langford
- Rob Phinisee
- Race Thompson
- Vijay Blackmon
You can follow us on Twitter: @daily_hoosier