Credit - IU Athletics

Indiana basketball 2020-21 player previews: Al Durham, Jr.

The 2020-21 Indiana University men’s basketball season is right around the corner.  To help get you ready, The Daily Hoosier is profiling every scholarship player on the IU roster.  Indiana’s season is expected to begin on Nov. 25.


When it comes to Al Durham, the trend has always been his friend since he arrived at IU in 2017.

Ranked as a 3-star recruit outside of the top-200, Durham was doubted out of high school.  He surprised on the upside early as a freshman and has been improving ever since, starting in 71 games over his first three seasons.

What can Durham do to continue to make positive strides in what might be his final year in Bloomington?  Let’s take a look.

ESSENTIALS

durham

  • Height:  6-foot-4
  • Weight:  185
  • Position:  Guard
  • Class:  Senior
  • Hometown:  Lilburn, Georgia
  • High School:  Berkmar

2019-20 STATISTICS

  • Minutes per game:  26.4
  • Points per game:  9.8
  • Rebounds per game:  2.1
  • Assists per game:  2.5
  • Blocks per game:  .3
  • Steals per game:  .6
  • FG%:  44.1%
  • 3FG%:  38.3%
  • FT%:  81.1%

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

Head coach Archie Miller on Durham after a win over Michigan State —

“But for Al, you know, he comes every day. He goes to work. Never says a peep. And to see a guy get rewarded with a couple go down like he had is always rewarding.  He was up to task and I thought he played a really nice game.”

Durham this summer on playing more off the ball —

“It’s never been a problem with me being able to play in different positions but I do feel like it’ll help,” Durham said.  “I can still play two positions but they’ve given me clear directions that I can have the freedom to be able to make plays. It’ll help a lot but at the same time I’m always ready to do whatever the teams needs me to do.”

Durham on his role with the freshmen —

“I’ve been trying to teach them the ropes, teach them how to workout and teach them the bits and pieces of our offense and defense and get them a head start on how we do things and how to prepare and be ready for the workouts,” he said.  “I just tried to talk them through it and keep them away from that freshman wall as much as I can. Try to give them the pieces and tools as much as I can to help them through the freshman season – the start of it.”

VIDEO

WHAT 2020-21 SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE

We see Durham’s highest and best use playing off the ball as a catch-and-shoot three-point specialist that can also attack off the bounce.

With Rob Phinisee and Khristian Lander filling the primary ball handler duties, this is exactly how we expect Durham to be positioned in 2020-21.

We mentioned Durham’s favorable trends, and here are his shooting numbers for his first three years:

  • 2017-18: 40.9 FG% / 28.6 3FG%
  • 2018-19: 40.3 FG% / 34.8 3FG%
  • 2019-20: 44.1 FG% / 38.3 3FG%

Does he have one more jump to get above 45 percent overall and 40 percent from three-point range?  That clearly seems well within the realm of possibility.

Durham is also an important part of Indiana’s push to play more up-tempo.  He plays unafraid attacking the basket, draws fouls, and converts at a high rate at the stripe.

While a crowded backcourt might mean Durham doesn’t see more minutes this year, we think he can have his best season playing in a system that optimizes his skill set.

Durham has always been a player that has taken care of the basketball relatively speaking, but his turnover rate did go up to 21 percent last year, primarily due to him playing out of position as a primary ball handler.  His turnover rate should drop back down to the 15 to 18 percent range as a senior.

A stat line along the lines of 26 mpg, 10.5 ppg, 2.5 apg, 2.5 rpg, .8 spg, 1.5 tpg, 45 fg%, 40 3fg% would not be a surprise.

Durham should also see better matchups on defense.  He is not a natural guarding the ball, and in three guard sets he can be positioned on the option least likely to drive.

Durham is fundamentally sound on all of the defensive principles.  But we’d like to see more aggression, more of an edge, more physicality, and better rebounding on the defensive end from Durham to really round out yet another positive step forward in his IU career.

MORE 2020-21 PREVIEWS


You can follow us on Twitter:  @daily_hoosier

Find us on Facebook:  thedailyhoosier

The Daily Hoosier –“Where Indiana fans assemble when they’re not at Assembly”

Seven ways to support completely free IU coverage at no additional cost to you.