Al Durham Jr., one of two class of 2017 IU men’s basketball signees who requested a release from his national letter of intent following the firing of former IU Coach Tom Crean, is staying with the Hoosiers.
The 6-foot-4, 175 pound guard tweeted Thursday night, “I’m staying home #IUBB” after meeting with new IU coach Archie Miller for the first time.
Durham Jr. is a 3-star recruit out of Liburn, Georgia, and is ranked the No. 49 guard in the class of 2017. He requested his release less than three weeks ago and Durham Jr.’s father, Al Durham Sr., said it was a difficult time for his son.
“Of course it was devastating that Crean was fired,” Durham Sr. said. “So he’s upset of course, and it was almost like starting back over. Al was just frustrated in not knowing because at the time we asked for the release, Archie wasn’t hired yet so we had no idea who was going to be the coach or what was going on.”
Durham Sr. told the IDS following his son’s request of release from his NLI that Crean and the coaching staff was 99 percent of the reason why his son chose IU. Durham Jr. originally committed in October of 2015, but after meeting with Miller in his Georgia home Thursday, he decided IU was still the right place for him.
“Coach Miller is a great person,” Durham Jr. said via Twitter direct message. “He's very intelligent and we just connected well for our first face to face meeting. I feel good about staying at Indiana it just feels right for me.”
Durham Sr. said Miller watched his son play over the summer in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball league circuit and loved his game.
Durham Jr.'s father is also his AAU basketball coach for Southern Stampede and had met Miller before in his years of running the Stampede. However, Thursday night was the first time the family sat down face to face with the new coach.
“We wanted to see what his game plan is going to be at Indiana,” Durham Sr. said. “He fits it perfectly for the guard position. Al can play the one, two and the three so the skill set that he has really fits in what coach wants to do. Once Archie came in, I know a lot of people who know Archie and I’ve seen his style of play, so it was O.K.”
The father and son also did some previous research on Miller and what he did with his guards at Dayton.
After meeting with Miller, Durham Jr. liked the plan and bought in to remain with IU. Durham Jr. said it was a big relief being able to stay with his previous No. 1 choice instead of looking elsewhere.
“I don't have to go through all the technical stuff and all the time that I would take off on visits and all of that,” Durham Jr. said. “But I actually get to stay and work on my game and get ready for Indiana, my number one choice.”
Durham Jr. was recently named all-state by the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association and will participate in the Derby Festival Basketball Classic next weekend in Louisville.
Durham Sr. thought the decision was weighing on his son because he loved IU following his visits, but now the decision is made and Durham Jr. is set to arrive on campus in June.
“Once again it’s still Indiana basketball,” Durham Sr. said. “The tradition, the history and to be apart of that in the Big Ten, I don’t think he ever wanted to leave, but you have to do what’s best for you. But I think Archie coming in took a big weight off his shoulders.”
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