With the decisions of OG Anunoby, Thomas Bryant, and James Blackmon Jr. to remain in this year’s NBA Draft, newly hired head coach Archie Miller is going to have to rely heavily on his younger players to put the Indiana basketball program back on the map.
The first commit in the class of 2017 was 6-foot-4 Aljami Durham. A Lilburn, Georgia native, Durham attended Berkmar High School and is a 4-star recruit according to ESPN and 3-star per 247 Sports.
After former Indiana head coach Tom Crean had been fired in March, Durham chose to reopen his recruitment and was granted a release from Indiana. Current Hoosiers head coach Archie Miller then sat down with Durham a few weeks or so after he announced his decision of leaving, and ultimately Miller convinced Durham to resign with Indiana.
Here is what Indiana is getting in the southpaw Durham.
Name/Position: Aljami Durham, SG
High School: Berkmar High School (Lilburn, GA)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 180 lbs
With his skills and length, Durham is considered both a point guard and shooting guard. On the offensive end, Durham is at his best when he is attacking the rim, playing north-south instead of east-west. Too often, guards tend to dribble around the perimeter which leads to few positive results if any on the offensive end. Durham understands to get more scoring opportunities for not only him but his teammates; he needs to drive in the lane and either finish at the rim or kick out to an open teammate for a jumper.
Although it's not anything special, Durham has shown flashes of being able to knock down the three-ball. Even when it's not going in, Durham still demonstrates the confidence to keep firing which means he's not afraid to trust his instinct and shoot the ball when he's open.
Lastly, Durham is considered by many to be a sneaky athletic player which helps him in a multitude of ways, especially on defense. Playing for Archie Miller, a lot is going to be demanded on the Indiana guards to play great on and off ball defense like his backcourts at Dayton did. At this point, Durham won't necessarily be depended on to be a high-profile scorer on offense, but, with his versatility, tenacity, and length, he could become a steady force on defense.
Even though there's potential with the perimeter game, it is Durham's biggest question mark. At this level, a player can't be one-dimensional and expect to become a steady contributor. He has great form on his jumper and has shown he can knock it down from deep, but it wouldn't hurt to establish further consistency in that area to become a more reliable piece offensively.
HOW HE FITS
Not going to lie, when Durham committed to Indiana, I had my doubts. But, after watching him play live a few times and reading multiple scouting reports on him, I think he fits in very well at Indiana. With seniors Josh Newkirk, Rob Johnson, and sophomores Curtis Jones and Devonte Green, there's an unlikely chance Durham sees a whole lot of minutes next year with this amount of veteran depth at the guard position. But, that doesn't take away from the fact that Durham can become a solid player in the next couple years. Guards who have the ability to run an offense and find open looks for themselves and teammates in addition to having the knack to get down and grind on the defensive end are a gift for any college program. Durham's offensive game is still developing, but the way he gets after it on the defensive end will open up opportunities for him to get a lot of minutes in a Hoosier uniform.