Durham's Dreaming Of Dancing
Like most basketball players not playing in the event, Seminole, Okla., State star and Arkansas point guard commitment Jabril Durham spent time Thursday watching the NCAA Tournament.
Durham (6-1, 180), who averaged 21.2 points, 6.7 assists and 5.5 rebounds this season, plans to be playing in the Big Dance next season.
"That's certainly my goal," Durham said. "I think we are going to have the team to be there and I am going to do everything I can to help us get there. I plan to be a leader on and off the court."
It would be quite a step for the young man from Desoto, Texas, who has fought uphill during his basketball career.
"Playing in the NCAA Tournament would be a humbling experience and a testament to my hard work – especially since I did not even get to play varsity when I was first in high school," Durham said.
"I ended up having only one Division I offer after high school and that was from Stephen F. Austin," Durham added. "But the head coach decided to go with a juco guy in the end so I had to take another path."
Ironically, Stephen F. Austin (31-2) is playing in the NCAA Tournament and is a 12th seed facing fourth-seeded UCLA (26-8) Friday night.
Durham then landed at NAIA Lubbock Christian and flourished as a freshman while averaging 11.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5 assists per game.
"I played really well, but it was always in the back of my mind that I could play at a higher level and I was watching friends of mine and guys I had played against playing Division I," Durham said. "So I decided to take a chance and go the juco route and use that one year to try and make a name for myself."
Durham did just that for Seminole State as he was 10th nationally in the junior college ranks in assists, 10th in number of trips to the free throw line and 16th in the country in both scoring and steals.
He hit just over 50 percent from the field (204 of 47), 44 percent from 3-point range (41-of-93) and 74.2 percent from the free throw line (187-of-252), had 202 assists and 75 steals.
That led to offers from Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Marquette, Auburn, Texas A&M and others.
"Arkansas just seemed like the best fit for me out of all of those teams," noted Durham, who committed despite not actually having stepped foot on campus yet.
"I know they are losing four guards and really don't have what you would call a true older point guard so it is just a perfect situation for me," Durham added. "I love the style that Arkansas plays and I really love the coaches."
Durham, who expects to take his official visit after Arkansas' spring break is over, believes he will bring several strengths to the Razorbacks.
"The one thing I have always been able to do is play defense and so that fits right in with Arkansas' 40 Minutes of Hell" right away," Durham said. "I am also a scorer and distributor and pride myself on getting the ball to people in the best places for them to score.
"I also feel like I bring leadership to the floor, a great basketball IQ, make the players around me better and I feel like I have great character," Durham said. "I just want to win and be a positive force to those around me while doing it."
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