2018 point guard Darius Garland has already built quite the reputation on the national scene and is regarded as the No. 9 overall prospect in the 2018 class.
But on Friday, Garland was pursuing something much more important than a ranking -- a state title.
Up against Chattanooga (Tenn.) McCallie, Garland helped control the game and led Nashville (Tenn.) Brentwood Academy to a semi-final win and a spot in the Tennessee AA state championship game, which is set for Saturday.
While Garland didn't have a major scoring outburst (finished with 12 points), but his feel for the game, poise on the court and his defensive intensity stood out in the win.
Garland has good size for the position and showed a good burst of speed and quickness. He displayed a strong handle, made quality passes with either hand and made the opposition work with his on the ball defense. Garland also impressed when he was put in pick and role situations, as he consistently made the correct read.
"It’s starting to become a strength," Garland said pick and rolls. "I’m working on it a lot more. Coach is trying to get me more involved in the offense that way. I’m trying to get used to come off ball screens and making more decisions off of it."
At this stage, Garland claims scholarship offers from Arizona State, Baylor, Louisville, Memphis, Tennessee, Wake Forest, UCLA, Vanderbilt and Virginia. Texas, Ohio State and Connecticut have also shown interest.
"It’s starting to become a challenge, but I’m strating to get used to it and I’m liking it even more," Garland said about the recruiting process.
While it's still early, Garland said there are a handful of schools he's started to develop strong relationships with.
"Of course Louisville, Vanderbilt, Ohio State, Indiana, Tennessee and Texas," he responded when asked about who he had built strong bonds with.
Garland is currently regarded as the No. 2 point guard in the 2018 class.