Junior guard Darius Garland had a tough task on Wednesday, matching up with Chattanooga (Tenn.) Hamilton Heights, which is led by Kentucky signee Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Virginia Tech signee Nickeil Walker-Alexander.
But Garland, of Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy, scored 26 points on 8-for-17 shooting and impressed in the process.
Garland was tough for Hamilton Heights to contain off the bounce, as he changed speeds well, used his crafty handle to keep defenders off balance and was aggressive when he had opportunities to drive the ball.
Known for his ability to shoot, Garland was just 2-for-8 from three, but that didn’t stop him from being arguably the best player on the floor in a game that consisted of at least a half dozen Division-I prospects.
The 6-foot-2 wiry guard has always lacked strength, but he looked notably stronger and it appears to have made him a more confident driver. All in all it was an impressive outing for the five-star recruit.
Q&A with Darius Garland
How’s the season going?
It’s going good. This was a tough loss of course. We’re playing really well, playing well as a team.
You seemed more aggressive attacking tonight, was that your mentality to keep defenders off balance and get to the basket?
Yeah, coaches told me to be aggressive today, get my teammates open, and be a leader.
When you’re at your best what’re you doing?
Just playing a good team game, being a good teammate, get the hot players the ball, being aggressive, and playing my basketball.
It seems like you picked up some weight?
Yeah a little bit. I’ve been in the weight room a little bit.
How’s the recruiting process going?
Really good. There’s a lot of people coming at me right now. Really trying to process that and make my decision soon.
Do you want to do that in the near future?
What does “soon” to you mean?
I don’t know yet.
Your most recent visit was to Duke, how was it?
It was fun. Coach K just told me that I could run the show for his team and they will have a lot of good players around me and that’s going to help a lot.
Did you expect them to offer?
Not really. I was excited. Getting an offer from Coach K is an honor.