Jeff Rabjohns,

Derby Classic practice observations

LOUISVILLE — watched future Indiana players Al Durham and Justin Smith in Thursday's Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic practices. Here are our observations.

LOUISVILLE — Indiana signees Al Durham and Justin Smith both participated in Thursday night’s practices for the 2017 Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic. was there to watch.

Here are our observations on those two as well as some other players of note.

Both teams started with some timed drills. One of them was a 3-point drill. Each player started near the baseline, took one dribble, passed the ball ahead to the opposite baseline, ran to the arc and shot a 3 off the catch. The goal was for the entire group to make 100 3s in three minutes.

The first time through, Durham was 4-for-5 and Smith was 3-for-5.

The second time, Durham was 4-for-6 and Smith was 3-for-5.

Here are their shots in order in those drills, with a “0” as a miss and “1” as a make.

First drill:

Al Durham — 01111

Justin Smith — 01101

Second drill:

Al Durham — 011101

Justin Smith - 01101

After the drills, the two 10-player teams went to separate gyms to work on some plays and scrimmage.

(SEE ALSO: Video interview with future Indiana players Justin Smith and Al Durham.)

In the short scrimmage with the “Lightning Team,” the 6-foot-4 Durham and 6-foot-7 Smith were in a five-player group with 6-foot-11 Jacob Epperson (Creighton), 6-foot-6 D.J. Harvey (Notre Dame) and 6-foot-5 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Kentucky).

They played against 6-foot-7 Naji Marshall (Xavier), 6-foot-4 Ty-Shon Alexander (Creighton), 6-foot-4 Paul Scruggs (Xavier), 6-foot-7 Abu Kigab (Oregon) and 6-foot-5 Mark Smith (undecided).

Scrimmage observations:

Smith showed his speed, getting behind defenders following defensive rebounds for easy scores. He also had a nice back cut for an alley-oop.

Smith’s ability to finish above the rim was obvious.

Smith missed a corner 3-pointer off the catch. He later had a nice steal in the frontcourt that he turned into a score on the break against Kigab.

Durham had two strong takes on drives into the lane, one time scoring against Kigab, who is a pretty strong combo forward with length and elevation.

Durham missed his one attempted 3-pointer.

Defensively, Durham had no problem staying with Scruggs on the possessions those two were matched up.

Scruggs, a one-time IU target, showed clearly improved 3-point shooting.

Gilgeous-Alexander was the most impressive of the group, showing terrific speed, body control and scoring for a 6-foot-5 point guard.

Harvey, who IU will face this coming season in the Crossroads Classic, showed a very nice shooting stroke and was a tough cover as a 6-foot-6 player who can hit 3s.

The Smith-Durham group won the scrimmage by two points, with Harvey hitting the winner on a jumper in the lane. Top Stories