If you watch Erik Durham play, you’ll think the name of the game is to see who can foul him the most.
And on this Saturday at McDonald Arena the 6-foot-3 combo guard has it going.
Games of two-on-two, 21, and King of the Court might as well be “How to get Buckets” tutorial videos hosted by Durham.
Step back threes, mid-range floaters, alley-oops, and some moves that haven’t been named yet are all on the docket as Durham carves up anyone in front of him.
And to think a year ago he wasn’t on most people’s radar.
“I really just wanted to get my name out there and go somewhere,” said Durham. “I grew up playing with Austin (Ruder) and Jalen (Norman), but I just really wanted to have people notice me this year and show that I can play with them, if not better.”
Oh how the summer of 2012 changed things…
“I had never really played AAU until last summer,” said Durham. “I maintained playing basketball all year and it really got me ready for the season.”
Durham was more than ready for the 2012-13 season.
Parkview’s all-time winningest player threw a five month coming out party and invited the Ozarks to watch, averaging 25.3 points a night on 56% shooting from the field and 45% from three.
His senior year was highlighted by an 83-62 win over West Plains in which he scored a school-record 44 points on 17-for-22 shooting from the field.
“I didn’t know really know how close I was,” said Durham. “I just kept playing and shots kept falling and Coach Brown pulled me over to the side and told me how much I had and what the record was. I knew I had to get it because I was too close to not to.”
An older gentleman donning Missouri State gear finishes his leisurely jog around the wooden-seat gym and makes his way to the all-state guard.
“Port Arthur, eh,” says the man. “Boy, it gets hot down there.”
Durham gives him a polite smile and makes small talk before returning to his game.
For months, it was unknown where Durham would end up playing his college ball.
He received letters and offers from NAIA schools up to D-1 programs, before ultimately choosing Lamar State College, a JUCO in Port Arthur, Texas that sent three of its players to Division One programs this year.
“They showed the most interest,” said Durham. “They really wanted me to go there and made me like going down there to visit. It was the best visit I had. They had my name on everything when I went for the visit. I liked the staff and I think they are going to help me out with my future, help me progress. I want to play for a mid to high major D-1. I didn’t want to settle for a low major and end up being there for four years and not being happy with it.”
To get there Durham knows there’s one deficiency that he will need to correct.
“I need to get stronger and gain some weight,” said Durham. “Being able to physically adjust to the college level is going to be tough.”
After using the last four years to steal the local basketball scene, Durham will attempt to do the same on national level in Texas.
As he adjusts to a new school and the combo guard role he is likely to play in college, he again finds himself in the position of having to prove himself.
We can expect more headlines from Durham, and he can expect a lot more fouls.
Favorite athlete: Kobe Bryant Favorite team: Lakers Pregame superstition: Eat candy. Most disliked athlete: LeBron James Favorite movie: Friday Favorite musical artist: Drake Favorite actor: Will Smith Favorite athletic memory: Breaking the Parkview single-game scoring record. Song on your iPod people wouldn't expect: Traditional gospel. Hidden talent: Playing defense.
Mizzou fell to Auburn 59-42 on Saturday in the SEC Title Game. Here are five things I am taking away from the game.
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