BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Devonte Green is a senior who has played more games an anyone on Indiana’s roster, so it was no surprise when he was voted a captain by his teammates on Monday.
Junior guard Al Durham was chosen as the other captain, and that says a lot about him. His teammates respect him that much.
They know the kind of leader he can be. So does Greg Phillips, his coach back at Berkmar (Ga.) High School. He’s sure Indiana is in good hands with Durham as its captain.
“He was a tremendous leader for us,’’ Phillips said. “He was a captain for two years, and even his sophomore year, he wasn’t officially a captain, but he certainly led by example. Sometimes people think he’s a quiet guy, but he’s really not. He never gets too high or too low emotionally, and when he says something, people listen.’’
Durham, a 6-foot-4, 185-pound junior from Lilburn, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, started 30 of 34 games last year for the Hoosiers. He also started nine games as a freshman and will be counted out heavily this year as an off-guard and occasional point guard. Durham just turned 21 on Monday.
Being voted a captain at Indiana is a special honor.
“That says a lot about him. He’s the consumate teammate,’’ Phillips said. “If you talk to the players here, and even the teachers here, they would all have positive things to say about him. He’s a great young man.’’
Phillips loved having Durham on his teams in Georgia. He was a player that everyone looked up to.
“He was always finishing every drill first, and that’s one of the things that made him a great leader. Guys see that, and they followed. It’s hard to lead from the back,’’ Phillips said. “To him, it was all about serving his teammates. He never took a play off his entire time here, and he was always helping his teammates whenever he could. That’s still how he is.’’
Phillips and Durham still have a close relationship and they talk and text often. He loves the young man Durham has turned into.
“We still keep in touch all the time, but in this day and age, that’s mostly texting and social media,'' said Phillips. “But I see him a lot when he comes home. He’s in our gym all the time. He’s always there.
“Here’s a good story about the kind of kid he is. One day this summer, I go into our gym and he’s in there working out his twin sisters (Amia and Amaya). What college kid does that? He does. He had no problem taking an hour and a half or two hours out of his day for his twin sisters. That really speaks to the kind of person he is.’’
Durham committed to Tom Crean and Indiana when he was a junior at Berkmar, but after Crean was fired and Archie Miller was hired three years ago, Durham could have gone elsewhere. Phillips said that wasn’t happening.
“His senior year he played up there and he absolutely loved it,’’ he said. “He loved Coach Crean and all, but his decision was based on the school and the Indiana family and the community. He loved Indiana, and that felt like home for him. It still does.
“I always felt that he would stay. He loved that school and that community, but it also speaks to his loyalty. That’s the kind of kid he is.’’
The kid, Captain Al Durham.