Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Basketball

Durham Gaining Confidence By The Day

December 7, 2018

It hasn’t been an easy road for Notre Dame forward Juwan Durham, but things are starting to click for the 6-foot-11 junior. 

Head coach Mike Brey had Durham on the end of his bench until three games ago against DePaul. The transfer from UConn has averaged 10.6 points and 3.6 rebounds over the last three games and Brey is starting to see it click for Durham. 

“You feel like a light bulb is going on,” stated Brey. “There he is in the Garden getting comfortable. We have something developing there. Nobody deserves it more because the poor guy didn’t have the best of luck physically, but we got him out here and stronger. His frame of mind is good and playing well right now.” 

Durham would agree with Brey’s statement and has a new sense of confidence each time he walks on the floor. 

“It’s pretty high,” Durham said of his confidence. “It’s going to get higher if I continue to stay consistent in my workouts, getting in the gym with Coach (Ryan) Humphrey and in the weight room.”

Humphrey has conducted morning workouts before class with Durham over the past month, and it’s helped his big man stay locked in. 

“He’s done a lot with helping me mentally and with my confidence,” explained Durham. “He’s telling me if I do things now, the sky is the limit for me. He wants me to work as hard as I can and to be consistent.

“Coming to practice and preparing for the games is the highlight of my day.” 

Was Durham broken when he arrived at Notre Dame after his freshman year at UConn? If he wasn’t, he was close, but the culture around the Irish program has allowed Durham to grow mentally on and off the court.

“It really was tough to have confidence,” recalled Durham. “I felt I went five steps forward and then took 10 steps back. I tried to stay focus on the task at hand and what comes next instead of dwelling on the past.” 

While it’s just three games, Durham knows he has to continue to put in the work to benefit on game day, and he has an area of his game he wants to improve in the coming weeks. 

“Free throws,” stated Durham. “I missed way too many free throws. I also feel I can get stronger in my lower body and become more explosive the way I used to be before the ACLs.” 

Notre Dame will need Durham on Saturday night as they travel to UCLA and the Irish big man started his preparation earlier this week. 

“I was watching some highlights to see what they do offensively and defensively to see if I could get to my spots on the country,” said Durham. “I was trying to focus on their personnel to see how we would match up with them.” 

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