Durley becomes Marquette’s fourth ’12 recruit

By Mark Strotman

The more Aaron Durley continued to grow during his teen years, the more he realized there weren’t many 6-foot -11-inch professional baseball players.

It was then that Marquette’s newest recruit of the 2012 class began to focus primarily on basketball, dropping his first love on the diamond for the hardwood.

“I was getting so tall that it was getting to hard to play with such a big strike zone,” Durley said. “I figured I’d be better off using my size to dunk on people.”

Durley, ranked as the 64th best prospect in Texas according to TexasHoops.com, committed to Marquette on Oct. 26, giving the team its fourth recruit of the 2012 class. The 275-pound Durley gives Marquette another versatile recruit who can shoot from the outside, guard multiple positions and play inside for the Golden Eagles.

Giving up his baseball dream was difficult as Durley had excelled as a youth, playing first base and pitching for Saudi Arabia’s national team in the 2005 and 2006 Little League World Series. Durley’s father worked for Saudi Aramco, an oil company, and was a coach on the national teams.

Durley grew to 6-feet-8 by the time he was 13 years old, becoming the tallest player in Little League history. But he eventually gave up baseball and, in 2006, moved to Houston to live with his grandparents and pursue basketball.

Aaron Durley will provide Marquette with another versatile big. (Photo: Rivals.com)

Durley began picking up scholarship offers after his sophomore season in 2010 at St. Thomas High School, when he was named to the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools second team All-State roster.

That next summer, Durley went up for a block in a summer game and partially ruptured his Achilles’ tendon. The early prognosis was that he would miss his entire junior season. He feared for his basketball future.

But after four and a half months of strenuous rehabilitation and a transfer to George W. Bush High School, Durley was back on the court and saw limited minutes on the junior varsity team.

There was a handful of teams pursuing Durley who lost interest when he suffered the injury, but Marquette was not one of  them.

Instead, the Golden Eagles continued to pursue Durley, and eventually he took his official visit on campus the weekend of Sept. 30. Durley said he enjoyed his visit and gained an understanding of what would be expected of him if Marquette was his choice.

“I thought it was exciting, but it was cold,” Durley said with a laugh. “Just talking to everybody, they were so nice to me, and I know that’s how it’s supposed to be on visits, but it wasn’t fake. And coach (Buzz) Williams, coach (Tony) Benford and coach (Scott) Monarch, they told me this is how it’s always going to be.”

Durley chose Marquette over South Florida, South Alabama, Tennessee-Chattanooga and Tulane, with Kansas State and Oklahoma showing interest, as well.

Before Durley takes the court for the Golden Eagles, he will have plenty of time to work against Division I talent. He’ll practice daily with teammate and center Cameron Ridley, who has committed to Texas, and is the No. 6 players in the 2012 class according to Scout.com.

“I definitely look at it as a chance to get better,” Durley said. “I like being around him. And I make him better, and he makes me better.”

Fort Bend coach Reggie Courtney, who also coached current Marquette center Chris Otule, said Durley is further along in his progression than Otule was entering his senior year.

“Aaron is a better jump shooter at this point in his career and he’s a lot stronger than Chris was,” Courtney said. “He has tremendous work habits as well.”

Durley’s role his freshman season is still undefined, as Otule will head the front court as a senior and junior forward Davante Gardner will be in the mix as well. Whatever his contributions need to be, Durley said he is on board.

“I wasn’t really worried about that,” Durley said of immediate playing time. “I’m looking at it as any way I can help my team out, I’m there.”

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One Comment on “Durley becomes Marquette’s fourth ’12 recruit”

  1. November 4, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    Nice story.

    I’m excited that Durley is coming to MU. Especially in a situation where he can spend a year getting into D1 shape, learning the system and acclimating to the speed of the college game.

    When considering Durley’s body and the youtube clips of him playing, I do have to question whether “The 275-pound Durley gives Marquette another versatile recruit who can shoot from the outside, guard multiple positions and play inside for the Golden Eagles?”

    He doesn’t seem like a guy who we’ll have guarding multiple positions. At his size – even if his weight came down to 250 or so – it seems likely he’d be playing the 5. Hard to imagine him guarding a Big East 4 man.

    Keep up the good work. Appreciate the coverage from campus.

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