Five Things to Know: DARIUS GARLAND
After winning four-straight Tennessee state titles with Brentwood Academy, USA guard Darius Garland will try to bring his winning ways with him to Portland, Oregon, for 21st annual Nike Hoop Summit on April 13 at the Moda Center.
Before the USA tips off against the World Team in the nation’s premier annual high school basketball game, hear from Garland on what he hopes to accomplish.
He May Be One of the Most Experienced Players on the Team, But …
Garland has participated in five USA Basketball training camps, which is the second most on the 2018 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team, behind only Cam Reddish, who has six USA training camp appearances. Garland says USA Basketball camps have made him a tougher basketball player.
“You just have to come in ready to compete,” Garland said of what he has learned from USA Basketball. “It is always going to be really good players there, and every time you go the coaches are going to be on you really hard to communicate and play defense and play hard all of the time.”
Despite all of his familiarity with USA Basketball, which dates back to the 2014 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team October Minicamp, Garland will suit up as a member of an official USA Basketball 12-man roster for the first time at the Nike Hoop Summit.
“It meant a lot,” Garland said of being named to the team. “It is probably one of the biggest things among all of the high school events, and I’m really blessed to be a part of it. Being named as one of the 12 players, it is really big for me and my family and I’m truly blessed and honored.”
And, it will help that he is familiar with the game, which has produced an incredible 203 NBA Draft picks between U.S. and World Team alumni.
“I’ve watched it every year,” Garland said of the Nike Hoop Summit. “It is really competitive. The World Team, they are always going to want to beat us, the USA team. So, we just have to come in and compete and play to our fullest.”
Proven Prep Star
Garland helped his Brentwood Academy team to four-consecutive Tennessee Division II-AA titles during his high school career, and as a senior he averaged 27.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 59.7 percent from the field to help his team to a 25-5 record.
“It was a great season,” Garland summarized. “It was all I ever wished for. We went to some big tournaments, and played really well in those. And then we won our fourth straight state championship. That meant a lot to me, and the coaching staff and my teammates. It was really fun playing with my teammates. They were really great.”
They are so appreciative of Garland’s talents at Brentwood that they even named March 9 Darius Garland Day this year after he was named a 2018 McDonald’s All-American.
“It was really awesome,” Garland said. “Being a McDonald’s All-American, they named March 9 ‘Darius Garland Day,’ so that’s really cool. The support around us in Nashville and Brentwood is really great. And, ever since (their fans) knew Vanderbilt was into me and recruiting me, they have been at every home game, every state championship game. They always support, and they always have my back.”
@CityofBrentwood @BurginJill reading proclamation declaring Friday, March 9, 2018 as “Darius Garland Day.” Congratulations to this @brentwoodahb standout and @vucommodores commit on being chosen for @McDonalds All American Team. #excellence #elite #Basketball pic.twitter.com/wWyVn5Jn1c
— Williamson Herald (@wherald) March 9, 2018
Close to Home
Garland will be taking his talents to Vanderbilt University as an NCAA student-athlete in 2018-19, and he didn’t hesitate when asked what made Vanderbilt the right fit for him
“It’s home,” he explained. “The coaching staff is really great. I’ve known coach Drew since I was 4 or 5 years old, when he was at Valparaiso, and we had a connection. He called me as soon as he got the job, and he said he was going to start recruiting me. Ever since that day, I have thought that I was going to go there, and I did.”
A Family Affair
Darius’ father, Winston Garland, played college basketball at Southeastern Community College and Missouri State University before being selected as the 40th pick of the 1987 NBA Draft. He played eight professional seasons, including seven seasons in the NBA with five different teams and one season with Benetton Treviso in Italy.
“It impacted me a lot,” the younger Garland said of his father’s basketball knowledge. “He put the ball in my hands as soon as I came out of my mom.
“Our relationship is really good. He is always coaching me when I’m in games, just telling me some little things I need to work on when we are watching films together. But, he is always supportive. He is always there for me, and I love him for that.”
And if they play one-on-one?
“I will win. No matter what.”
Running the Show
It was not lost on Garland that as a point guard, he will be surrounded by some of the best players in the country on the USA Nike Hoop Summit Team, and that has him excited for the possibilities.
“When I saw the roster, I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to have to get these guys the ball,’” said Garland. “We have a lot of great scorers, a lot of great players on our team. So, as the point guard, that’s my role to get them the ball and run the show.”
Perhaps one of the reasons he was selected to the team is because court vision is one of his biggest strengths.
“I like to get my teammates involved,” explained Garland. “That is the main thing I like to do.”
Check him out in highlights MaxPreps posted to YouTube on March 8, 2018:
The 2018 Nike Hoop Summit will be played at 7 p.m. PDT on Friday, April 13, at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. Tickets are available at bit.ly/nikehoopsummit2018.