CHURUBUSCO — Playing basketball is fun. But the older a basketball player gets, the more likely it is that fun can be taken out of the game.
Sometimes, there is a perfect fit between player, coach and system and basketball remains fun for players all through their college years. That is the plan for Churubusco senior Dalston Duff as he has agreed to play basketball next year at Aurora University.
Duff knew Aurora was the right fit for him as soon as he met the Spartan’s head coach Lance Robinson on the school’s campus in Aurora, Ill.
“He wants me to be the shooter,” said Duff of the role Robinson wants him to play. “He said he will only be upset if I don’t shoot the ball.”
Aurora plays a fast-paced style of play and pushes the ball up and down the court. Last season the team was 20-9 and averaged 83 points per game. The team won the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference tournament last season and fell in the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament.
Since the high school season ended, Duff has been preparing for his new role with the Spartans. He has been working out in the gym five days a week focusing on his ball handling skills and pumping up shots. Duff said he started out shooting 500 shots every night in the gym but has raised that number to 1,000 shots every time.
“There’s been a big improvement,” said Duff of his game since February. “I have a lot more consistency now.”
Duff said he has always had a passion for basketball even though he played other sports. After his sophomore season when he started getting some interest from college coaches, he started to realize playing in college could become a reality. When Duff’s sister graduated from Churubusco and went on to play at Anderson University, he became convinced he could do the same.
Since eighth grade, Duff knew what he wanted to do with his life outside of sports. Now he has that opportunity as well. Duff plans on studying physical therapy at Aurora which, has a great program.
As a senior at ‘Busco, Duff averaged 5.4 points per game, 3.1 rebounds per game and 1.4 assists per game. He shot 45 percent from the floor and hit 29 percent of his three-point shots. That three-point shooting will fit in perfectly with a Spartans team that likes to put up shots from deep.
In the NACC Aurora faces teams like Edgewood College, Benedictine University and Milwaukee Lutheran. Last season, the team never lost two games in a row and went 16-4 in conference play.