LAUREL HILL — In Samuel Durm, Darcel Austin sees an example of what can be possible at even the smallest schools.
Despite hailing from Laurel Hill, a school with fewer than 500 enrollees, Durm signed a letter of intent to play college basketball at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College in Andulasia, Alabama, on Friday from the Hoboes’ library.
“It was a good atmosphere,” said Austin, Laurel Hill’s basketball coach. “We had food and refreshments, family and coaches and administrators. … It was a great environment.
“I was happy that his family was able to come out and all the people that had a hand in getting Sam here. It’s a K-through-12 school, so his Pre-K teacher was in the next hall over from his senior English teacher.”
Durm, who graduated this past May, led the Hoboes to a 19-8 record and a fourth straight playoff appearance in 2018. Standing 6-foot-1, he averaged 19.2 points and 11.4 rebounds per game.
He said he knew LBW coach Ricky Knight had been attending his games, though when the offer came in January, he knew he still had to sort some things out before he committed.
In the meantime, he took several visits to the campus and felt incredibly welcomed.
“The campus is just wonderful,” Durm said. “Everybody’s nice. I even met a couple teammates; they just walked up straight to me and was congratulating me and telling me about LBW. It’s a great place.”
Durm said he moves in to his LBW apartment on Friday. He’s excited to meet the rest of his new teammates, learn and experience a new atmosphere.
He doesn’t yet know what his role will be on the team, but he hopes to start and promises the Saints are getting a consistent shooter and a hard worker.
“If I don’t (start), I’ll work as hard as I can to start,” Durm said. “I think I have a pretty good chance of starting as long as I work hard, shoot the ball well.”
Austin said he tells players to “Leave a legacy.” He encourages them to lead by example. Few players, he said, left the legacy Durm did.
“A lot of kids can say they want to go to college and play sports, but they don’t know really the work that goes in to it,” Austin said. “But if a stand-up kid like Sam signs from Laurel Hill, it’s possible.
“It’s big for us. It’s big for our community. It’s just big.”