Darius Days entered the 2017-18 campaign as one of the most underappreciated guard/forwards in the talent-heavy SIAA conference.
Blessed with a man-child build and scoring aptitude at all three levels, his ability to barrel to the rim was never open to question. Consider a dependable 18-footer, consistent shooting from beyond the arc, and violent two-handed stuffings on the break, you have a diversified offensive portfolio.
Becoming more and more active defensively and crashing the boards with a sense of relentlessness was pivotal in transitioning from a first team all-league player to a league MVP and all-state performer.
Days, as explosive a finisher as you’ll find at this level, was held to a lofty standard by head coach Justin Hardin.
If he missed an assignment defensively, if he was caught staring on defense, he would hear about it. It even meant a quick chain and an earful to the bench.
“Look, coach knows I want him to be tough on me,” Days explained. “He knows I don’t want no free passes and I want to be held accountable just like everyone else. It’s really helped me with my work ethic and constantly going hard, constantly going 100 percent out there.’
That much was evident against nationally-potent Prolific Prep, led by Duke-signee Gary Trent and a horde of highly-touted teammates.
Days turned in a monstrous performance with 35 points and 11 rebounds, creating matchup difficulties for everyone guarding him.
Some liken Days’ blend of strength and athleticism to the bullish Shawn Kemp in his prime.
Others reference Days as a taller, more skilled version of former Syracuse guard/forward Paul Harris, who was a grown man feasting on boys during his high school days.
Beyond Days’ 35-point and 11-board showing against Pro Prep, the 6-foot-8, 218-forward also scored 35 points and tore down 10 boards against DeAndre Ayton and Hillcrest Prep (Az.).
“Providence has offered me, and I’ve spent some time talking to coach Ed Cooley,” Days explained.
Kansas, Virginia Tech, Virginia, and a slew of others have also offered Days. He has no official visits set up. He would like to weigh his options following this summer.
“His shot has continued to progress and what Darius needs to do is continue to understand he can score at all three levels,” said The Rock head coach Justin Hardin, after a 100-71 thrashing of Mater to win the A-ROD tournament in Miami in May.
“He can post up at times, he can knock down the mid-range shots, which is probably his best shot. His 3-point shooting has improved tremendously as he’s now leading our team in 3-pointers made and percentage.”