For being only a sophomore, Brentwood Academy’s Darius Garland has already accomplished quite a bit on the basketball court.
The 16-year-old recently wrapped up his third season as a member of the Eagles’ varsity squad — two of which ended with his team hoisting a Division II-AA championship trophy. Last month, the East/Middle Region MVP brought home one of the state’s top individual honors by being named Division II-AA Mr. Basketball.
As impressive as his brief career has already been, however, the 5-foot-11 point guard is far from content.
“We have a ton of talent, and we also have a lot great youngsters coming up,” said Garland, The Tennessean’s 2016 boys basketball Player of the Year. “Hopefully we can continue the tradition and win four in a row like Brandan Wright (former Brentwood Academy standout who later played at North Carolina and professionally).”
In addition to posting a team-leading 18.6 points — nearly six points higher than his 2014-15 scoring average — Garland contributed 4.3 assists, 2.5 steals and two rebounds per contest while helping lead Brentwood Academy to a second straight Division II-AA title.
“It’s relaxing playing with a player like him,” said junior teammate Jeremiah Oatsvall. “I know him really well on and off the floor, and that makes it even better. When you have that (chemistry) with the skill set that he has, there’s really just an unlimited amount of things you can do.”
And while Garland still has plenty of time left on the prep level, college basketball coaches across the country have already taken notice.
“He’s going to have his choice,” Brentwood Academy coach Hubie Smith said of Garland, who said that he is in no rush to make his college commitment. “I’ve gotten calls from Duke and North Carolina, and I’ve talked to coaches at Kentucky — pretty much every place in the country.”
Garland, a five-star prospect for the Class of 2018 according to 247Sports, already holds offers from several Division I programs, including Arizona State, Baylor, Indiana, Louisville, Memphis, Ohio State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Virginia.
“The few doors that aren’t already open soon will be,” Smith added. “He’s that good.”
G Darius Garland
Ht: 5-11 Wt: 145
Why chosen: Garland, who claimed Division II-AA Mr. Basketball honors, averaged 18.6 points, 4.3 assists and 2.5 assists while helping lead Brentwood Academy to a second consecutive Division II-AA state championship.
College plans: Arizona State, Baylor, Indiana, Louisville, Memphis, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Virginia have offered.
Quote: “It was a great year, and coming together and getting another state championship was a great feeling. (Our confidence) was way higher than it was the year before because we basically had the same team as last year. We came into the offseason working harder, coach Hubie (Smith) was harder on us, and we just wanted to do it again.”
Family: Parents Winston and Felicia Garland, sister Kacie (26) and brothers Desmond (27) and Cody (22)
Athletic background: “I grew up loving and playing baseball and basketball, then one day I just decided to focus more on basketball. I played in my first elementary school game and scored my first basket as a second-grader. As an eighth-grader I played in first varsity basketball game, and I’ve been playing varsity since then. I play a lot in the summer of a Nike EYBL team and am trying to get better as a basketball player.”
How did you spend your spring break? “I went to Florida (Seaside).”
Favorite athlete? “My dad, Winston Garland (who played at Southwest Missouri State before going on to enjoy an eight-year career in the NBA), and Kobe Bryant.”
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? “Hopefully I will be playing basketball professional in the NBA or a sports commentator.”
What do you think of Blackman’s Crystal Dangerfield? “Crystal is a good friend of mine I like her a lot, and we talk from time to time. I think she is an awesome basketball player and I think she has a great future in basketball. I wish her the best.”