Former Scott standout Chris Darrington, center, tracks down a loose ball during a 2015 game against Bowsher. THE BLADE
The path to Division I college basketball, might not have been the one Chris Darrington imagined as a senior at Scott High School.
Nevertheless, Darrington is poised to see his efforts rewarded with a spot as a point guard on a Division I roster. Coming off of two successful seasons at Vincennes University, a junior college in Indiana, Darrington has captured the attention of major programs across the country.
Darrington reportedly holds offers from Memphis, Tennessee, Nebraska, Colorado, and the University of Toledo, among others. He took an official visit to Memphis this past weekend and will take an official visit to Toledo this weekend, followed by an April 21-23 visit to Tennessee.
“I’m just approaching it open-minded,” Darrington said of his recruitment. “I’m looking to win. That’s what I really want to do. A lot of people ask me if I’m a [shooting] guard or a point guard. I’m a point guard. I worked at that position, and that is the position I am comfortable playing. I want to play the point guard position.”
Darrington, with the help of Vincennes coach Todd Franklin and his coaching staff, has made the transition from shooting guard at Scott to point guard at Vincennes. The results have followed.
Last season at Vincennes, one of the top junior college programs in the country, Darrington earned National Junior College Athletic Association All-American honors after averaging 20.7 points and 5.1 assists per game.
Franklin said he expects a lot from his players, and it took a bit of time for Darrington to adjust to the demands of playing at that level.
“He’s had some ups and downs as he has gone along,” Franklin said. “We’re not easy here. It’s hard. Nothing is given, and we are known as a pretty disciplined program. He’s been through that, so he should be able to handle whatever is coming. It was an adjustment for him, and I think he’d be the first one to tell you that, but he has survived.”
Going from Toledo to the rural Indiana town of Vincennes was a bit of culture shock for Darrington, but he took it in stride as he knew this was his chance to develop into a Division I player.
“I graduated from high school on June 4, 2015, and on June 5 I was on the road to Vincennes,” Darrington said. “You go down to a place like Vincennes and you see cornfields and pick-up trucks every day. It’s night and day different from what I was used to seeing on an everyday basis. To just up and leave and go six hours away from home was tough.”
In his senior season at Scott, Darrington averaged 23.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 4.0 steals per game.
The accolades were rolling in. But the offers from Division I programs were not.
“It’s not like I wasn’t producing,” Darrington said. “I was averaging 24 points a game, shooting a high percentage, and winning games. I was The Blade player of the year. I was player of the year in the City League. I was player of the year in the district. I was first-team all-state.”
Adding to the frustration, Darrington failed to qualify academically to play major college basketball, so he swallowed his pride and chose to play at Vincennes.
Franklin said players such as Darrington, who put up stellar numbers as a high school senior, often get overlooked in the recruiting process. Players usually are committed earlier in their high school career and AAU games often overshadow a player’s performance their senior season.
“We thought when we took him — and we wouldn’t have taken him otherwise — that he was very underrated for where he was being rated in Ohio in all of the recruiting stuff,” Franklin said. “We utilized our own eyes to evaluate guys, and he was one we thought could be a good player.
Franklin saw skills in Darrington that supported the fact he could transition to a Division I point guard.
“He was kind of an off-the-radar recruit,” Franklin said. “He wasn’t rated very highly that year. But he had a good senior year. He was playing more as a scoring-guard at that time.
“We liked his ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the basket. We liked his first step and the fact that he had a good pull-up jump shot. He seemed to be a good kid, and the people around him seemed to want the best for him.”
Darrington admits he didn’t put in the work necessary in his freshman and sophomore years in high school, and as a result he was behind academically. He took advantage of the academic services at Vincennes and has turned into a better student.
“When I got there, I really had to mature and just put my mind to it and say I made the mistake of not doing the work once and it has got me here in junior college,” Darrington said. “I’m blessed to have another chance to play [major] college basketball.
“I’m not going to make that same mistake twice. I definitely learned from my mistakes in high school, being immature and not wanting to do my work. I really turned it into a strength of mine, being able to be mature and study.”
At Vincennes, Darrington developed into one of the top junior college players in the nation. Switching positions to point guard and spending time to improve his academics, Darrington developed as a player and as a student.
Franklin has no doubts Darrington can lead a Division I team at point guard.
“If you’re playing point guard for us at our level and you are contending for national championships, you are already playing Division I point guard,” Franklin said.
“If you are that guy and are playing against some of the other 15 or 20 top teams in the country, you have already played against and had to beat midmajor plus and high-major guys for programs that are designed to win. If you are playing in our deal, you are already playing at a mid-major, mid-major plus level. He’s already done that.”
All signs point to Darrington playing a lead role for a Division I program in the near future. “He’s in a tremendous position and he has a chance to have a really good future if he continues to do the right things,” Franklin said.
From an underrated high school shooting guard to an accomplished junior college point guard, Darrington feels his time is now.
“I think this junior college path really helped me in a multitude of ways,” Darrington said. “I definitely feel like this is my time to show the world that I can play Division I basketball.”
Contact Brian Buckey at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6110.
Darrington THE BLADE/LORI KING