When it comes to Evans High School basketball, no one's been around longer than Brandon Durr.
The senior point guard has been a starter the past two years for the Knights, but his Evans roots go back further than that. He got his start as a child at Evans Elementary, went up through the ranks of Evans Middle, and has made a name for himself at Evans High.
Somewhere in the middle, Evans boys basketball coach Kevin Kenny took notice.
"I knew he was going to be good when I saw him play in seventh grade," Kenny said. "I try to go over there and watch some games every year. I saw potential (from Durr). Even back then he was a scorer."
Perhaps the deep Evans-related background explains Durr's actions last weekend in a 69-59 home win over Cross Creek.
The game was well on its way to another Evans win midway through the fourth quarter when Durr, already with a team-high 16 points, drove to the hoop. The Evans point guard was fouled on his way to the basket, and he immediately fell to the ground - obviously suffering from a sudden and painful leg cramp.
With less than five minutes left in the game and a 14-point lead over Cross Creek, Kenny wasn't taking any chances. He pulled a player off the bench to shoot the free throws and took Durr out of the game to nurse his injury. When Durr saw the substitution, he jumped off the floor and onto his good foot.
"Coach, I'm good. I'm good, Coach," he yelled over and over as he part-hopped, part-hobbled toward Kenny.
"I hate being taken out," Durr said after the game. "I just love to play."
Kenny stuck with his initial call and pulled Durr out of the game, but the willingness to stay in didn't go unnoticed.
Durr hobbled off the court to a full Evans student section chanting his name.
"I felt good about that. That brought me back a little bit," Durr said.
He did not return to the game, but Evans rolled to its sixth victory this year. The Knights entered the week with a 6-3 record thanks, in part, to Durr's leadership, Kenny said.
"Brandon's a competitor, no doubt about that," Kenny said after the game. "He's a leader - on and off the court. We expect him to be that leader."
The Knight senior has led with an impressive example. Durr led Evans in scoring last season and is at the top of the list again this year. In a game against Aquinas on Dec. 2, he poured in a career-high 28 points by hitting eight of nine from the field, including four 3-pointers.
"I was hitting everything. Every three I took went in," he said.
That's for a point guard who has been injured since the second game of the season.
"Not many people know this, but I've been hurt since the Lakeside game." he said. "It's just a little tendinitis, but I couldn't get good lift on my jump shot for a while. I'm better now."
The Knights next will take on Harlem at home at 8 p.m. Friday.
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