GROVE CITY — Christian Durbin’s apprenticeship is over.
As a freshman last season on the Grove City College men’s basketball team, Durbin played behind starting point guard Brett Matson.
This year, the keys to the Wolvernines’ offense have been handed to the Seneca Valley graduate.
“He’s the captain of the ship,” said Grove City College coach Steve Lamie. “He has an understanding of the offense now. He can direct guys on the floor instead of us having to do it from the bench.”
A year has made a big difference in Durbin’s game. He’s more confident now than he was as a freshman coming into a new system and surrounded by new teammates.
He’s also adjusted to the differences between high school and college.
“It’s a big difference having a year under your belt,” Durbin said. “Everyone in college can play. They are bigger and better. Having a year to play against them definitely helped.”
Durbin, though, came to the Wolverines from the rough and tumble Section 3-AAAA in the WPIAL. Night in and night out, Durbin usually squared off against some of the best players the district had to offer while running the show at point guard for the Raiders.
“I think he’s ahead of the curve,” Lamie said. “Having to play quad-A basketball in one of the best sections in the WPIAL made it a much easier transtion for a kid like that than one from a smaller school.”
Durbin has gotten off to a good start this season for Grove City, despite a left shoulder injury that cost him a game and a pair of starts to begin the campaign.
Durbin is averaging 9.5 points per game, He also leads the team with 23 assists and in free throw shooting at 88 percent.
His field goal percentage, though, is not where he would like it at 31 percent. The 5-foot-7 guard is making just 17 percent of his 3-point attempts.
“Defenses are a little quicker, so you have to get your shot off sooner,” Durbin said. “Everyone is a little taller and longer, so you have to get your release higher. I’m still working on that. Shooting-wise, I can definitely improve.”
Durbin is certainly putting the work in to try to lift himself out of his shooting slump.
Before practice each day, he can be found in the Grove City College gym, launching shot after shot.
“I’m trying to get up 1,000 shots a week,” Durbin said. “It hasn’t helped too much though.”
Lamie isn’t too concerned. He has seen Durbin’s work ethic first hand and said he has confidence that Durbin can become a dangerous shooter.
“His shot is good,” Lamie said, “But I think he can become a really good shooter.”
Durbin also spent the summer playing in a league in Pittsburgh with other Division III college players.
While there, he gained a new perspective on the “Grove City way.”
“Playing with a different team, you see some of the things we do at Grove City and why we do them,” Durbin said. “(Coach Lamie) is pretty demanding about doing the little things. It definitely made me appreciate what we do here more, like boxing out and going hard on defense all the time. You see how much that benefits you when you are on a team that doesn’t always do that.”
The Wolverines are off to a slow start at 1-6, but Durbin’s team goals are still quite lofty.
“Winning the (Presidents’ Athletic Conference) would be nice,” Durbin said. “I’d like to do that. As far as personal goals, I really don’t have any. I’d just like to see us do well as a team and win. I scored 1,000 points in high school, but I’d give them away if we could have made it farther in the playoffs.”