RECRUITING: Gator guard McDonald takes leap to DePaul

A versatile scorer with striking high-jump ability is a dangerous combination on the basketball court.

That combo will soon be going to the Big East Conference.

Green Valley senior guard Durrell McDonald made an oral commitment to DePaul on Monday, following a visit to campus last weekend.

The 6-foot-2-inch McDonald picked the Blue Demons over scholarship offers from Chattanooga, Florida International and Western Kentucky. The senior also drew recruiting interest from Miami, Penn State and Wichita State.

“I really liked the academics and style of play. It’s very up-tempo, and I like that,” McDonald said. “I feel like it’s my style of basketball.”

McDonald won the Class 4A state high jump title as a sophomore, clearing 6 feet, 8 inches in the state meet at Damonte Ranch High in Reno to set a stadium record.

That explosive athletic ability translates onto the basketball court as a senior. McDonald is averaging 21.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists through 18 games as the Gators (8-11, 5-2 Southeast League) are in the race for a Sunrise Region playoff spot.

“I think my track success has really benefited me in basketball,” McDonald said. “I think I haven’t really unleashed as much talent as I have in the high jump in basketball.”

Mitch Mitchell, McDonald’s coach for the Mad Moves Inc. club team, said DePaul is an excellent fit for McDonald’s athletic talents.

“He’s quicker than everybody thinks he is, and he’s an underrated shooter,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said McDonald had been playing against 17-and-under competition on the club circuit since seventh grade, and developed physical and mental toughness faster than many of his peers.

“It helped out a lot. It made him faster and more athletic,” Mitchell said.

McDonald said he plans to sign with DePaul in April. He will join former Palo Verde star Moses Morgan, who is now a sophomore forward for the Blue Demons.

“It’s really exciting. It’s one of the best things going on in my life right now,” McDonald said.

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