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Durham leads OC Vision

Youth Scene

Former Bolsa Grande football standout who played in NFL now in charge of local youth basketball club.

March 07, 2012|By Steve Virgen
(Steven Georges…)

There's a part of a mission statement for a local youth basketball club that reads: OC Vision Basketball is dedicated to offering each member in our program the unique opportunity to enhance and build their talents, character, and confidence through motivation, dedication, self-discipline and commitment.

As for leadership, Darius Durham provides the unique opportunity. He can speak from experience.

At 50 his voice is treasured for this different basketball club based in Newport Coast. Durham knows about hard work, struggle, victory, adversity and redemption, and how it can mold a boy into a man.

Durham is the athletic director for OC Vision Basketball, a club that focuses a great deal on development. The club also uses the game as a platform to encourage positive traits used for life skills.

Do they want to win? Sure. Durham is around to lead the way for that too.

The former pro wide receiver found a way to win from a life that began in Compton. Durham, his three sisters and brother were raised by a single mother, Mary, who wanted the best life for her kids.

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"Her whole goal was to give us a better perspective on life," Durham said last week just before practice at the Newport Coast Community Center. "In Compton, there was only one ethnicity and it was predominantly black. She thought if we grew up we would only see one perspective and one mentality and she didn't want that to happen."

Durham said his mother took a chance and moved the family to Garden Grove even though it meant they would struggle financially.

It turned out to be the right move.

"That was the biggest lesson I had in life," he said. "I could see life from a different perspective."

Athletics also helped Durham, while he became a three-sport star at Bolsa Grande High. He was an elite football player who also stood out in basketball and track and field.

He remembers as a freshman telling his mother that he would become a professional football player while he trained in the front yard.

"She looked at me like I didn't have my mind the right way," Durham said with a chuckle.

But Durham knew it could become true because he was willing to put in the work and, "I was willing to do the research without a computer," he said. "I would watch the best college and pro receivers. I would take something away from their games and mesh it with mine. James Lofton, John Jefferson, Tony Hill, Drew Pearson, Lynn Swann, on and on, guys like that."

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