JamesOn pushes to try to make it back to the top
Posted January 6, 2011
Happy New Year!
In these parts when the name JamesOn Curry is mentioned what comes to some people’s minds is a young man who was a great high school basketball player had an opportunity to play at North Carolina. During his prep days at East Alamance he was the best in the state and one of the best in the country. He was a two-time Associated Press first team All-State selection. During his senior season he averaged a remarkable 40.2 points per game to go along with 7.3 rebounds and 6 assists.
He was the most talked about prep player in the state, one of the most talked about players of all time. He is the state's all-time leading high school basketball point scorer. He was headed to UNC.
But all of that changed in the blink of an eye.
In 2004, Curry was charged with two counts each of possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana; two counts of sale and delivery of marijuana; and two counts of possession and selling and delivering a controlled substance on school grounds. He pleaded guilty. His sentence was 36 months of probation and 200 hours of community service. His UNC scholarship offer was revoked.
“I take responsibility for that,” said Curry. “That situation unfortunately occurred but it changed my life.”
Curry’s life did change. But who is to say it changed for the worse? He missed out on a national championship. He may have missed out on a potential great career at the school of his home state. Then again, maybe things wouldn’t have worked out so great at UNC. Maybe the lures of growing up in Pleasant Grove and being only 35 minutes from home may not have had him focused enough to excel at Carolina.
Oklahoma State and then head coach Eddie Sutton almost immediately offered Curry an opportunity to play for the Cowboys. Curry took full advantage of that opportunity. His freshman year he helped Oklahoma State to a 26-7 record and the Big 12 Tournament crown as well as to the Sweet 16. He played in all 33 games, starting 15 and averaged 9.4 points per game. In his sophomore and junior seasons, Curry averaged 13.5 and 17.3 points per game, respectively. While he had some success on the court, more importantly he kept his nose clean and continued to mature.
Curry skipped his senior season and entered the NBA Draft in 2007 and was drafted in the second round, 51st overall by the Chicago Bulls. He was signed by the team but bounced between them and their NBA Developmental team the Iowa Energy the whole season. In 13 games with the Energy he averaged 20.2 points and 5.6 assists per game, shooting .463 percent from the field and .377 from three-point range. The Bulls waived him in the summer of 2008. He bounced around overseas before being selected the 14th overall pick by the Springfield Armor in the 2009 D-League Draft.
Currently, Curry is in his second season with the Armor which is assigned to the Los Angeles Clippers. He is averaging 17.4 points, and 3.7 assists per game. He was called up to the Clippers on January 22 of last year after averaging 16.1 points and 7.1 assists per game, while shooting 44 percent from three-point range. He played a total of 4.9 seconds.
“I hold the record for the shortest NBA career, 4.9 seconds,” he said laughing. “I’m still hungry for more and more. To get to that place and not have that opportunity drives you crazy. It makes you work harder than you ever imagined you can work.”
Curry has come along way from those days in Pleasant Grove. He goes to various youth centers and talks to kids. He volunteers at soup kitchens. He also wants to start his own foundation.
“I want to do something for the kids in Pleasant Grove,” he said.
He’ll only be 25 on Friday, but it seems like with his experiences he’s lived a much longer life. Yet he continues to keep his head up and think positively and keep pushing on.
“I’ve been through so much these last couple of years and people don’t get to hear the story,” he said.
They do now. Keep moving forward JamesOn.