Monday, May 31, 2004

JamesOn, UNC & Oklahoma

There's an interesting story in today's New York Times about JamesOn Curry -- the former UNC basketball recruit who had his scholarship rescinded after being arrested for selling drugs to an undercover cop and has since signed with Oklahoma.

Curry, who was originally recruited by Matt Doherty, was told by Williams that his scholarship would be honored unless he 'robbed a bank, or something.' After being indicted on drug charges, Williams recently said:
"Well, he did rob a bank, or something."
According to the article, there were other reasons Williams shied away from the all-time leading points scorer in North Carolina history. Williams' father was an alcoholic.
Mack Williams, who died May 16 at 79, was a disruptive force during Williams's youth. He and Roy's mother separated when Roy was in the third grade. An only child, Williams remembers living in desperate situations in the mountain region of western North Carolina.

"Things that happened in my childhood helped form the beliefs I have now...I've had a distant relationship with my father for most of my life. And I equate drugs like marijuana the way I do alcohol. I don't drink, I don't smoke and I've been married to the same woman, Wanda, for over 30 years. My father had five wives. And I would have serious problems dealing with someone who had sold and possessed drugs. I understand that JamesOn has been thought of as a good citizen beyond this incident, and I was impressed with him when I met him. And I've given second chances to some kids, but North Carolina wants to maintain a squeaky clean image.

"I consulted with the athletic director here, and the president of the university, and they both agreed with me."
Similarly, Oklahoma coach Eddie Sutton had reasons for giving Curry another chance (other than the fact that Curry offers immediate long-range depth to a team that made it to the final four last season).
Fourteen years ago, Sutton was given a second chance - by Oklahoma State. Sutton had previously coached at Kentucky, which was placed on probation for a recruiting violation under his watch. He resigned under pressure, though there were no allegations against him specifically. But Oklahoma State, his alma mater, provided him with another opportunity, and he has made the most of it.
In the long run, Oklahoma might be in the best interests of both Curry and UNC. Don't forget, the ACC is the same conference where fans have taunted Juan Dixon for losing both his parents, accused Rashad McCants of having a venereal disease and alledged that J.J. Redick drinks his own pee (OK, the last one's pretty funny). I can only imagine the torment Curry and his family would face as a convicted seller of drugs.

And even though Curry has for a lifetime wanted to attend UNC, his father makes the point why Oklahoma may be as good a place as any to start over:
"JamesOn would have suffered from the fans in the area, screaming all that craziness, not letting it rest."
He's probably right.