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James Singleton Jersey Signed

NBA Rumors: Knicks Sign Solomon Jones, Not James Singleton; Waive Kurt Thomas

Solomon Jones is the newest Knick, acting as a frontcourt insurance policy.
Solomon Jones is the newest Knick, acting as a frontcourt insurance policy.Michael Hickey-USA TODAY Sports
In an effort to become more able-bodied for the postseason, the New York Knicks are being forced to cut ties with an old friend.

According to Howard Beck of the New York Times, the team is adding 28-year-old big man Solomon Jones and cutting injured veteran Kurt Thomas.

This contradicts reports from earlier in the week that had the Knicks agreeing to terms with forward James Singleton. Marc Berman of the New York Post reports that deal fell through due to issues with his contract in China.

Jones stands at 6’10″ and is a six-year NBA vet, having played on four different clubs. He provides depth at the center position that New York so desperately needs as the playoffs draw closer, and with Tyson Chandler still struggling to find the hardwood with his neck issue.

The health of Marcus Camby, Rasheed Wallace and Kenyon Martin are all huge question marks as well—so much so, that the Knicks started rookie Chris Copeland at the center spot Thursday night against the Chicago Bulls.

Jones has never received impact NBA playing time—his career-high was 17.8 minutes in 11 games with the New Orleans Hornets last season—but is a healthy big man, which is something New York has none of. He’s averaged 1.8 blocks per 36 minutes for his career, so his shot-swatting ability should help the small-ball Knicks size up with bigger teams like the Indiana Pacers.

Jones’ career rebounding marks aren’t overly impressive, but solid nonetheless. He isn’t a lock-down defender in the paint, either, but the presence of a 6’10″ body alone is an improvement from the Knicks’ current situation.

Offensively, Jones has shown an ability to occasionally assert himself in the paint, and can throw down a flashy jam every so often. He’ll shoot the occasional perimeter jumper, but it doesn’t fall at a very high percentage. In 2010-11 with the Pacers, Jones’ jump shot was wet 29.4 percent of the time, or 20-of-68.

Cutting Thomas loose was a painful move for New York, but one that was a no-brainer. His last game as a Knick—likely the last of his career—was a warrior-like display. Thomas logged a season-high 27 minutes and led the way with firm defense on younger Utah Jazz bigs, namely Al Jefferson.

It was the first triumph of the Knicks’ recent 13-game winning streak.

Over two stints in New York, Thomas played eight seasons in a Knicks uniform.

Once it was announced that rehabbing the stress fracture in his foot was no longer possible and surgery was needed, waiving the 40-year-old Thomas was the only logical move to make.

Via Alan Hahn of MSG Network, here was what Glen Grunwald had to say about Kurt’s departure:

Once it became clear that he would not be able to return this season, and due to a rash of injuries to our big men, we felt that it was important for us to free up a spot on our roster. We thank Kurt for all that he has done. I have the utmost respect for Kurt as a player and as a man.

Kurt’s contributions to the Knicks have been immeasurable. From the first day of training camp to the last game against the Utah Jazz, Kurt has been a key contributor to our team. The team’s success this season has been driven by veteran leadership on and off the court — it is something that cannot be quantified or read in a box score.

Knicks’ Health Situation

In a utopian Knicks world, Jones will simply be an insurance policy for the veteran big men. Unfortunately for Mike Woodson, the myriad of uncertainties in the frountcourt may lead you to believe that Jones could receive more minutes than the coach desires heading into the postseason.

Amar’e Stoudemire is still rehabbing his knee after the debridement procedure he underwent weeks ago. The original six-week prognosis would have him slated to return at the start of the postseason, but STAT took eight weeks to return from the same procedure on his other knee last fall.

Tyson Chandler is dealing with a bulging disk, and likely won’t be back to 100 percent health this season. He’s missed 12 of the Knicks’ last 16 games, and is listed as day-to-day.

Kenyon Martin was battling knee issues, but was forced into action when Tyson Chandler’s back flared up again on April 9 against the Washington Wizards. In that game, Martin rolled his ankle and suffered a sprain. He, too, is listed as day-to-day.

Marcus Camby has played in just 24 games this season courtesy of plantar fascia problems in his left foot. He’s been in and out of Mike Woodson’s lineup this season, but hasn’t played in April with the injury.

JamesOn Curry Jersey Signed

HE’D REHEARSED THIS moment in his mind thousands of times.

Pop off the bench like you’re sitting on a spring. Tear off your warm-ups, toss them aside and trot to the scorer’s table.

Lean against it? Sit on the floor? Kneel?

Pull the strings on your shorts tight and tuck in your jersey. Adjust your headband and make sure your shoes are tied tight. Not that tight.

Listen for your name echoing through the speakers, hoping the announcer says it correctly.

Checking in for the Clippers, JamesOn Curry.

Savor the moment. Look around the arena, and in this one, see the numbers hanging from the rafters. Maybe dream about yours hanging somewhere someday. Take a deep breath, snap back to the present and call out your assignment. Take your spot on the floor, wait for the whistle to blow, and officially begin your NBA career. Three-point-nine seconds are left on the clock.

You made it. You fulfilled a promise to yourself and your family. You are playing in the NBA.

Three seconds.

Get in your defensive stance. The clock is running, your name is in a box score now.

Two seconds.

Stay with your man. Do your job.

One second.

Another second passes and the buzzer sounds. Run back toward the bench and get in the huddle. You don’t know it at the time, but you won’t step foot on an NBA court in a game again.

“We just don’t recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they’re happening. Back then I thought, ‘Well, there’ll be other days.’ I didn’t realize that that was the only day.”

– Archibald “Moonlight” Graham, “Field of Dreams”

INSIDE BOSTON’S TD GARDEN, the Los Angeles Clippers had just witnessed a one-point halftime lead transform into a five-point third-quarter deficit.

It is Jan. 25, 2010, and, headlined by Baron Davis, Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman, the Clippers are 20-23, four games out of the Western Conference’s No. 8 seed. DeAndre Jordan is in his second year. They’re one year away from Blake Griffin’s debut, two years away from Lob City.

The Celtics are 28-13 and the juggernaut of the Eastern Conference — led by Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett — that would go on to lose in seven games to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.

Rondo draws a foul with 3.9 seconds remaining in the third quarter when Clippers head coach Mike Dunleavy yells from his perch on the sideline.

Called up three days earlier on a 10-day contract, Curry checks in.

Wearing No. 44, he jogs onto the court. He’s guarding Rondo, who maneuvers toward the baseline under the basket. The Celtics inbound, Pierce swings the ball to Allen who takes a couple dribbles into the paint. Rondo drifts a few steps to his left to clear the way for Allen’s drive. Curry stays next to him. Allen loses the handle on the ball and can’t get his shot up before the buzzer sounds. Curry is still there, right next to his man.

“You know, if you think about it, I’m probably the highest paid player per second in NBA history.”
JamesOn Curry
“It was the quickest four seconds ever,” Curry said after the game. “I wish it would’ve lasted longer. Being out there, I just felt like a regular person, felt like a regular basketball player. I felt like I was home, like this is where I belong.”

To start the fourth, Jordan subs in for Curry, who sits on the bench for the rest of the 95-89 loss. The Clippers waive him 12 hours later.

He didn’t take a shot. He didn’t grab a rebound. He didn’t touch the ball. According to Basketball Reference, there have been nine players who have appeared in only one career game and played a minute or less. None played less than Curry’s 3.9 seconds.

NEARLY 10 YEARS later, Curry has nothing from the night he took the court for the Clippers. He doesn’t know what he did with the jersey or the shoes or the headband he used.

He looks the same now as he did as a player, a wiry 6-foot-3 guard with a charming grin and an electric demeanor. His name is one part for his great uncle James, and another for his father Leon.

Curry talks fast and bounces around topics at hyperspeed. He reads everything, and like a living college paper he cites each randomly dropped quote midflow. Something from T. Harv Eker’s “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” here, or Napoleon Hill’s “Laws of Success in Sixteen Lessons” there. Curry’s mind hums non-stop.

His phone is full of notes, quotes, thoughts, poems, songs he has written only for himself. He has a list of goals for the year, two above the rest: get married and buy a house.

He’s 33 years old now and hasn’t played professional basketball in five years.

“You know, if you think about it,” Curry says now with a smile, “I’m probably the highest-paid player per second in NBA history.”

That kind of optimistic perspective wasn’t always there. There was once a feeling of shame and embarrassment about where he’d been and what he’d done. His dream had betrayed him, turning a chosen one to a cheap piece of trivia immortalized on YouTube.

He rose, he fell, he would be broke, he would be broken. But basketball would find a way to change JamesOn Curry’s life, just not in the way he ever thought it would.

A career spanning just 3.9 seconds was never the end of JamesOn Curry’s basketball journey. Andrew Hancock for ESPN
A BASKETBALL PRODIGY at Eastern Alamance High School in Mebane, North Carolina, Curry was the kind of talent that seemed chosen by a higher power, destined for greatness: a pure jumper, a tight handle and a feel for the game that’s gifted and never learned.

He was a five-star recruit putting up 40.3 points a game, committed to play at the University of North Carolina since his sophomore year.

A newspaper sent a photographer to chronicle his senior season. A UNC fan site traveled to all his games to relay glowing reports of what Tar Heels fans could expect from their super-recruit.

He stood toe-to-toe with other top players from the state, including Chris Paul, whom Curry outshone at the 2002 Hampton Five Star Camp (The “yo-yo dribble” CP3 does to perfection? Curry claims he taught him that at the camp, though Curry gives original credit to streetball legend and former NBA veteran Rafer Alston, who taught him.)

Curry was becoming a state scoring legend. With Lawrence “Cotton” Clayton in the house, the former state all-time scorer, Curry dropped 65 points against Western Alamance in January, then 54 against High Points Andrews five days later.

On the night of Feb. 3, 2004, in a packed gym against crosstown rival Graham, Curry erupted for 47 points, adding to his then-state-record total of 3,307 career points — more than Michael Jordan, David Thompson and James Worthy (Curry’s record was broken by Chicago Bulls rookie Coby White in 2016). The Eagles were undefeated in conference and were hosting Northwood in a couple days.

The next morning, Curry was in art class when he was called into the principal’s office. Sheriff’s deputies were waiting inside.

He thought they just wanted autographs. They placed him in handcuffs instead.

While he was lighting up the Red Devils, law enforcement officials were prepping a warrant for Curry’s arrest; he was one of 60 students from six different high schools in the Alamance-Burlington district arrested as part of a drug sting. Three of his teammates were also arrested.

“I was hustling, I ain’t going to lie.”
JamesOn Curry
Curry had been caught selling marijuana to an undercover police officer, who was posing as a student and had a hidden camera in the strap of a backpack — two deals in the fall, one in the bathroom after first period and another in the parking lot three weeks later. His total take was $95.

He was charged with six felony counts of possessing marijuana and selling it on school grounds. He pleaded guilty to all of them.

A judge suspended his sentence, placed him on probation for 36 months and ordered him to perform 200 hours of community service. He was kicked off the basketball team and expelled.

North Carolina rescinded its scholarship.

On May 5, 2004, three months after his arrest and 20 days before his graduation from an alternative school in the area, he committed to Oklahoma State, picking it over Memphis and Cincinnati. Curry made the most of his second chance.

His freshman year, in 2004-05, he sparked a run in Madison Square Garden in a win against No. 4 Syracuse. Dick Vitale called him a Diaper Dandy. The Cowboys won the Big 12 and reached the Sweet 16. The Tar Heels won the title.

JamesOn Curry vaulted onto the radar of NBA scouts as a junior at Oklahoma State. Ron Antonelli/NY Daily News Archive/Getty Images
Everywhere he played, Curry heard the heckles and the chants — “James-On Crack!” was the most popular one. He started all 33 games as a sophomore, averaging 13.5 points and 4.0 assists. As a junior he averaged 17.3 points and 3.7 assists, making third team all-conference and drawing interest from NBA teams.

Against the advice of head coach Eddie Sutton, he declared for the draft.

The Chicago Bulls, who played a part in persuading Curry to leave school with a rumored promise they’d take him, selected him in 51st overall in the 2007 draft and immediately sent him to the D-League.

“I wasn’t worried about getting picked,” Curry says.

Another call-up, another demotion, another incident. At the D-League Showcase in January 2008 in Boise, Idaho, during his first season of professional basketball, he was caught by a police officer urinating in an alley outside of his hotel at 2:30 a.m. He ran and was arrested and cited for two misdemeanors. He was suspended one game.

A month later, he was called up again. On a road trip in February of his rookie season, Bulls coach Scott Skiles told the team the next practice was an open tryout. Curry was ready. He dominated the scrimmage with this passing and scoring. He thought he’d get his chance. Skiles pulled him aside after practice.

“You’ll be the best player in the D-League,” Curry remembers Skiles telling him.

Maybe it was supposed to be an insult, maybe it was a compliment, but Curry was crushed. The Bulls waived Curry after the season.

He blames some of it on the incident at the D-League Showcase and some of it on missing a team flight to New York because he got lost in Chicago driving to the airport. His past left him little margin for error. “This isn’t the only reason, but that’s a big reason I’m not in the NBA,” he says. “When I missed that flight, it really messed things up.”

After a brief time with pro teams in France and Cyprus, he returned to the D-League, playing for the Springfield Armor in Massachusetts. He was the Armor’s first call-up when the Clippers signed him in 2010.

After he was released, he played two more seasons for Springfield, making the D-League All-Star team in 2012. He was maybe the best player in that game, scoring 25 points for the East. He thought for sure another call-up was coming.

“We had three call-ups that season,” says then-Armor coach Bob MacKinnon, “and I thought JamesOn would be the next guy. It still bothers me to this day that he didn’t.”

JamesOn Curry became the Springfield Armor’s first D-League call-up — to the Clippers — in 2010. Chris Marion/NBAE/Getty Images
After another stint in Europe — Italy, this time — Curry came back to the Armor in 2013, and then was traded to the Bakersfield Jam in 2014. Before that season, he was arrested in Midwest City, Oklahoma, for marijuana possession. He pleaded guilty and the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor.

He suffered a season-ending ankle injury in March 2014 and was waived for the final time in his pro career.

“The NBA’s funny. There are what, 450 jobs?” MacKinnon says. “And in my mind, if you take the top 200 to 250 players and the next 150 to 200, you can interchange those out with the next group of guys and the NBA wouldn’t change.

“JamesOn was on that next group of guys and, unfortunately, because he had a reputation, that’s what hurt him. If you’re going to overcome a bad rep, you’ve got to be really, really good.

“It’s easy to get a rep. It’s hard to get rid of one.”

IT IS OCTOBER 2014 and Curry is living in Edmond, a suburb 15 miles north of Oklahoma City. His girlfriend, Christy, is from there. They met as freshmen at Oklahoma State and have three children together.

Riding as a passenger in a silver Cadillac with its tail lights out, he is pulled over near the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma at 1 a.m. when an officer finds marijuana and a handgun. He tells the officer his name is James Davis.

He is charged with two felony counts: possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute within 2,000 feet of a school and false impersonation. He pleads not guilty.

With that case still open, in February 2015 he is arrested again for possession of another controlled dangerous substance — this time Alprazolam, better known as Xanax.

“I was hustling,” Curry says now. “I ain’t going to lie.”

After months of the cases bouncing around in court, he accepts a deal and pleads guilty to all charges. More felony convictions. Starting in April 2016, he serves 10 consecutive weekends in Oklahoma county jail, plus 40 hours of community service.

Curry doesn’t like to go into much detail about it — those were the “dark days,” as he calls them. He points to his left eye where there’s a scar across his upper cheekbone. He got it in a scuffle in Tulsa, where someone hit him and a wristwatch cut him.

“All that thug s—, yes. Hood s—, yes. But I’m not some bad guy,” Curry says. “Ain’t no stealing, no killing, none of that. Some selling, some hustling, that s— I did.”

With his life legally complicated, his relationship with Christy in flux and a belief of being targeted by police in Oklahoma, Curry moves back to North Carolina to try to reset his post-basketball life in the fall of 2016. He concedes now he was just running from his problems.

“It was a bad eight months,” he says.

Curry comes from a large, tight-knit family with siblings and aunts and uncles. Being back home, driving the country roads, smelling the tobacco-drenched air from the nearby fields, might give him something sturdy, he thinks.

Being back around his grandmother, Georgia Parker, whom he describes as his spiritual guiding light, could recenter his life. He’s still training and thinking maybe there’s one more comeback in him.

Two long scars running down JamesOn Curry’s spine serve as a reminder of the night that nearly took his life. Andrew Hancock for ESPN
It is April 2017. After a late-night workout, he’s driving down Highway 49 in his dad’s white Nissan pickup. It is around midnight and he is on his way to Johnny Brewer’s, the only store open outside of Pleasant Grove. He wants a cigar.

He drops his phone. He reaches down to grab it.

“Looked up. Wheel turned, it flipped,” Curry says now. “Of course, they thought I was drinking.”

The truck is on its side, propped up in a ditch by scraggly roadside bushes. Every window is smashed, the cab is turned inside out. He had dislocated his ribs, broken his back and had blood pouring from his head. He remembers a man walking up to his truck as Curry crawled out and stood up.

Wiping blood from his eyes and his breaths short and staggered, Curry had asked the man to drive him home.

“You look bad, bud,” Curry recalls the man saying. “But if you can make it to me, bud, I’ll take you home.”

The next thing he remembers is waking up in the emergency room. Two steel rods are implanted in his back, with two eight-inch scars running parallel on each side of his spine. He needs help going to the bathroom and can’t walk for a month.

Three months later, still rehabbing from surgery, the hope of a comeback gone, Curry moves back to Oklahoma to be with Christy and the kids.

“I was so depressed when I came back from North Carolina,” Curry says now. “That whole year.”

With felony convictions haunting him, Curry was lost — and wandering. “Burger King wouldn’t even hire me, man,” he says.

He signs on with a temp agency and works various jobs — at a Purina dog food factory in Edmond, which is next door to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first practice facility. He delivers packages for UPS as a driver’s assistant. After playing pickup at a church rec center he decides to apply for a job as a trainer. They run a background check. Denied.

He is a convicted felon, low on money and thin on options. Looking for somewhere cheaper to live, he moves from Edmond to Enid, some 80 miles farther north. He gets a job working 12-hour days, 60-hour weeks loading and driving trucks. He admits the only reason he got the job was because his supervisor is a big Oklahoma State fan.

After a couple months, his supervisor, Justin, asks if Curry could fill in as a weekend coach for his kid’s team at the YMCA. He knows the game, but doesn’t have any coaching experience.

“It was the hardest thing ever,” he says. “But I enjoyed it.”

Justin also asks if Curry could do extra one-on-one training with his kid. For 20 bucks, sure, Curry says. He works 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., then at 7:15 he’s at the Y, ready to train. He sheds the interim tag and takes over as coach of the youth team. And they are terrible.

“Walking in there and guys knowing me, ‘That’s JamesOn Curry!’ And then guys walking out saying, ‘Man, JamesOn Curry’s team sucked!’” he says with a laugh.

He conducts workouts for a couple more kids; an extra few bucks a week in the pocket. Parents start noticing how much better the kids doing private workouts are getting. With nothing but word of mouth and positive reviews for his coaching and teaching, Curry adds more workouts. He starts coaching an additional team.

Three months later, he quits his job driving trucks and working in oil fields.

He starts a new dream.

IT’S A 60-SECOND drive through Drummond, Oklahoma — a straight shot on Highway 132 — with no stoplights or even a stop sign to slow you down.

If you’re coming from the north, a big metal white cross in a cracked concrete parking lot of a Baptist church greets you. Windmills spin in the distance against a painted pastel blue sky, tinted a slight shade of orange because of the red dirt kicked up by tractors tilling the earth. Black oil derricks tower in yellowed, sun-baked fields. The flat landscape clears the way for classic Oklahoma gusts that feel like someone has a blow-dryer pointed in your face.

Directly across the street from the fire department sits Drummond High School, with a domed gym sitting behind the main building. It’s the practice gym, but it’s also the school’s safe room, built to withstand an F5 tornado.

“Would playing in the NBA bring peace of mind? No. Would I be rich as hell? Yeah. Maybe I could outshoot 80 percent of the guards in the NBA right this second. But would I personally be happy, every single day? This is where I want to be.”
JamesOn Curry, on working with kids in Drummond, Oklahoma
Inside, bouncing balls echo off gray cinder-block walls and joyous screams of children pierce the air. Curry blows a whistle and 60 or so kids drop their basketballs and hustle to form a semicircle around him.

It’s the first annual D.R.I.P. camp — Dedication, Respect, Integrity, Preparation. Curry’s spirit is boomeranging as he talks, his hands popping with energy. He throws himself down on the floor, pantomiming what happens if a teammate doesn’t call out a screen for you. Everyone laughs, including the parents who stayed to watch.

According to the 2017 American Community Survey, of the 432 residents of Drummond, 86.6 percent are white, with small percentages of Hispanic and Latino, and American Indian. There were zero African-Americans on the survey. And that’s pretty clearly reflected in the demographics of the camp.

“I’m a six- or seven-time felon, a black guy with tattoos all over my body,” Curry says, “And I’m also a respected mentor and trusted coach to a Trump supporter’s kid.”

He’s inside the dome in Drummond all day, every day. Principal Jarrod Johnson — who was a student at Oklahoma State the same years as Curry — gave him a key a few months ago.

“I talked to him and told him, ‘I know you’ve had some stuff happen, but the past is the past,’” Johnson says. “‘But if anything happens again, I can’t have you around.’

“But I believe people need second chances, too,” Johnson says. “When I got to sit in front of him, man-to-man, and talk, you just get this feeling where you say, ‘I know this guy is for real.’ This is what he wants and his priorities were right in line and that’s what matters.

“There was no hesitation. It seems like he’s a changed man.”

Johnson is a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Enid, and one Saturday a month he’s part of a group that cooks and serves meals to about 100 people in need. Curry volunteered himself and his basketball players to help.

“He has been nothing but awesome,” Johnson says.

On any given day, odds are you’ll find JamesOn Curry inside the Drummond dome. Andrew Hancock for ESPN
Curry says he has three players whose parents are in law enforcement. He knows they’ve surely looked up his record. He once feared the police, but he gets along great with the parents.

Coaching and training is his full-time job now. Nothing excites him like watching incremental development. He has a unique patience, praising the smallest of steps for struggling kids. He lays out two hula hoops on the left block of the lane.

“Two lines!” he yells, calling for a layup drill. “One foot for each. Right! Left!” He steps to the side. “Watch,” he says with a confident grin, “They’ll be able to do ‘em tomorrow.”

They come from Woodward, from Tonkawa, from Oklahoma City. Parents bring their kids from an hour or more away just for Curry to coach them.

“It’s because he cares, and the kids can tell,” says Jackie Wilkinson, grandmother of Ethan, a shy 12-year-old attending one of Curry’s camps.

“I tried to get [Ethan] into basketball, but he had so much anxiety that he didn’t want to,” Wilkinson says. “And then here, we got him into the Y and JamesOn was the coach.

“He’s come out of his shell. He doesn’t want to work with anybody but JamesOn.”

Jackie didn’t know anything about Curry before he started coaching. Ethan told his grandmother that he was an NBA player. She Googled him.

But like every other parent that knows Curry, what she found didn’t bother her.

“No,” she says. “Because people make mistakes.”

DRUMMOND FEELS LIKE home. Curry loves his jacked-up black Ford F-250 with broken air conditioning, the dashboard stained from driving dirt roads with the windows down.

“I want it to feel like I’m driving the tobacco fields,” he says. “I want it to feel like I’m back home in the country. We’re going to grow this out. We’re going to work.”

There was a time when every setback, every issue, every screw-up, every piece of baggage were things that weighed him down. “Every obstacle is an opportunity,” he says now.

The two rods in his back? They’ve actually just improved his shooting mechanics because his posture is straighter on his jumper.

There was a time not long ago when Curry took offense to his 3.9 NBA seconds — he has seen the YouTube videos — but now he sees it as part of his story and nothing to hold shame in. He was an NBA player. He made it. And he’s proud of that.

“He played. He played in an NBA game,” MacKinnon says. “How many people in the world can say that? He should take a lot of pride in that. And he overcame a lot to get there.”

JamesOn Curry sees himself having his own youth program one day. “This is something real. This has stability. I can do this for a long time,” he says. Andrew Hancock for ESPN
It took foundational events for Curry to find himself. He cites two things that started a transformation: (1) his near-death experience with his car accident that forced him to reconcile a life without basketball and (2) the death of his grandmother in 2018.

“I don’t want to talk about it much,” he says of his grandmother. “But that changed me. It made me refocus and see what’s important.”

His life changed in that principal’s office at Eastern Alamance, but Curry doesn’t think too much about what-ifs, either.

He and Christy got married a few weeks ago in North Carolina on a beach in front of his entire family. He thinks he could still probably play in the NBA. “The way the game’s changed now, man. I really could play. I know I can,” he says.

Parents at his camp watch him drain 30-footers and will text him that he needs to play for the Thunder. He doesn’t hold on to the past, but he does use it. He tells his players he played in the NBA — “It’s good for credibility,” he laughs.

If the phone rang tomorrow and there was an offer, a tryout, a chance, would he consider leaving Drummond behind?

“No-pe,” he says, turning it into a two-syllable word to make it sound more convincing. “I like this. I like building. I like planting these seeds. I know what you’re thinking, but it’s the truth. This is something real. This has stability. I can do this for a long time.

“Would playing in the NBA bring peace of mind? No. Would I be rich as hell? Yeah. Maybe I could outshoot 80 percent of the guards in the NBA right this second. But would I personally be happy, every single day? This is where I want to be.”

A career lived in the blink of an eye, a dream brushing past like a stranger in a crowd, a purpose found in an unlikely place.

“NEVER SEEN IT,” Curry says of “Field of Dreams.” “But I know about Moonlight Graham.”

Graham is from Fayetteville, North Carolina, some 80 miles south of Pleasant Grove. He was a real person — not a Hollywood creation — whose entire career spanned a single inning for the New York Giants in 1905 and he never got to bat. He became a physician and practiced medicine in Chisholm, Minnesota, for 50 years, mainly as a school doctor.

“It’s pretty cool, I think,” Curry says. “Both working with kids, planting seeds, seeing something bigger in this world.”

One played an inning, the other 3.9 seconds. Both found a calling away from the game, trading one dream for another.

Someday, Curry sees himself owning a gym and having his own youth program. He wants players to come from all over the state to his gym and train with him.

Day 2 of his camp is over and he stands in the dome, cleaning up loose gum wrappers. A scream from midcourt turns his attention sharply back to the floor. His 6-year-old daughter Parker is trying to launch half-court shots while his 13-year-old son Braylen and 11-year old daughter Peyton cackle with laughter.

“I could be chasing a ball somewhere still,” Curry says, “but I’d be missing out on this.”

Melvin Turpin Jersey Signed

There is a beginning and an end to everything. Eventually, everybody has to (will) die when their time comes. Having said that, it hurts and stings that much more when somebody calls time on their own lives. There might have been deeper reasons, that many might not even know off, as to why that person felt motivated to end his life.

And although years after, we still might not know the many (or one) reason why the person decided to do so, we could take a look back at those people. So here are five NBA players that committed suicide:

#5 Melvin TurpinMelvin Turpin (Image courtesy: behindblondiepark.com)
Melvin Turpin (Image courtesy: behindblondiepark.com)

After four noteworthy years at the University of Kentucky, Melvin Turpin was drafted sixth overall in the famous 1984 NBA Draft. He was drafted by the Washington Bullets but it was immediately traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. After three seasons with them, he played a year with the Utah Jazz and then called the curtains on his career in 1990 after a season with the Bullets.

In 361 career games in the league, he averaged 8.0 points and 5.0 rebounds. However, his career was only limited to six seasons because of the weight issues he faced and battled.

In the 2000′s, Turnpin worked as a security guard for his livelihood. At the end of that decade, courtesy of what is said to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Turpin died on July 8th, 2010.

Dick Holub Jersey Signed

The original draft class for the New York Knicks goes back to 1947 when the franchise made 10 selections.
The New York Knicks have found their fair share of success in the NBA Draft. From franchise standouts to Pro Basketball Hall of Fame talents, they landed players who made grand impacts on the game of basketball.

This sport’s history dates back decades, however. Not as far as Major League Baseball, but enough to evaluate the 1940s, when the Knicks first participated in an NBA Draft.

1947 brought the Knicks 10 picks. Most of them did not suit up, and their players combined for fewer than 200 career games. Who were these prospects at the time?

Round 1, Pick 5: Dick Holub, C, Long Island University
Slash Line: .295/.633
Career Averages: 10.5 PPG, 0.8 APG, 2.4 FTM

Few stats were available at the time to evaluate NBA players. Points, assists and the standard field goal percentage were available, but not much else. The game was primitive.

With the fifth overall pick, the Knicks chose Dick Holub from Long Island University, now a Division II school in Long Island, NY. He was also a 6-foot-6 center. That and LIU never happen for a pro prospect in the modern-day NBA.

Holub lasted just the 1947-48 season, playing 48 games for New York’s basketball team. His stats were modest, and he never made another appearance.

No draft record: Andy Duncan, F/C, College of William & Mary
Slash Line: .408/.596
Career Averages: 5.5 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.7 APG, 1.2 FTM

Andy Duncan was a Knicks draft pick in 1947, but he never played for them. Instead, he played for the Rochester Royals and the Boston Celtics across three seasons, contributing in 136 career games from 1948-50.

Wat Misaka was the only other Knicks draft pick to play a game from the 1947 class, but it happened over only three appearances.

Lloyd Batts Jersey Signed

Through seven decades in six conferences, Cincinnati basketball has established itself as one of the reliable power programs in the country.

From Ed Jucker’s back-to-back national champs to Bob Huggins’ string of 14 consecutive NCAA berths, the Bearcats have been a team to be reckoned with on the national stage.

The players who have earned those victories have gone on to everything from the NBA Hall of Fame to the major league pitching mound.

Although contemporary fans are used to the Bearcats’ string of great power forwards—whether it’s Danny Fortson, Nuggets standout Kenyon Martin or current campus hero Yancy Gates—Cincinnati’s great players have come in all sizes and positions through the program’s illustrious history.

Read on for a look at the 50 best players ever to don a Bearcat uniform.

50. Brian Williams, 1974-77
1 OF 50
Although Brian Williams was a solid scorer—12 points a game in each of his three seasons in a Cincinnati uniform—it was his defense that really stood out. Williams set a school record (later tied) with 66 steals in a season in 1976-77 (the year the stat became official).

Williams (not to be confused with the Nuggets forward of that name who was later known as Bison Dele) went undrafted and never appeared in the NBA.

Image from gobearcats.com

49. Roland West, 1964-67
2 OF 50
A versatile 6’4” swingman, Roland West led Cincinnati in assists in his first season of varsity ball. The next year, he averaged 9.4 rebounds a game to lead the team in that category

West managed to get picked in the 20th round of the draft, back when there was such a thing, but played only four NBA games for the Baltimore Bullets (now the Wizards).

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48. Phil Wheeler, 1953-56
3 OF 50
Typical for his era, 6’4” Phil Wheeler was an outstanding post player who averaged 10.4 rebounds a game for his Bearcats career. His bigger legacy, though, was his scoring, as he became the first Cincinnati player to average 20 points a game for a season.

Although Wheeler was drafted by the Warriors in the fourth round, he never made an NBA roster.

Image from gobearcats.com

47. Lance Stephenson, 2009-10
4 OF 50
One of the few one-and-done players in Bearcat history, Lance Stephenson made an immediate impression with his athleticism. The 6’5” SG averaged 12.3 points and 5.4 rebounds a game in his lone season in Cincinnati.

As a rookie with the Pacers last season, Stephenson appeared in only 12 games, but he did average 1.8 assists in just 9.6 minutes a night.

46. Field Williams, 2000-04
5 OF 50
Field Williams wasn’t the most physical guard—at 6’7”, he averaged just 2.4 rebounds in his best season—but he certainly knew how to shoot. Williams holds the career record at Cincinnati with a .401 shooting percentage from three-point range.

Williams’ one-dimensional style evidently didn’t appeal to NBA scouts, as he went undrafted and never played in the league.

45. Tony Bobbitt, 2002-04
6 OF 50
A dangerous player on both ends of the floor, juco transfer Tony Bobbitt drained 127 three-pointers in just two seasons as a Bearcat. He also tied a school record with eight steals in a game against Coppin State as a senior.

Bobbitt went undrafted out of school, and the sum total of his NBA career consisted of two games as a Laker in 2004.

44. LaZelle Durden, 1992-95
7 OF 50
LaZelle Durden was a fairly one-dimensional player, but what a dimension it was. The designated sniper stands fourth in school history in three-pointers made (260) and third in shooting percentage from beyond the arc (.385).

As sweet as Durden’s shooting stroke was, the rest of his game couldn’t cut it with pro scouts. He went undrafted and never played in the NBA.

Image from gobearcats.com

43. Donald Little, 1999-02
8 OF 50
Donald Little wasn’t the player to turn to for a clutch basket, considering that he averaged a paltry 5.0 points per game in four years at Cincinnati. On defense, though, the 6’10” Little was a rock, finishing fourth in program history with 153 career blocks.

Unfortunately for Little, the NBA wasn’t as tolerant of his lack of scoring ability, and he never played in the league.

42. Keith LeGree, 1994-96
9 OF 50
The rare player who transfers to one of his team’s fiercest rivals, Keith LeGree arrived in Cincinnati after two seasons at Louisville. He made a splash with his new team, racking up 189 assists in his senior year (the highest total for any Bearcat not named Oscar Robertson).

LeGree went into coaching after the NBA showed no interest in him. He served as a Cincinnati assistant under his former coach, Bob Huggins, for five seasons.

41. Darnell Burton, 1993-97
10 OF 50
Darnell Burton may not have been quite the defensive force that many Bearcat guards have been, but he could certainly score.

The 6’2” guard is 11th on the school’s all-time list with 1,584 points, and he ranks second in both three-pointers made (306) and three-point percentage (.394).

Despite his impressive career totals, Burton never averaged more than 14 points a game as a Bearcat. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he went undrafted and never appeared in the NBA.

40. Wayne Stevens, 1955-58
11 OF 50
Though he was just 6’3”, Wayne Stevens was an impressive rebounder as a power forward. He led the Bearcats with 13.9 boards a game in 1955-56, and his inside presence helped Cincinnati make its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance in 1958.

Like many Bearcats, Stevens landed with the hometown Cincinnati Royals (now the Kings) as a pro. Unfortunately for him, he lasted just eight games in the NBA.

Image from gobearcats.com

39. Damon Flint, 1993-97
12 OF 50
Damon Flint arrived at Cincinnati with a tough act to follow, succeeding Nick Van Exel at the point for the Bearcats. He made the most of his opportunity, though, leading the team in blocks (once) and steals (twice) in his four seasons and dishing out 407 assists, fifth-most in program history.
Lloyd Batts Jersey Signed

Despite his versatility, Flint wasn’t considered an NBA-level athlete at the PG position. He went undrafted and never played in the league.

Greg Lee Jersey Signed

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Consensus Men’s Greg Lee Basketball National Player of the Year Zion Williamson has been selected as the 2018-19 Male Athlete of the Year in the Atlantic Coast Conference, as voted upon by a select media panel (82 voters).

Williamson, who earned the 66th Anthony J. McKevlin Award as the conference’s premier male athlete, is the 16th Duke player to earn the award – the most in league history. Williamson led Duke to the 2019 ACC Men’s Basketball Championship, an Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and a 32-6 overall record.

“The McKevlin Award is the premier athletic honor in the ACC, and there was no one more deserving this season than Zion,” said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. “It is an honor for our program, and our institution, to receive the award. Zion represented himself, his family, and our program with class, while having such a tremendous season. I couldn’t be more proud of him, and I know the best is yet to come.”

Williamson finished among the ACC’s top five in seven major statistical categories, including co-leading the ACC in points (22.6 – 15th in NCAA), leading the conference in field goal percentage (.680 – 2nd in NCAA) and offensive rebounds (3.5 – 9th in NCAA). The Spartanburg, South Carolina, native was second in the ACC in steals (2.12), third in rebounds (8.9), third in double-doubles (14) and fifth in blocked shots (1.8).

In addition to earning consensus first-team All-America honors, he was named ACC Player of the Year and ACC Tournament MVP, becoming the first freshman in league history to achieve both in the same season.

The No. 1 overall pick by the New Orleans Pelicans in last month’s 2019 NBA Draft, Williamson was named on 36 ballots to prevail in a tight race over Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, who received 28.

Williamson’s award is the 10th claimed by the Duke men’s basketball program — tying North Carolina men’s basketball for the most by one team, and first since J.J. Redick in 2006.

Field Hockey National Player of the Year Ashley Hoffman of North Carolina won the Mary Garber Award as the ACC’s top female athlete in 2019-20.

The ACC Athlete of the Year Awards are given in memory of distinguished journalists. McKevlin was a sports editor of the Raleigh (North Carolina) News and Observer, while Garber, of the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal, was a pioneer as one of the first female sports journalists in the nation.

Eddie Owens Jersey Signed

He ran his hand over the top of the bar, as if to rekindle a memory or two or a hundred. Or perhaps it was to check for his DNA.

The bar tops and other furnishings at Hardway 8 at 46 S. Water St. in downtown Henderson are reclaimed wood made from bleachers at the old Las Vegas Convention Center — home of the “Hardway Eight,” UNLV’s first Final Four basketball team, as nicknamed by former UNLV sports information director Dominic Clark.

Robert Smith, that 1977 team’s point guard, was asked how much of his blood, sweat and tears might have been absorbed into that bar top, those old bleachers.

“Probably a lot,” said the still fit 64-year-old. “I hit those bleachers quite a few times although Glen (Gondrezick, the team’s star forward known as “Gondo” for his hell-bent style) probably hit them more than me.”

It has been more than 40 years since the first of Jerry Tarkanian’s four NCAA Final Four squads stormed into the national consciousness with frenetic pace and swagger and a one-point loss to North Carolina in the national semifinals at The Omni in Atlanta.

The proprietors of the recently opened sports bar still were decades from being born when the Hardway Eight made their run. But they’ve heard the stories, because people still remember the team that transformed Las Vegas into a sports town.

Chills redux

“Just looking at these pictures, this brings back a lot of old memories,” said Smith, the Rebels’ present day broadcast analyst, who averaged 12.8 points and 6.1 assists and was one of six players from that iconic team drafted by NBA clubs. “And then to see the 0ld Convention Center (bleachers) — when I used to pass by that area, I would get chills.

“This is great to have something like this. What a great idea.”

The bar and grill, which has an industrial, open-air feel with exposed beams and a concrete floor and enough room to run a fast break, not only is an homage to the Hardway Eight but recognizes a lot of Las Vegas’ sports history from that era.

There are posters and framed photographs from the George Foreman vs. Ron Lyle slugfest at the old Caesars Palace sports pavilion, the Caesars Palace Grand Prix and Andre Agassi, when he had a mullet and a bare chest. There’s even a section dedicated to jai alai at the old MGM Grand.

The bar owners are millennials named Lyle Cervenka and Bryant Jane, whose first nod to Las Vegas’ history was rekindling the retro vibe at Starboard Tack off east Sahara. Cervenka is from Philadephia, Jane a native Las Vegan. Both are basketball fans.

They said opening a sports-themed bar was on their short list when they stumbled upon those old bleachers from the Convention Center rotunda where so many cheered Eddie Owens, Reggie Theus, Gondrezick, Lewis Brown, Larry Moffett and the three Smiths — Robert, Sam and Tony, not related.

Bleacher feature

“Honestly, the wood came before everything,” Cervenka said.

He and Jane were strolling around the lumber yard at an architectural design shop called Woodstock when a tarp was pulled back to reveal the old Convention Center bleachers.

“Bryant and I always wanted to open a sports bar,” Cervenka said. “But when we found those bleachers it all kind of came together. This is where this team played, made its name, great story, first Final Four team. That day we gave them a check — you’re not selling these bleachers to anybody else.”

About two years later, Hardway 8 — trendy abbreviation: HW8, as it appears on the marquee — tipped off on Water Street.

“It’s a sports bar, but not an in-your-face sports bar,” Cervanka said, meaning it has 22 beers on tap, including Rolling Rock for the college kids, but also offers more exotic fare, such as the Hardway 8 burger (bacon, sunnyside egg, caramelized red onions, aged cheddar, brandy-mayo ketchup, sesame seed bun) and the Easy Owens (Ketel One Peach Blossom, peach liqueur, lemon, Honey Bubbles sparkling).

“I think you’ll find a Smith-Smith-Smith cocktail coming fairly soon,” Jane said of a concoction that will honor Robert, “Sudden Sam” and Tony.

Perhaps they should call it the Triple Smith, and make it with triple sec.

Like a Hardway Eight fast break, it’s almost guaranteed to make your head spin.

Contact Ron Kantowski at [email protected] or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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Noah Vonleh Jersey Signed

REST OF SEASON OUTLOOK AND POSITION RANK
According to our projection, you can expect Kyle O`Quinn to be a bench player or a good option off the waiver wire. His 564 projected fantasy points puts him at #116 behind Doug McDermott and ahead of Noah Vonleh. He has averaged 8.9 fantasy points in his past 57 games. Our projected per game average is virtually the same. He is projected to average 8.8 fantasy points. His rank based on avg proj (#115) is better than his rank based on total fantasy points. Kyle O`Quinn is expected to come up slightly short of this season-to-date’s #114 fantasy position rank.

REST OF SEASON RANK (F) PROJECTION FANTASY STATS SINCE 2019
#114 Maurice Harkless (5% OWN) 574 FP, 9 per game 954 FP, 60 gp, 15.9 per game (#76)
#115 Doug McDermott (2% OWN) 568 FP, 8.6 per game 791 FP, 77 gp, 10.27 per game (#108)
#116 Kyle O`Quinn 563 FP, 8.8 per game 389 FP, 44 gp, 8.84 per game (#113)
#117 Noah Vonleh (2% OWN) 561 FP, 8.6 per game 1364 FP, 68 gp, 20.06 per game (#55)
#118 Mike Scott (1% OWN) 557 FP, 8.6 per game 863 FP, 79 gp, 10.92 per game (#106)
These projections power SportsLine’s Computer Picks and Fantasy Data. But for contest winning DFS optimal lineups by top experts like Mike McClure visit SportsLine’s new Daily Fantasy Hub.

SIT EM ALERT: KYLE O`QUINN WEEK 6 AND 7 FANTASY OUTLOOK
Kyle O`Quinn is projected for 16.7 fantasy points in 2 games the rest of week which projects to being the #118 ranked forward. This is projected to be a better than average week with more fantasy points per game than he is projected to average per game the rest of the season. He is ranked above Patrick Patterson but behind Harry Giles the rest of the week. Week 7 will be better based on projected rank (#96). He is projected for 33.8 fantasy points.

11/27 TO 12/1 RANK (F) PROJECTION ROS FP PROJ AVG
#116 Noah Vonleh (2% OWN) 17.7 FP, 2 GP 8.6 FP
#117 Harry Giles (4% OWN) 17.2 FP, 2 GP 7.2 FP
#118 Kyle O`Quinn (0% OWN) 16.7 FP, 2 GP 8.8 FP
#119 Patrick Patterson (1% OWN) 16.7 FP, 3 GP 5.4 FP
#120 DeMarre Carroll (2% OWN) 16.7 FP, 3 GP 5.6 FP
12/2 TO 12/8 RANK (F) PROJECTION ROS FP PROJ AVG
#94 Jarrett Culver (31% OWN) 34.6 FP, 3 GP 13.9 FP
#95 Rudy Gay (51% OWN) 34.5 FP, 2 GP 17.1 FP
#96 Kyle O`Quinn (0% OWN) 33.8 FP, 4 GP 8.8 FP
#97 Marquese Chriss (11% OWN) 33.7 FP, 3 GP 10.8 FP
#98 Kenrich Williams (20% OWN) 32.9 FP, 3 GP 10.6 FP
FANTASY PROJECTIONS AND ACTUAL STATS
The tables below show projected stats (totals and averages) for the rest of the season and upcoming weeks. Also included are actual stats from the current and last season.

KYLE O`QUINN FP PTS REB AST 3PM STL+BLK
Rest of ’19-20 563 214 204 73 9.1 47.1
– Per Game (64 Proj) 8.8 3.4 3.2 1.15 0.14 0.74
11/25 to 12/1 (2 Games) 16.7 6.2 6.1 2.2 0.20 1.46
12/2 to 12/8 (4 Games) 33.8 12.6 12.0 4.6 0.40 2.8
’19-20 Season 117 43 43 17 5 9
– Per Game (13 GP) 9.0 3.3 3.3 1.31 0.38 0.69
’18-20 Seasons 389 156 118 56 1 34
– Per Game (44 GP) 8.8 3.5 2.7 1.27 0.02 0.77

T.J. Leaf Jersey Signed

The Utah Jazz (11-6) take on the Indiana Pacers (10-6) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Allen Iverson Tragedy: From Making $200,000,000 To Not Affording A Burger
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Game Time: 7:00PM EST/4:00PM PST on Wednesday, November 27th

TV: FS-IN

Betting Odds: NBA Odds

Live Stream: Watch the game online with fuboTV (free trial). Sign up now for a free seven-day trial. Local viewers watch the live stream on Fox Sports Go. Non-local viewers watch the live stream on NBA League Pass. You can also follow the game live on the ClutchPoints app.

Jazz Active Roster: Dante Exum, Nigel Williams-Goss, Royce O’Neale, Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley Jr., Joe Ingles, Tony Bradley Jr., Bojan Bogdanovic, Emmanuel Mudiay, Ed Davis, Juwan Morgan, Donovan Mitchell, Jeff Green, Georges Niang

Jazz Injured Players:

Nigel Williams-Goss (Day To Day – Toe): The Jazz have listed Williams-Goss as PROBABLE for Wednesday’s game (Nov. 27) against the Pacers.
Rudy Gobert (Day To Day – Ankle): The Jazz have listed Gobert as QUESTIONABLE for Wednesday’s game (Nov. 27) against the Pacers.
Ed Davis (Out – Leg): Davis took part in light drills during Monday’s (Nov 25) practice according to Tony Jones of The Athletic.
Pacers Active Roster: Justin Holiday, Goga Bitadze, Domantas Sabonis, Alize Johnson, T.J. Warren Jr., Myles Turner, Doug McDermott, JaKarr Sampson, Aaron Holiday, Jeremy Lamb, T.J. Leaf, Edmond Sumner, Victor Oladipo, T.J. McConnell Jr., Malcolm Brogdon

Pacers Injured Players:

JaKarr Sampson (Day To Day – Back): The Pacers have listed Sampson as DOUBTFUL for Wednesday’s game (Nov. 27) against the Jazz.
Edmond Sumner (Out – Hand): Sumner is nearing a return from his right hand fracture according to Scott Agness of The Athletic.
Victor Oladipo (Out – Quad): Oladipo is making progress and is starting to train with the team’s G-League affiliate, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. There is no timetable for his return.

Perry Warbington Jersey Signed

Lawrenceville, together with contractor Georgia Development Partners, have begun construction of the 2.2-mile linear park that will connect Georgia Gwinnett College with the city’s downtown district. Road and lane closures are expected for the next several months along Clayton Street, Perry Street and Depot Street in the Downtown and historic Train Depot areas.

“Though traffic will be delayed for a time, with the addition of this roadway, widened lanes in some areas and improved walking amenities, the end result will be a more efficient means of getting from downtown to Hwy 316, the college and other points north and west of the city, said Chuck Warbington, Lawrenceville city manager.

Plans for the 2.2-mile linear park include a two-lane road, multi-use trails, bike paths, roundabouts and landscaping features. The corridor will begin at the intersection of State Route 316 and Collins Hill Road and run parallel to Northdale Road, in between Northdale and North Clayton Streets. Phase One construction is expected to be complete in late fall of 2018.