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Jul 5 2004

Krzyzewski, Duke, Lakers, North Carolina, JamesOn Curry and OSU

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University basketball coach in Durham, North Carolina, today turned down a contract to coach the Los Angeles Lakers for $40 million over five years in order to stay with the school he loves and which loves him.

In twenty-four years of coaching at Duke, Krzyzewski has a 621-181 record, leading the Blue Devils to championships in 1991, 1992 and 2001, with 10 Final Four appearances, eight Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championships, 10 conference regular-season titles and No. 1 ranking in 12 seasons, including each of the last seven. Perhaps more importantly, during Krzyzewskis time with the Blue Devils, all but two Duke players that played four seasons have graduated.

Coach K is a classy guy who has consistently produced quality players with character. Just a dozen miles down the road in Chapel Hill, there is another school and coach with equal class.

The University of North Carolina Tar Heels are now coached Roy Williams formerly coach of the Kansas Jayhawks. (Dean Smith was coach of North Carolina for 36 years from 1961-97.) Earlier this year, former Tar Heel coach, Matt Doherty, had signed the all-time leading points scorer in North Carolina high school history, JamesOn Curry, to join the team in the fall of 2004.

But, in April of 2004, Curry pleaded guilty to six felony drug charges for possession, intent to sell, and distribution of marijuana to an undercover officer at his high school resulting in 36 months of probation, 200 hours of community service and various fines. In other words, Curry was dealing drugs to children. North Carolina coach Roy Williams immediately rescinded Curry's scholarship.

Curry's attorney, Dawn Allen, said "He never had problems before at school." Which to be true, you would have to believe a perfectly normal well-behaved law-abiding high school student suddenly, out of nowhere, starts selling marijuana one day to other children. No, the truth of the matter is obviously that this was merely the first time that Curry was caught.

The story should continue on with Curry going in shame to some unknown junior college desperate for a talented player regardless of his background where, if he kept his nose clean, might be allowed a chance to play in Division I again in two years. The message would be sent to hopeful players everywhere, stay away from drugs or else there will be consequences and Curry would still have the opportunity to play ball and show that his felony drug convictions were an anomaly.

Unfortunately, life doesn't always make that much sense. Instead, after North Carolina yanked Curry's scholarship, the ever opportunistic Oklahoma State coached by Eddie Sutton jumped on Curry's availability and signed him up to play for the OSU Cowboys. While Sutton, of course, spun the signing of Curry as an opportunity to provide Curry with a more nurturing environment far away from his troubles in North Carolina, blah, blah, blah. In reality, it was a clear grab of a talented player without regard to the impact on that player or the message it sends to kids in similar situations around the country. It was also consistent with Sutton's own checkered past in which he previously coached at Kentucky, but was forced to resign after being placed on probation for recruiting violations, and was then offered the coaching position at OSU.

All the victories in the world will never put Oklahoma State and Eddie Sutton in the same ranks as Duke and North Carolina. I hope Curry turns his life around, but I also hope OSU and Sutton are not rewarded for their classless actions.

Posted by Don |

7 Comments

  1. #1
    Maggie said on July 5, 2005 | Reply

    I hope you watched JamesOn this year play for the cowboys. He is a great player and more importantly a great guy. He goes to class and makes good grades. Just because Eddie decided to give JamesOn a second chance with a zero tolerence policy does not mean that the University or Eddie Sutton have no class.

  2. #2
    Don said on July 11, 2005 | Reply

    WOW...do you and I ever have different definition of what qualifies someone to be a "great guy." My definition does not include someone who just a year or so ago sold drugs to children.

    I do hope what you say about JamesOn going to class, making good grades and turning his life around is true. I wish the best for him (except for any hoops title as I'd like to see that reserved for kids who, when faced with difficult situations, chose to make the right decisions).

    You cannot ignore the fact that OSU and Sutton's actions help send the message to kids who might right now be in a situation similar to that which Curry was in and they have given those kids no reason to stop selling drugs and doing other illegal activity that will likely screw up their lives because they know if they get caught some classless school and coach will give them another chance, or so they hope.

    If JamesOn had been forced to go the Junior College route I described in my post, he would still have been given the opportunity to turn his life around and kids would learn that there are consequence to making poor choices...everybody wins. Well, everybody wins but OSU and Sutton. So instead, they step in, grab JamesOn, and send the false message to kids headed down the wrong path that there are no consequences to their actions. North Carolina could have put Curry on all kinds of double-secret probation but instead they chose to sacrifice their program in order to do the right thing.

    Just as we disagree on what constitutes a "great guy," I guess we'll have to disagree on what constitutes class.

  3. #3
    Brad said on July 19, 2005 | Reply

    Well - speaking for all the perfect people out there, I can't believe Curry was given a second chance. For those of you too dim to realize, that was sarcasm (probably the same group who think Eddie Sutton has no class). JamesOn Curry is not the first player Eddie has given a second chance to. Notice, I said SECOND chance - not third or fourth. Some second chances have worked out, some have not. There have been players on his team that were already on their second chance and messed up again. They were NOT at Oklahoma State afterwards.

    JamesOn has done EVERYTHING that was required of him and MORE. Do you think he could reach more people at an NAIA school than he can taking advantage of his second chance at Oklahoma State?

    Unfortunately, if you think as much of Mike Krzyzewski as you seem to, I'm probably wasting my breath (or typing as it were). This is a guy that refuses to take responsibility for anything - unless, of course, it makes him look good. Look at the 94-95 basketball season: Coack K was having a bad year (Duke went 13-18) so he sits out most of the season citing an injury and then insists that year be stricken from his win-loss totals. I should probably quit now because these examples could go on for days.

    I guess to sum up, there is nothing wrong with giving second chances. If the need arises, I guarantee that Eddie will cut JamesOn loose. I, for one, am glad to see JamesOn take advantage of his second chance. If, however, he proves he can't handle it, he should be cut loose.

  4. #4
    antonio currie said on October 27, 2005 | Reply

    jamesON CURRY , is a great guy and is doing very well...

  5. #5
    Don said on November 4, 2005 | Reply

    I agree, none of us are perfect. But, all of us non-JamesOn types suffer real consequences for our actions. If you or I sold drugs to children or choked our boss (Latrell Sprewell/PJ Carlesimo) we'd be off to junior college or out of a job in an instant.

    Curry wasn't given a "second chance." A "second chance" would have been, as I suggested, being given the opportunity to still play at some junior college. What JamesOn was given was complete absolution for his actions...he suffered no significant consequence other than changing schools which Brad, above, would argue is actually a benefit because Coach Sutton is such a better guy than Krzyzewski/Doherty/Williams.

    Brad asked: "Do you think he could reach more people at an NAIA school than he can taking advantage of his second chance at Oklahoma State?" No, I think at a junior college he'd reach fewer people with the right message than he will at OSU with the wrong message...that it's OK to sell drugs to children, or gang bang, or whatever other trouble kids can get into because you'll get what Brad calls a "second chance." In other words, don't worry, there won't be any significant consequences to your actions.

    In response to antonio...again as I said in my first comment, WOW...do you and I ever have different definition of what qualifies someone to be a "great guy." My definition does not include someone who just a two years or so ago sold drugs to children. Even if he's completely turned his life around, at best, he could only be on his way to being a great guy.

    As to JamesOn "doing very well," I sincerely hope so. From the beginning, I have said, "I hope Curry turns his life around." I wish nothing but the best for the young man. I am simply decrying the typical double-standard treatment which he and other athletes receive and which sends a horrible message to kids that may find themselves in a similarly difficult position of trying to decide what action to take in life. The treatment of JamesOn by North Carolina gives such kids the incentive to make the right decision while the treatment of JamesOn by OSU gives them the incentive to make the wrong decision.

  6. #6
    Charles said on May 1, 2006 | Reply

    Don, you are a [edit] idiot. First of all, you stated that the fact is that it was the first time JamesOn was caught, and that he did not just make one mistake. I just want to tell you that you are an idiot because i know JamesOn Curry and he "is" a good kid... Bottom line! He does deserve a second chance. I am from the same town and have spoken with him a couple of times and he made a bad decision, that is all, move on [edit]. Anyways, the kid has always been a good kid in our hometown and always been a good student and has always been humble and nice to everyone who came in contact with him. Listen, stop worrying about other people you do not know and worry about "you" being a perfect person. Don't worry about JamesOn, he will be alright, the fact is it is people like you who have given him hell on earth and do not even know all of the facts in the situation. Also, it is not your place to judge people, even if you are a novice sports writer, you still do not have the right, son!

  7. #7
    Don said on May 1, 2006 | Reply

    Charles, first, you do not help your argument by the use of profanity or name calling. Second, lets start with something that we can agree on, an objective fact: JamesOn Curry plead guilty to six felony drug charges.

    From that fact you go on to state, "the kid has always been a good kid in our hometown and always been a good student." (Emphasis added.) It is here that we must disagree. Someone who is a good kid and a good student does not commit at least six felony drug crimes.

    In my head I picture a Venn diagram with a circle on the left comprised of all people who have committed at least six felony drug crimes and a circle on the right comprised of all people who have always been good kids and good students. The circles do not intersect. There are no people who are both guilty of six felony drug crimes and always a good kid and always a good student.

    You take issue with the fact that I said it was the first time JamesOn was caught. It was, in fact, the first time he was caught. You said he made only one mistake. Well, we know he made at least six felony sized mistakes. As to whether these were his first mistakes, I honestly don't know. But, as I said before, if they were his first mistakes, "you would have to believe a perfectly normal well-behaved law-abiding high school student suddenly, out of nowhere, starts selling marijuana one day to other children." If you want to believe that...fine.

    You also state that: "He does deserve a second chance." Again as I have said before, Curry wasn't given a "second chance." A "second chance" would have been being given the opportunity to still play at some junior college. What JamesOn was given was complete absolution for his actions...he suffered no significant consequence other than changing schools which Brad, above, would argue is actually a benefit because Coach Sutton is such a better guy than Krzyzewski/Doherty/Williams.

    You also told me to, "stop worrying about other people." Maybe you could take this message to heart and not worry about me and what I write on my own blog. After all, it's not like I'm selling drugs to children.

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