Versatile forward makes rapid progress in 2015

Arkansas native Eric Curry transformed from relatively obscure prospect into a major conference priority. How did it happen in the course of a few months? Curry’s story embodies the importance of improvement, evaluation and, most of all, patience.

Introduction

Not everyone can be a phenom. Most of our top 100 prospects in a given class self-identified at an early age, but Eric Curry’s story didn’t kick into effect until the current recruiting cycle.

Most viewed Curry as a regional talent prior to that point, but even in the early spring he generally did not show up on many high-major target boards. That all changed over a few months, however, when Curry shone for the Arkansas Wings on the EYBL circuit alongside elite teammate Malik Monk and others.

The athletic hybrid forward accumulated multiple offers during the July evaluation period, based on his play both at the Peach Jam and the Lawson/Oladipo Camp. Before the month closed he’d drawn offers from SMU, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Alabama, Saint Louis and Minnesota.

Curry earned the No. 96 national ranking in the 2016 class, an impressive achievement considering that he essentially built his resume from scratch. He ultimately boiled down his list of finalists to the Razorbacks, Gophers and Cyclones prior to choosing Richard Pitino's fast-rising program.

Assets

Curry’s greatest contribution right now simply may be his activity. He’s an energetic and highly competitive performer who hustled even at individual camp settings. He clearly has not been coddled and illustrated in July how he was able to gain esteem with college coaches so quickly.

He also boasts impressive versatility. He’s by no means polished offensively, but he does showcase enough tools that suggest he’ll one day become an outside-in scorer.

Curry scored double digits for the Wings and averaged seven rebounds per game as well, proving to be a workhorse and very reliable contributor. In five games at the Peach Jam, for example, his lowest scoring total was eight points and his highest was 13 points. You know exactly what to expect, he delivers effort and production, even if he doesn’t put a bow around any 25-point games.

He shot 52 percent in 21 games with the Wings, solid efficiency for a guy who’s still learning to play outside-in. He even shot 75 percent from the free throw line, a potential harbinger of things to come in terms of shooting touch. He also possesses a quick first step and thrives when attacking from the baseline.

Curry may project best on defense, at least for his underclassman years in college. At 6-8 and blessed with ample athleticism, he covers a great deal of ground, contests shooters and passers and moves his feet quickly on the perimeter.

Deficits

He still must work hard on his ballhandling and his jump shot. At 6-8, Curry has fine size for the collegiate power forward spot but long-term would like to be able to play at range. He doesn’t have the body type or style of a back to the basket scorer, so polishing his work facing the bucket will be his emphasis for the next few years.

For that reason his scoring output as a freshman and sophomore may be limited, hence the comment above about defense being his specialty upon matriculating to college.

Outlook

Given his athleticism, size, solid frame and defensive versatility, Curry should be able to earn playing time his freshman season. He also may become an effective transition scorer and clean-up man, while also gradually incorporating more aggressive offense within halfcourt settings.

He projects as a multi-year player and likely two-year starter, at the minimum, depending upon the roster situation and team’s needs. Curry also possesses the potential to play professionally somewhere, and especially if he continues to make such substantial gains relative to his peers in the 2016 class.


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