NBPA: JamesOn Curry

RICHMOND, Va. -- JamesOn Curry can't seem to escape the prep school debate. As he prepares to break the state scoring record his senior season at Eastern Alamance, the question follows him.

Would he be better off at a basketball factory prep school like Oak Hill Academy (Va.)?

The argument for such a change is obvious -- better competition on a daily basis in games and practices will better prepare him for college hoops at the ACC level.

The argument against includes a few different factors.

But ask the future Tar Heel his opinion on the matter and he'll give you a succinct response.

"Two words: Raymond Felton," he said Friday at the NBPA Top 100 Camp.

Felton spent his high school career leading tiny Latta (S.C.) to state championships, and in his freshman season at UNC last year earned third-team All-ACC.

Curry is admittedly not at Felton's super-elite level, but he does share the same commitment to his community and family - which is something that would be lost were he to head to Oak Hill's remote location of Mouth of Wilson, Va.

And it's not like he isn't getting exposure to top talent each spring and summer. For the second straight year, Curry is headed to the nation's best events.

Such as the NBPA Top 100 Camp last week, at which he showed improvement over the course of the camp.

"From the first game to today, I think he's gotten better -- gotten acclimated with the level of talent," said John Moon, Curry's head coach at Eastern, who accompanies him at the summer events. "He's been shooting the ball better, setting up other players. I think he's had a good week, but to be in this environment before his senior year can only make him better."

From a statistical standpoint, he finished the week in the middle of the pack at 6.7 points per game and a high of 11 points in the first round of the playoffs.

Curry shared the backcourt with point guard Jason Horton and wing Alex Galindo, so he was unable to assume the role of either floor general or sharpshooter.

"I just felt like through the week he didn't look comfortable enough," said recruiting analyst Rob Matera, of All Star Sports. "He was the third perimeter option on his team and that had something to do with it. He appeared pressured to make something happen whenever he had the ball and that's when things don't happen -- when you don't play in the flow of the game."

"The thing I like about his game is that he can beat guys off the dribble and get into the lane," Matera continued. "I think his perimeter shooting is streaky right now -- but shot selection had a lot to do with it. He needs to get a little stronger, but I like his first step, his burst and his ability to get into the lane and get the ball to the rim.

"I think it's going to take him some time to play at Carolina. Right now he's a two, but maybe if he worked on becoming a one that might be a better spot for him. We liken him to Shammond Williams, that in his third of fourth year he's a major contributor, but not right away."

However, there's little difference between point guard and shooting guard in Roy Williams' offense, as was explained in Curry's meeting with the new UNC coaching staff in the spring.

When asked what position he'll play at Carolina, Curry explained the unimportance of a specific backcourt title.

"I'll just be a guard," he said. "They don't really have a point guard, just guards who get the ball and run, run, run. That's why I'm working on my handle more."

Thus ball handling will be one of the keys to early playing time in Chapel Hill. Last week in Richmond, problems with the handle were not apparent.

"I've seen only two or three turnovers that have come from ballhandling," Moon said near the end of the camp. "He knows his strengths and weaknesses and he's working on the weaknesses this summer. As he has become stronger and more mature, he's become a much better player."

While the NBPA Top 100 Camp consisted of elite competition, Curry will fly to Colorado Springs later this week for the even more prestigious USA Basketball Youth Development Festival, which he also attended last year.

The rest of his summer plans include Nike Camp, Five Star Camp and the AAU Nationals with his new Kappa Magic team, after a not-so-pretty divorce from the North Carolina Gaters.

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