USA: JamesOn Curry Spotlight

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The 2002 USA Basketball Youth Development Festival will prove to be a valuable learning experience for JamesOn Curry.

Above all else, he's learned that while he still has room for improvement, he is more than capable of holding his own among the best juniors and seniors in the nation.

His scoring tools are well known, but here in Colorado Springs he has impressed with the other aspects of his game, averaging 4.7 assists, 8.0 rebounds and a couple of steals, while being one of the team leaders in playing time.

"I think [the playing time is] because of his skill level and his fundamentals, being able to recognize the defense and create space for himself and others," said his head coach at Eastern Alamance, John Moon, who accompanied Curry to the Festival. "Everybody gets caught up in JamesOn's ability to score so many points, but his passing is as good as his shooting. With his court vision and court awareness, he could play point, if that's what the need is, but I think with his offensive skills … his shooting will carry him to a high level and his passing ability will create the situation where you could run him at the point for some minutes if you needed to."

But this week, the long range shots aren't falling at a rate that Curry is accustomed to. The 15.6 points-per-game average thus far would be much higher if he wasn't a mere 3-for-22 from beyond the arc.

"Yeah, he hasn't been shooting the three well," Moon said. "I don't think he's taking bad shots, they're just not going in. If you're a shooter, you're going to have those days."

And after Curry's South squad lost on Saturday morning, with him missing his five three-point attempts, the rising junior showed signs of frustration.

"It's been a whole different role for him this week," said analyst Dave Telep. "They've gone with JamesOn as a point, a role that is a little bit different than what he thought it would be. Today he did some good things – he makes a concerted effort to think and act like a point guard. For every two things he does right, he might make a bad decision. You've got to give him a lot of credit because he's trying to make a role switch against the top level of competition."

With the college decision process now over, Curry will be able to focus the next two years on developing and improving aspects of his game.

And he'll also find time to try and bring some other high school stars with him to Chapel Hill.

"He's trying pretty hard to get me to go to Carolina," said David Padgett, Curry's roommate. "He's telling me ‘You need to come to Carolina, it's the best spot for you' and all that stuff."

"I'm trying everything to get him," Curry said. "I told him that we're going to be unstoppable."

Convincing Padgett to choose Carolina will be a tough task, but Curry thinks he has fared better in his recruitment of Brian Johnson.

"Yeah, I got him," he said, looking around the gym for the star 2004 power forward. "He said he's coming. He's just going to take some visits."

Curry is so eager to be a Tar Heel that he plans to head up to UNC after the USA Festival to play some pickup with the newly enrolled freshmen.

"I'm going to go there when we get back for a few days," he said, "and I'm definitely going to go there after Nike Camp."

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