SHARAUD CURRY PICKS PROVIDENCE

By RICHARD COREN <br> Providence College's good fortunes during the late signing period continue as the Friars receive a much needed commitment from Georgia point guard Sharaud Curry. Curry's addition puts an end to PC's ongoing search for point guard help.

The Friars' first priority this spring was to sign Geoff McDermott, and PC accomplished that last Monday, when McDermott verballed to Providence after participating in JamFest, and then put his name on the dotted line on April 13th.

Priority number two was to ink a true point guard, and the Friars' long search for a point has apparently come to an end with the news that Georgia's Sharaud Curry will sign with the program.

Curry, a 5'9, 160 pound point guard from Wheeler High in Marietta, Georgia, visited Providence this past weekend and experienced firsthand the family atmosphere at the school as he witnessed the season-ending basketball banquet on Friday night, and heard the emotional words of senior Ryan Gomes.

Tim Welsh and assistant Steve DeMeo traveled to Georgia on April 7th to check Curry out and coaches from Purdue also made the trip on that day to work out the diminuative point guard. Rumors were flying after he returned home from his visit to Providence that Curry was set to visit Purdue, but those rumors were quelled when 6'1 junior college All-American point guard Tarrance Crump signed with the Boilermakers on Tuesday. That gave Purdue two point guards in their current class, although high school senior Korey Spates is still waiting on word about his test score. But for all intents, Purdue was out of the running for Curry with Crump's signing. Rumors were also rampant that Wake Forest might get involved after All-American Chris Paul declared for the draft, but that never materialized. Texas A & M and Xavier were also involved.

The Friars scoured the country for point guard help this spring. PC was involved with Chris Lowe (Massachusetts), Mike Gerrity (Pepperdine), and Craig Austrie, who chose Connecticut at the last moment, but may have ended up landing the best player of the bunch. In this case, the Friars' loss to UConn may end up being a big gain.

Curry played at the highest level of basketball in the state of Georgia, the AAAAA league, and was named First Team All-League and league Player of the Year, over other candidates who included Louis Williams and Mike Mercer.

Playing at Wheeler High School also gave Curry, known by the nickname "Smoove", a chance to experience high level winning throughout his high school career. Wheeler has won four state championships in the last thirteen years under the guidance of coach Doug Lipscomb, and Curry played on two of them. In fact, during his career, Wheeler was 13-2 in playoff games.

"Sharaud is special,'' Lipscomb said of his three-year starter at point guard, Sharaud Curry, in an interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "That's a kid that's been to the final four [as a starter] three out of his four years in high school, been on a national championship AAU team. He's right up there.''

And then coach begins a list of Division I signees from Wheeler: "Shareef [Abdur-Rahim], D.A. Layne, Antuwan Dixon, Amir [Abdur-Rahim]. And I could go on and on.''

Curry scored 1874 points at Wheeler, third on the school's career list, and also had 530 assists. As a junior, Curry averaged 24.3 points, and although his average fell to 20.7 points per game as a senior, that was more a result of Sharaud's improvement in distributing the ball. He averaged over 7 assists per game as a senior.

Curry is reportedly an excellent three point shooter, who is also adept at getting into the paint and dishing the rock. A pesky defender, Curry has played for the Atlanta Celtics AAU squad, and has been a winner at every level. Sharaud has a reputation as a clutch three point shooter, sees the court well, and is very quick.

So why was Sharaud Curry still available in April?

As Scout.com recruiting analyst Dave Telep remarked last week on The Score, "Most of the players who are still available in the late signing period are players who have issues. Either academics, or in the case of point guards, many of the points still out there are small."

In Curry's case, both issues played a part in his late recruitment. Up until last weekend, Curry was still a little shy on his test score, and his listed height of 5'9 is probably with sneakers on. There have been unconfirmed reports that Curry has acheived his score, and Friar Insider believes that he has, but there is no masking his size.

Still, Curry is an extremely talented point guard, and there is no measuring heart. The Friars have landed a winner, and along with the McDermott signing, may have scored two of college basketball's biggest steals here in the late signing period.

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