Changing of the guards

Friar Insider recently had the opportunity to speak with incoming freshmen guards Sharaud Curry and Weyinmi Efejuku after a late night scrimmage in Alumni Hall.

With three-year starter Donnie McGrath entering his senior season, the Providence coaching staff has added two freshmen guards to add some much needed depth to the Friar backcourt, which they hope will pay dividends now and for years to come. The two freshmen, Sharaud Curry and Weyinmi Efejuku, both played point guard in their high school years but are different in many respects as players.

Due much in part to his size, Weyinmi Efejuku has been referred to as everything from a small forward to a shooting guard, but the 6'5 and 205lb player is clear about his position on the court. "I play the point almost all the time; that was my position at Brewster (Academy) and I think that will be my role here at PC too. I can play the two guard, but point guard basically is my position", stated Efejuku. Jason Smith, the Brewster head coach, in a interview with stated, "…when Tim Welsh came in for an open gym and he saw Weyinmi making passes and setting people up, he looked right at me and said, ‘He's a point guard, not a combo and not a two guard. He's a point,'" Smith said.

Efejuku has good size and strength for a point guard, and uses a quick first step to get by defenders and score, even after contact. When asked to describe his style of play, Efejuku stated, "I'm used to going up and down the court, playing fast…and I feel confident about taking the ball to the basket. This summer I've been really focusing on making my shooting more consistent, particularly off the dribble."

Shooting off the dribble seems to be the staple of Sharaud Curry's floor game. At 5'-10, 160 lbs, Curry uses his quickness to create space for himself and hit pull up jump shots from all over the floor. He's at his best in the open court where he can force the tempo and either distribute the ball or finish at the basket, often employing the glass using tough angles.

"I've been working on pushing the ball up court and finding teammates whenever I can," said Curry. In the half court, Curry is more patient with his penetration, and will more often use his solid three point shooting ability to score. Despite winning the Georgia State Championship in impressive fashion with his Wheeler team, Curry feels that he needs to adjust his game to the increased size and speed of the Big East. "Everyone is good at this level, so you need to think about putting yourself in the best situation to succeed." Curry stated.

When asked how they expected they might handle themselves defensively against Big East players, both guards weighed in. "I'm working on my on the ball defense, and John Linehan has agreed to work with me on that", stated Curry. "I think that will help prepare me for what I will need to do defensively," he continued. As for Efejuku, he felt that the New England Prep League prepared him well in most aspects for what he will encounter in the Big East. "I played in a very competitive league," said Efejuku, "…maybe the best in the country, and there were a lot talented players who have gone on to Division One programs there. I hope that experience gave me a good enough good idea of what to expect in the Big East. I'm looking forward to the competition."

On this particular evening, 1990 Providence graduate and former NBA journey man Marty Conlon was in Alumni Hall teaching footwork to some of the front court players while others worked on their shooting. Dwight Brewington, looking healthier than he's been in months, was again displaying his patented explosive drives to the basket. It's been a hot summer thus far, and the two freshmen guards have about a week more of summer classes and scrimmaging with teammates before they can rest up for their freshman year.

"I've been here since June 20th, so I've had time to get used to the new surroundings and my teammates", said Curry. "Many of the best players I knew back in Georgia and surrounding area are playing in the SEC or ACC, but I'm really looking forward to the new Big East and competing against all the great teams in this league." Growing up in New York, Weyinmi Efejuku, looks forward in anticipation to competing against some of his old Brewster teammates and other basketball acquaintances that are now sprinkled throughout the Big East Conference. "Well, I know I'll be seeing Brewster teammates Chad Millard at Louisville and Jeff Adrien at Connecticut so that is something I'm definitely looking forward to", stated Efejuku.

Two new guards, with two somewhat different styles of play. It's still unclear how Tim Welsh will incorporate his new guards into the Friar rotation. However, given the lack of depth that Providence has had in the backcourt and seemingly yearly recurrence of untimely injuries, it is expected that both Efejuku and Curry will see the floor throughout the upcoming basketball season in various combinations. Friar Insider looks forward to following the careers of these two talented additions to the Providence basketball program.

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