Friar Weekly: January 29

It hit me about half-way through the first half against Connecticut. Sharaud Curry might be the best player on PC right now.

In a season of inconsistency, Curry has been a constant. Listed at (ahem) 5'10, the freshman from Gainesville, GA seems to never miss his patented floater in the lane, is a terror if left open from 18 feet, buzzes around for an occassional rebound, and most importantly has provided a stabilizing presence for a young squad.

Saturday's effort against UConn was classic Sharaud Curry. In 38 minutes against the athletic and powerful #1 team in the country, Sharaud scored 15 points, grabbed 5 offensive rebounds, and did not turn the ball over once against a team dying to get out and run against the Friars.

The stats are nice, but it is the attitude that Curry brings to PC that makes him such a big get for Tim Welsh and his staff. From the minute he has stepped on campus, Curry has closed his mouth, absorbed coaching, took the ball with confidence, and played hard.

The heart of Providence seemed to be ripped out with the season-ending four game losing streak of 2003-04. The Friars lost their composure and confidence against Pittsburgh and no one grabbed the ball and decided that Providence would not end their season that way.

This attitude trickled over into the next season, with PC losing game after game in the final two minutes. Every loose ball, big rebound, or clutch shot went the other way.

As I watched him Saturday and thought back to games like November's loss to Florida I realize Curry is a different breed of Friar. As Providence was getting trounced by the Gators, Curry battled to turn a horrible loss into a respectable one. What could have been a 25 point drubbing ended up being a 10 point defeat, as Curry scored 20 points in the second half to keep it respectable.

A loss is a loss, but something was established that night. Providence's tiny point guard will not roll over.

Friar fans hope this will mark a turning point for the program. There are good players and there are winners. Sharaud Curry is a winner. Being undersized will keep you out of top 100 rankings and get you signed in the spring sometimes, but maybe that is the turn this program needs to take.

Welsh's eye for talent has not been the question. The ability to bring in players that are going to fit into his system is another question. The coach cannot be blamed for bringing in talents like Gerald Brown and Dwight Brewington, everyone was on board with those signings when they came about, but it appears as though he is now signing players of a different calibur.

This being said, Sharaud Currys do not grow on trees. We should not make the mistake of believing that there are several players like him out there just because he was a spring signing. Curry is a unique talent, a competitor who we can all enjoy watching for the next four years. Enjoy the show.

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