Ronald Curry Revisited

Whether you consider yourself a fan of Ronald Curry or not, do yourself a favor and watch the special being aired several times by ESPN on this exceptional athlete. If you miss it when it is aired and you ever get the chance to view it on tape, it will be well worth your time. It's that good.

It's not that RC is presented as the best athlete to ever live, rather it presents in sympathetic form the story of his emergence as one of the best high school athletes ever to his current status of today which varies depending on who you are talking to.

I remember how pleased I was when I learned that RC was coming to Carolina but quite frankly, I had grown tired of all the publicity he had received in Virginia. The Virginia General Assembly even passed a resolution asking RC to attend college in the Commonwealth. Not that his exploits were limited to Virginia but, naturally, he was extolled more in his own state. UVA fans were sure that RC would wear a Cavalier uniform and some even chartered busses to attend some of his games in Hampton. Mike Smith, the Coach of the Hampton Crabbers, had established himself as a conduit for his players to attend UVA and the crowning moment was to be when he delivered RC to Charlottesville. I almost had a heart attack when it was announced at the UVA-Fla. State game on national TV while the recruiting was still going on that RC and two of his teammates from Hampton were going to attend UVA. As it turned out, Smith had brought the three players to Charlottesville for the game but had neglected to inform Bobby Blizzard's parents that their son was going to verbal to Virginia. As it turns out Blizzard attended the University of Kentucky for two years and is now a Tar Heel and, of course, Curry later opted to attend Carolina.

I have never seen such venom directed at an athlete as was aimed at RC by UVA fans when they learned he was going to attend Carolina. There were a couple of factors in his recruitment that, to some extent, caused these hard feelings. He later admitted that he verballed to UVA to get the recruiters off his back . Bad move. if you are not sure and particularly if you are thinking of attending another school in the vicinity, then don't verbal. It wouldn't have been nearly as bad if he had gone to Nebraska, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, or even Florida State. The overriding problem, however, was that RC did not have anyone advising him that had his interests above theirs. The basketball coach at Hampton was at odds with the football coach about where he should go and then there was the shoe company.

Now I don't know anything about the role played by Nike in RC's recruitment other than what I have read. UVA fans insist that Nike influenced RC to go to Carolina and even refer to specific meetings, locations, etc. The only way I have been able to deal with Wahoo's on this matter is to invite them to report UNC to the NCAA if we have done anything illegal. They generally don't respond when I say that. On the TV program, Phil Ford says that RC told Carolina that he wanted us to continue recruiting him after he verballed and that is what we did. They want to connect Ford with Nike. There is a world of difference between continuing to recruit an athlete after he has verballed and he indicates it is firm and continuing to recruit a player after he has verballed and he indicates that he wants you to continue recruiting him.

I have always thought RC looked sad. Even when he made his official visit to Carolina for a basketball game and he was shown on tv, he didn't look like he was having a good time. If this is true, there may be reasons for it. He was born to a couple who were 16 and 14 at the time of his birth and he was raised by his grandmother in Hampton. When she had a stroke and could no longer care for RC, she arranged for him to live with a neighbor known as "Big Mama. His father is now serving a life sentence in Virginia for bank robbery and rape. Enough to cause one to take a rather somber attitude towards life.

His career at Carolina has been, to say the least, disappointing both to him and to many Carolina fans. As Woody Durham said on the tv documentary, there is no way that he could have lived up to

expectations. Fate dealt him a bum hand when he was pressed into service as a quarterback in the first few minutes of the opening game with Miami of Ohio. When Oscar Davenport went down with a leg injury, he became the quarterback. It was said that he didn't even know all of the plays when he entered the game but it probably didn't matter because the offensive line play was so bad that he had to run for his life on practically every play.

Then there was the injury at Georgia Tech which required a lengthy period of rehabilitation not to mention that he has played under three different offensive coordinators during his tenure on the team. I have supported RC during his entire stay at Carolina but there have been times when even I had to question if he was the best person to be playing. Coach Bunting commendably speaks of loyalty and the fact that RC had "earned" the right to play. Unfortunately, loyalty is a two edged sword and I have to wonder what effect this approach will have on recruits who are considering Carolina and who want to play as soon as possible.

This brings us the part that the TV program presents so well. Through all of this, RC has never complained and he has never done anything to bring discredit on the team or the University. He doesn't

"showboat" when he does something good and I have to believe the way he conducts himself is one of the reasons he was elected one of the Captains of this year's team. He is engaged now and actually looks contented with his life even though it hasn't turned out, to this point, as he visualized it. He still has two years to develop as a basketball player but for him to make a living at it, he has got to develop a jump shot and the clock is running.

I, for one, am glad that RC came to Carolina and I will be proud to have him join us as an alumnus in the near future. I just wish things could have worked out better for him in football and we'll see what happens in basketball.

After reading this, I don't think I have done the tv program justice and, again, I urge you to see it if you have the opportunity.