Every situation is an opportunity to learn. These are words that describe sophomore point guard Ron Curry and his experience thus far with the Dukes of JMU. His ability to adapt to various situations and continue to grow and learn has served the New Jersey native in his second season.
Curry grew up in the gyms in New Jersey. “I always was going to my sister’s games and I was the little kid following my big sisters around.”
His sister Letitia played at Seton Hall and is currently a coach at Bethune-Cookman. In addition to the influence of his older sisters, Curry comes from an athletic family, his father, Ronald Curry, Sr. is a former linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles. “My dad pushed me. Even though he didn’t play basketball, he pushed me to be a better basketball player.”
After landing a scholarship to JMU, Curry joined the Dukes’ highly-touted freshman class of 2012 and joined a team with an interesting mix of youth and veteran players. It was a challenge at first for Curry, a point guard his whole life, as he found himself moved off the ball with senior point guard Devon Moore entrenched as the starter. “It took some getting used to. I wasn’t used to playing off the ball. My whole life I was a point guard. But when you play behind somebody as good as Devon, it makes up for itself. He tried to make sure I was comfortable at all times, playing off the ball or playing point guard.”
Curry made the most of the opportunity, starting 18 games and averaging 5.7 points per game. While playing off the ball helped Curry adjust and grow as a player, the biggest lessons came from playing behind Moore. “I learned a lot, just how to communicate with your players. He was a great leader and that was something I try and model myself after. He led us to the tournament last year and played great defense and plays forty minutes hard and that’s something I try and do and follow in his footsteps.” The whole experience for Curry was a positive one. “It was probably the most fun playing basketball in my life. It was a great group of guys to be around, everybody played hard and had fun on and off the court together. It was a great team and the chemistry we had off the court helped us on the court.”
Coming into his second season, Curry moved back to his traditional point guard role after Moore graduated, but he encountered a new set of challenges. With this year’s team, Curry knows that he will have to grow up faster than most players in his position. “We try to step up, the four sophomores and Semenov, and be leaders. Lead these guys and teach these guys things we learned from last year, not that we have everything figured out because we’re still learning, but try to be role models to those guys, since they’re inexperienced and learning.”
It’s an interesting position to be in as Curry must help develop the seven freshmen on the squad, especially backup point guard Jackson Kent, who has moved off the ball some, much like Curry did his freshman year.
After overcoming an early injury, Curry has played well, averaging 10.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. However, he knows he still needs to continue to learn and grow. “I still have to learn how to be a better leader and be more vocal. It’s not really my personality. I’m a laid back and quiet kind of guy, but I need to be more vocal for my team and be an extension of the coach on the court. I have to be more aggressive, stay locked in on defense for forty minutes, and help my team in any way I can.”
Despite some early season struggles for JMU, Curry views it as something that will help them learn and grow, because every experience he has encountered is another opportunity to learn and improve.