ICC’S CURRY MAKING THE GRADE INSIDE
By Todd Vinyard
FULTON – Scan down the 1995-96 Itawamba Community College roster and the hometowns look familiar. Nettleton, Amory, Shannon, Mooreville, Tupelo, and Nassau Bahamas.
Yes, sophomore forward Ricardo Curry has made the long journey from a chain of coral islands south of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean to Mississippi. No more lows of 60 degrees and highs in the 90s every day.
“The weather being colder and food are a big change,” Curry said. “I am used to home cooking so all the fast food is different.”
Curry has adjusted well, and even spent the holiday break in Fulton with friends. He isn’t the first Bahamas native to play for ICC head coach Wayne Newsom. In the late 1980s Bahamas residents Jeff Pinder, Roland Pinder and Keithlyn Russell played for the Indians.
“They play some good basketball down there,” Newsom said. “I guess it helps to be able to play outside anytime. A high school coach from there (Moon McPhee) had some players and his daughter go here. We have been fortunate to pick some good players in that area.”
Curry’s unique hometown isn’t his only contribution to ICC. He is leading the team in scoring with a 20.1 points per game average and shooting 60 percent from the field.
“I don’t know if anybody has stopped him down inside. When we can get the ball to him at the right time in the right spot he can score with it,” Newsom said of his 6-foot-3, 225-pound post player. “He is shooting about 70 percent on his free throws which is helping him, because playing under the basket like he does you are going to go to the line.”
What Curry lacks in size he often makes up in width.
“He is really proof that you don’t have to be able to jump out of the gym to score and be a good player,” Newsom said. “This is a guy who gets along with everyone and never causes any problems.”
The most frequent question Curry, who calls and writes his parents William and Albertha regularly, gets from his new pals and teammates at ICC is of course what is it like to grow up in a vacation paradise. The folks back home ask the same questions about life on the big island of the United States.
“I just say outside of the weather things are pretty much the same,” he said.
Last year Curry, who spent his senior year of high school in Minnesota as an exchange student, caught opponents off guard. This season despite constantly drawing double teams Curry has been a force inside, helping Itawamba (8-10, 3-4 North Division) to a two-game winning streak.
“This is my last year and we have lost some close games the last two years, so I would like to go out with some wins,” Curry said.
ICC will try to increase the victory total tonight when it hosts Northeast. The game will follow a women’s matchup at 6 p.m.
After his community college career ends Curry, a business administration major, hopes to continue playing, but has not made any final decisions. Alcorn State and some Division II schools are showing interest.
Curry’s graduation means Itawamba will have to find a replacement – maybe another Bahamas player.
“I have not ever had the chance to go there, but it wouldn’t be a bad recruiting trip,” Newsom said with a grin.
Especially if, besides the fun and sun, the result is another Ricardo Curry.