Originally created 08/08/99

Overtime: Curry's leadership skills pay off

Let Michael Curry be a lesson that scoring isn't the only thing that will get you a rich NBA contract.

Curry, the former Glenn Hills High and Georgia Southern star, signed a five-year, $12-million contract with Detroit last week because of his leadership and defensive skills.

"He might not be the most talented guy, but if I'm going down, I want to go down with people who want to win, play hard and play with passion," said Pistons star Grant Hill, who publicly lobbied for re-signing Curry after a playoff loss to Atlanta last season. "He's somebody who plays like that."

Curry, who turns 31 on Aug. 22, has averaged but 4.9 points per game in his career. But he was co-captain in Milwaukee last season and was recently named vice president of the NBA Players Association.

"I think if you look at teams that have been successful, you will always find a Michael Curry comparable," Pistons vice president Joe Dumars said Monday. "He's the type of guy that can bring it all together, who can talk to guys about sacrificing and make the sacrifice himself. That's the part of a championship team that doesn't get the bulk of publicity, but those guys are vital."

Curry played for the Pistons for 1 1/2 seasons before spending two seasons at Milwaukee.

"I remember last year Lindsey Hunter and Grant Hill would talk about him all the time," Pistons forward Jud Buechler said. "Things like his locker room presence, how he keeps everyone in line. That's a huge intangible that this team needs. Grant is a leader but he's not very vocal, and from what I've heard, Michael is that type and we need that."


Augusta's William Avery made a successful professional debut in the Rocky Mountain Revue last week in Salt Lake City. In five games, Avery, a rookie with the Minnesota Timberwolves, averaged 18.2 points, shot 28-for-67 (.418) from the field, averaged 4.8 assists and 2.6 turnovers per contest. Avery backed up Bobby Jackson in the first two games, then started the next three when Jackson went down with an injury. Avery scored 26 points in a win over Dallas and 22 in a win over Phoenix. The T-Wolves had the league's best record, 4-1.

Former Glenn Hills High player William Cunningham was also in the Salt Lake summer league, playing as a reserve center for Utah. The 6-11 Cunningham had a game-high eight rebounds in the Jazz's 72-67 victory over Avery's T-Wolves. Cunningham fouled out in one of his five games and received five fouls in another.

Former Westside player Ricky Moore did not play for Denver because of a foot injury, but is expected in the Nuggets' camp this fall.


Keep an eye on the finish in the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach in two weeks. Two area players, Charles Howell and John Engler, are in the field and could earn a spot on the Walker Cup team that plays Sept. 11-12 at Nairn, Ireland. Georgia Tech's Matt Kuchar and Clemson's Jonathan Byrd were among the first five named last week to the 10-man squad, which will be headed by team captain Danny Yates of Atlanta. The Amateur finalists earn berths in next April's Masters Tournament.

Augustans Brian Scurlock, Jeff Keck and Jeff Knox are also in the Amateur field. Augusta State golfers Robert Duck, Chris Roake and Jayce Stepp are alternates for the Amateur.


As a tuneup for his transition to major-college baseball, North Augustan Kevin Lynn pitched in the Shenandoah Valley League. Lynn went 5-0 with a 1.40 ERA for the Staunton (Va.) Braves in the wooden-bat league.

Lynn will head to Clemson on Aug. 16 for orientation followed three weeks later by fall practice. The 6-foot, 185-pound right-hander compiled a 21-4 record at Spartanburg Methodist College over the past two years and will join the Tigers as a junior.

The North Augusta grad led the Yellow Jackets to the 1997 S.C. Class AAAA title.


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