Before last week, no high school basketball player in North Carolina had ever scored more points in a career than JamesOn Curry. Curry, now 32, still keeps up with what’s happening in the prep basketball ranks. In early January, he watched some of the top highlight reels and mixtapes of up-and-coming players and clicked on one in particular from the John Wall Holiday Invitational.
A few weeks later, Curry got a call that his scoring record had been eclipsed. He saw the article online and then it dawned on him.
The player he had watched light up the Holiday Invitational, Coby White of Greenfield School in Wilson, was the same one who had topped him.
“Oh, the dude with the crazy hair? That’s awesome man,” said Curry of the North Carolina recruit and McDonald’s All-American.
Curry, who lives in Oklahoma with his wife and three kids, said he had watched plenty of highlights of White before, but the name didn’t register until he saw the photo that went with the article.
He has no negative feelings about seeing another player score more than him: he’s completely supportive, and even posted a congratulatory post on Instagram.
“He set the bar high, and hopefully he can keep setting the bar higher and higher,” Curry said. “I hope his (record) never gets broke.”
Curry, a former Eastern Alamance High School star, had 3,307 points (averaging a little more than 23 a game as a freshman, 34 as a sophomore, 33 as a junior and 40 as a senior) as a four-year starter for the Eagles, setting an N.C. High School Athletic Association record.
Curry originally committed to North Carolina as a sophomore, but ended up at Oklahoma State after getting caught in a drug sting his senior year.
According to the New York Times, Curry pleaded guilty in 2004 to six felony drug counts. His sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation for 36 months and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.
Curry made the best of his second chance and was a second-round NBA Draft pick in 2007. He spent time overseas and in the D-League and played in an NBA game.
Curry said he had always played with a chip on his shoulder. And after setting the USA Basketball U21 single-game record for assists and recording the first triple-double in the youth program’s history, his game went into full-on attack mode.
“Once I had that confidence as a kid, it didn’t matter,” Curry said. “That was my mentality ... I was blue-collar and blue chip.”
That’s similar to how White has described his game previously.
“He’s obviously a great kid – coach (Roy) Williams wouldn’t bring him in if he wasn’t – and a great basketball player,” said Curry of White.
No one from the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association is thought to have more than 3,000 points until White achieved that mark in December. White passed Curry’s mark on Jan. 27 and has 3,362 as of Friday afternoon.
“He can put the ball in the bucket,” Curry said. “Hopefully he can come in and show he’s better than even what they’re saying.”