Volume 92, Issue 68
Thursday, January 28, 1999
Hurley deserves another shot
For National Basketball Association point-guard Bobby Hurley the setbacks continue to mount.
On Monday the Vancouver Grizzlies' general manager Stu Jackson placed Hurley on waivers, saying he could not find room on his point-guard rich roster for the five-year veteran. Hurley has once again found himself in a struggle to securely plant his feet in the NBA.
Things have changed drastically for the six-foot, 160 pound point-guard since graduating from Duke University.
Hurley's college career was legendary. He was part of two national championship clubs, leading teams which included current NBA stars Christian Laettner, Grant Hill and Cherokee Parks. He left Duke as the NCAA regular season career assist-leader (1,045) and assist-leader in the NCAA tournament (145). As well, Hurley owns a number of school records including being Duke's best all-time three-point shooter (264).
During his four years he was named an all-American twice, missed only one game and at graduation became the seventh player in team history to have his jersey retired.
While at Duke, Hurley was the master of the four-point play (leaning in for the foul before tickling the twine with a three-pointer from well outside the arc). As well, Hurley was never shy to take the ball in hard. He was a workhorse his entire college career and was the top point-guard entering the 1993 draft.
The Sacremento Kings drafted Hurley seventh overall in '93 and was praised by NBA analysts as the second coming of Utah Jazz guard John Stockton. Things didn't work out as expected.
On Dec. 12 of his draft year things changed drastically. While driving home from a game, he was struck on the driver's side by a station wagon with its lights off, driven by Dan Weiland. Weiland was later charged with reckless driving causing injury and driving without a valid licence.
Hurley was sentenced to five of the toughest months of his life no basketball.
Hurley, who had been wearing a seatbelt, was sent nearly 130 feet from his car into a ditch, face down in 18 inches of water. His list of injuries was about as long as the list of million-dollar athletes two collapsed lungs, five broken ribs, fractured shoulder blades, compression fracture in the lower back, broken right fibula, badly sprained wrist and worst of all, the windpipe stem from Hurley's trachea to his left lung had torn free. Doctors and police agreed. He should have been dead.
Hurley proved everybody wrong, battling back and miraculously making the Kings' roster for the 1994/95 season. His return was a testament to his heart and desire to play the game.
During his shortened rookie season, marred by the crash, Hurley hit only two three-pointers. Court minutes improved but the injury was still too fresh to expect an all-out attack on the NBA.
In 1998, Hurley was shipped to the Grizzlies and showed flashes of brilliance in a few games. However, inconsistent playing time made it difficult to amount any true Hurley-esque numbers.
Hurley is not simply a college superstar turned NBA wash-up. He has had to battle back from obstacles which would have caused most to quit. Hurley is not a quitter and his rise back into the NBA has undeniably proved it.
The Grizzlies will soon realize they made a very large mistake. The scars have healed and Bobby Hurley is ready. He is simply a starting spot away.
To reach John Intini email email@example.com
Copyright © The Gazette 1999