College of William and Mary junior Sean McCurdy can still remember the exact date four years ago when his basketball career began to take on a different path.
“I broke my foot in practice the 17th of December. I won’t forget it,” McCurdy said. “I knew right when I did it that something happened. Basically my foot shattered and I went in for immediate surgery the next morning.”
St. Anthony’s season opener was Dec. 20 and McCurdy was not on the court. McCurdy, who had started at point guard since he was a sophomore for coaching legend Bob Hurley Sr., missed his entire senior season. For someone who had played basketball almost everyday he can remember, the injury came as quite a change.
“It was definitely an adjustment for me,” McCurdy said. “I knew I couldn’t play. I knew I couldn’t shoot because I couldn’t walk. It was my senior year, and, of course, I wanted to be out there.”
McCurdy grew up in a basketball family. His father Bob led the NCAA in scoring in 1975 while playing at the University of Richmond. Bob’s brother also played at Richmond, and Sean’s mother’s family has strong ties to Indiana high school basketball. Cindy’s father and two brothers are all in the Indiana High School Basketball Hall of Fame.
“Both sides of family were extremely successful,” McCurdy said. “Basketball is something that’s always been there.”
McCurdy remembers traveling to Indiana for his uncle’s basketball camp when he was technically too young to attend, but his uncle allowed him to play anyway. Early basketball experiences, [such as that one], with his uncles, brother and father all fueled his passion for the game.
“Basketball was the first sport I loved and the only sport I loved to play,” McCurdy said.
But for some of the last four years, the game hasn’t been too kind to McCurdy.
He missed his senior season at St. Anthony’s and went about eight months without playing full court basketball, landing at the University of Arkansas in a less than ideal situation — at least physically.
“It was hard not being able to play with the guys right when I got down there, especially being the newcomer. And I was injured,” McCurdy said. “I wanted to go in there and show them what I could do.”
After enrolling in summer classes at Arkansas prior to his freshman year, McCurdy waited another six weeks before playing full court basketball with his new teammates. Though he was rounding into shape when practice started in October, McCurdy had just spent nearly a year without playing basketball, so jumping into SEC basketball didn’t come easily.
“I was definitely rusty when I first came back, but that thought didn’t enter my mind then,” McCurdy said.
Following his sophomore year at Arkansas, McCurdy’s coach, Stan Heath, was fired.
“Arkansas wasn’t the place for me anymore,” McCurdy said. “There was a coaching change going on. They brought in Dana Altman from Creighton [University], and he accepted the job and turned it down 24 hours later. There was about a three to four week period where they didn’t have a head coach.”
McCurdy set out to find a new school. Two weeks after visiting the College, he committed to Head Coach Tony Shaver’s program.
“I liked what Coach Shaver had to offer,” McCurdy said. “I liked how he carried himself. I just really liked what the team had to offer, and I saw great things in the players here.”
Now, after sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer regulations, McCurdy finds himself back on the court and playing with the first team at the College.
“Sitting out was hard, but at the same time it wasn’t, because I got to practice everyday with the guys,” McCurdy said. “The only thing I didn’t get to do was play in games, which was definitely difficult. The season actually went by faster than I thought it was going to go. It was definitely a valuable time for me.”
McCurdy’s quickness with the ball, ability to penetrate the lane and vocal leadership have impressed Shaver.
“He was with our program last year, so he knows what we like to do,” Shaver said. “Sean will make an immediate impact. I’m not ready to announce the starting lineup, but quite honestly it’s hard to imagine him not being in that lineup.”
McCurdy will fill the void left by Nathan Mann, who graduated in May, and join junior guard David Schneider in the Tribe backcourt.
“I’m extremely happy here,” McCurdy said. “I honestly couldn’t picture myself being anywhere else.
“This was one of the best decisions I’ve made.”