Former 'Nova standout Sumpter ready to give NBA another try

Posted: August 09, 2011

Yes, Curtis Sumpter is still at it.

The former Villanova star, whose college career was disrupted by a pair of knee surgeries is ready to take another crack at landing in the NBA. The 27-year-old spent much of the last five years playing in Germany, France and Greece.

A small forward, Sumpter flourished inside as well as from the perimeter with the Wildcats and recieved little interest from the NBA after he finished his college career.

Though there is a lockout in effect in the NBA, Sumpter hopes to start at the ground floor.

"I want to do the 'D' league," Sumpter said of getting a spot on a team in the NBA's Developmental League. "I haven't done that. I know guys who left Europe and went to the 'D' league and got good opportunities."

Sumpter is back in the country after spending last season with Maroussi B.C. of the Greek Basketball League, whose season ended in late May.

The 6-foot-7 Sumpter earned first-team all-Big East honors as a fifth-year senior, but went undrafted.

He started out professionally with Germany's Koeln 99ers before moving to JA Vichy in France.

As the case with many American basketball players who play abroad, Sumpter's relationships with the various organizations he played for were not always smooth.

For Vichy last fall, Sumpter was put in a point-forward position that wasn't to his benefit or liking.

He left the team in November and signed with fellow French squad JDA Dijon at the end of January. But that contract was not approved by the league.

Sumpter finished the season with Maroussi, playing in eight games and averaging almost 10 points and six rebounds a game while shooting 59.6 percent from the floor.

Before suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament during the 2005 NCAA tournament, Sumpter was showing all of the attributes of an NBA player.

He finished with 15.3 points and 7.2 rebounds as 'Nova went 24-8 and fell to North Carolina by one point in a regional semifinal. Sumpter injuried his knee in the previous round against Florida, and missed the game with the Tar Heels.

After undergoing surgery on the knee in April of 2005, Sumpter reinjured it in practice that October and sat out the entire 2005-06 season as 'Nova went 28-5 and lost to Florida in an NCAA regional final. Once again, Sumpter's absence loomed large.

"That was tough mentally as well as physically," said Sumpter, who estimated that it was a year after the second surgery before he felt 100 percent again. "I thought I was going to lose it a couple of times. But I had great people around me who kept my spirits up."

After receiving a medical redshirt, Sumpter went back to 'Nova for the 2006-07 season. He averaged 17.4 points and 7.2 rebounds as the team went 22-11 and lost to Kentucky in the first round of the NCAAs.

"He's a great example to our guys that when you face adversity, you show your true character," said Villanova coach Jay Wright. "He had two ACL injuries and came back from them. He's been overseas, and he's gotten better every year. Now, he's at a point where he's ready to make an NBA team, and I'm proud of him."

In 2007, Sumpter earned a spot on the Denver Nuggets' summer league team, but that did not pan out. The following year he was invited to training camp by the Los Angeles Clippers, but again did not stick.

In both cases, Sumpter thought he played well enough to merit further consideration.

"I stopped dreaming after that," he said. "I said, 'Forget the NBA.' But, I'm ready to give it another try."


Contact staff writer Kevin Tatum at 215-854-2583 or ktatum@phillynews.com.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|