Profile: Curtis Sumpter

Christopher Pinnock

Freshman Curtis Sumpter knows that the expectations for him and his freshmen classmates are above the rim as the new basketball season opens. He is no stranger to having his game hyped up. Sumpter was one of the most highly touted high school seniors in the country and his name could be found on any of theTop 50 Recruits lists.

The 6-foot-7-inch, 205-pound Brooklyn, N. Y., native may have one of the longest and most impressive lists of achievements and awards in the country. During his junior year, he was named to the CHSAA All-Division team and was a Daily News First Team Selection. Sumpter was also named NBC Scholastic Student of the Week.

In his senior year, he was named New York Catholic High School Athletic Association Basketball Player of the Year – a league that is considered one of the toughest and most talented in the country.

As the senior leader for Bishop Loughlin Memorial High, Sumpter averaged 24 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, three blocks and two steals per game last season. He shot 53 percent from the field and 80 percent from the foul line.

There is no question that Sumpter knows what success on the hardwood feels like.

However, he keeps things in perspective and knows how to respond to all the hype.

“We don’t really listen to it, we just go out there and play because everyone wants us to accomplish things and we want to accomplish things too,” Sumpter said.

“We can’t let all the hype get to us because that could mess up our game.”

Last February, Sumpter gave Villanova fans a taste of what was to come playing in the Pennsylvania/New York Challenge at The Pavilion.

“At first, I was nervous, trying to produce and play really well but my coach just told me to settle down and play my game and I did and we won,” Sumpter recalled. “It just felt good playing here on that floor. I had everyone in my ear saying you’re going to be playing here at ‘Nova so don’t go crazy, don’t take bad shots, but I had a good time.”

Looking forward, Sumpter focuses very little on his own personal success.

“I just want to come out here and help my team win, that’s my number one goal,” he said. “Do whatever it takes, whatever I have to do to help us win.”

Villanova fans would also appreciate Sumpter’s influence on fellow freshman big-man and New York high school buddy Jason Fraser who told people that he would follow Sumpter to college.

“I told Jason I wanted him to come to Villanova because he was my friend and I thought it was a great situation for him, as it is for me,” he said. “But I also told him I didn’t want him to come here because he’s my friend. I told him, ‘You have to decide what’s best for you.'”

With all the hype surrounding Curtis Sumpter and his freshmen teammates, many Villanova fans have questioned how long his stay on the Main Line will be. From Sumpter’s perspective, however, the four-year plan is in place.

“I really enjoy it a lot here, I’ve been here since May taking classes and I like it here a lot,” he said. “I’m going to graduate here and meet a lot of new friends.” And if that’s not convincing enough, when asked about his first Hoops Mania experience as a Wildcat, Sumpter said, “It was great to see the support everyone came out and showed us. I really appreciated that. I’m just looking forward to the next one and the one after that and the one after that.”

‘Nova hoops fans love the sound of that and hope that Sumpter can once again influence his New York area classmates to follow his lead.