That is how former Villanova standout forward Curtis Sumpter said he feels with his decision in making Sunday’s The-BALL Showcase game his final professional game.
“It is what it is. I’m done,” Sumpter told Philahoops. “I’m done and I’m comfortable with the decision that I’ve made.”
In a time span of a player’s career that decision always seems to be the toughest, but the 6-foot-7 Sumpter seems to be at ease with his choice to hang up the jersey. The jersey has been constantly changing since he left Villanova in 2007, and spending time in Germany, France, Belgium, Greece, and the United States took a toll on the now 28-year-old.
Sumpter’s promising professional career took a turn in 2005 when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the Wildcats’ NCAA tournament victory over Florida. He re-injured the knee in a practice leading up to the 2005-06 season, forcing him to sit out that year. He returned the following season, but unfortunately never quite was able to become the same player as before the injuries.
“It wasn’t fun,” Sumpter said of his pro career spent mostly overseas. “My body just didn’t respond the way I wanted it to and it kept breaking down along the way.”
Sumpter played for the Tulsa 66ers of the NBDL last season. The hard part for Sumpter wasn’t averaging the 5.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per game; it was battling constant injuries.
“It felt like every time I came close to one of my goals, my body just wouldn’t respond,” he said. “I probably stayed in the game a little longer than I was supposed to.”
Early in his Villanova career, it appeared Sumpter would have a lengthy professional career. He could score outside and inside, defended well and was a tenacious rebounder.
He averaged 15.3 points and 7.2 boards during a strong junior season that ended with the aforementioned injury, shooting 46.7 percent from the field, 43.3 percent from the arc and 81 percent from the free-throw line.
When asked about the most memorable moment of his Villanova career, Sumpter answered, “Oh man, I have to pick one?”
After a moment of thought he said, “The first year we made the NCAA tournament (2004-2005 season). It was what we had dreamed of, getting Nova back in the tournament. You know, that’s the ultimate goal. Making the NCAA Tournament is always great, but the first one is always special.”
Next season Sumpter looks to rejoin the Villanova team as a coach on Jay Wright’s staff. He has spent the summer coaching Villanova’s contingent in the Delco Pro-Am summer league.
“It’s not where we want it to be, it’s a work in progress,” Sumpter told Philahoops about the current state of the Villanova program. “They are working very, very hard. This team is much hungrier than last year.”
For now, Sumpter has his sights set on his final professional game playing for Philadelphia in on Aug. 5 at Hagan Arena against Washington, D.C.
“It should be a fun time,” he said. “I haven’t played against these guys in a very, very long time. I’m just looking to get out there, not trying to prove anything, and promoting the league.”
-BALL info: Sunday’s The-BALL showcase game is scheduled to tip off at 8 p.m. Click HERE for tickets. … College students who show a valid ID and wear team colors will be admitted for free. … The-BALL is soliciting a team name for the Philadelphia contingent, with the winner receiving courtside seats for 10 people to Sunday’s game. Tweet your suggestions to @TheBALLHoops.
Related stories: The-BALL CEO Michael Wranovics talks to Philahoops about the league’s concept.
Villanova coach Jay Wright tells Philahoops that the Wildcats are hungry and excited for this season.
-Kevin Rossi covers Drexel for Philahoops. Reach him at email@example.com.