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Bryan Currie had a dream of playing in the NBA since he was a child and it seemed like he was on the road to making it happen.
In the spring of 2005, after transferring from Leuzinger, Currie won a state championship as a starting junior point guard for Price. Price Coach Mychal Lynch said to his father, Lauren, that before Currie he had never seen a kid transfer into his problem and become an immediate starter.
After one year of playing high school ball, he was receiving scholarship offers from schools such as New Mexico, DePaul and Texas A&M. He was one of the best guards in the city that few people were talking about
But at the beginning of his senior year, everything fell apart.
During a Christmas tournament game, Currie cursed at a referee while walking off the floor. A team manager overheard and told Lynch of what happened. Soon after, during a meeting at Currie’s home, Lynch told him he was kicked off the team.
Reflecting on that incident, Currie owned up to his mistake: “Sometimes you when you play in a game, something might not go your way and you get a little upset.”
There was already some friction in the relationship between the coach and his star guard - both highly competitive with strong desires to win - so this latest incident was perhaps the final straw in their relationship.
As he sat on the bench for the majority of his senior year, speculation grew why this 17-point per game scorer had been kicked off the team. Scouts started backing off and soon this star’s dream was dying before his eyes.
“My confidence was going down,” he said, “I tried to stay in the gym but it was hard.”
However, one coach still had his eye on Currie. When Currie’s father approached Cal State L.A. assistant head coach Gary Vasquez at Fairfax High School and told him Bryan hadn’t signed with anyone, Vasquez immediately phoned head coach Stephen Thompson and they immediately set up a chance for Currie to play with his team.
After Currie handled his own in several scrimmages, Thompson, who starred at Crenshaw High and Syracuse University in the 1980’s, showed up at his doorstep with a scholarship in hand ready to welcome him to the university.
But more trouble lay just ahead. His SAT score, in the high 1600s out of a possible 2400, came under investigation by the NCAA. He took the test again and got similar results but the NCAA refused to accept it.
Still, he persevered and through taking online courses, Currie graduated on time with his class in 2006. He attended Cal State L.A. on his partial scholarship last year, which meant he couldn’t travel with the team but he practiced with them and learned the offense. He also stayed sharp in the classroom, making the honor roll in his freshman year.
“There were so many different issues to stop him from going to school but he never gave up,” said Lauren Currie.
Now, for the first time in two years, his son can look forward to playing organized ball in the fall as he prepares for his redshirt freshman season with the team. He already used this summer as a preview when he was one of the leading scorers in the Drew Summer League, which featured several local NBA stars such as Baron Davis and Trevor Ariza.
His first game is an exhibition contest against Cal State Northridge on October 31 and he is already anticipating what his emotions will be that night.
“I’m looking forward to putting on the jersey for that first time and trying to do what I do best,” Bryan said excitedly, “I want to put Cal State L.A. on the map, bigger than what they are.”
He describes his relationship with Thompson as much better than his previous relationship with Lynch, saying they have “better communication.” And his dream for the NBA is alive again, as his goal is to reach the league by 2010 after he completes his senior season with the team.
Through it all, Currie learned a valuable lesson throughout this ordeal: your destiny ultimately lies in your hands no matter how people try to take it from you.
“My mom and dad told me that nobody has control of what you do in life but you,” Currie said, “Because of this, I still have control of my life; I can still play college basketball [so] don’t let anybody deter you from your dreams.”