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Departure by Curry feels like beginning of new era for Cowboys

by Jenni Carlson Modified: June 19, 2007 at 8:45 am •  Published: June 19, 2007
JamesOn Curry will never wear Oklahoma State orange again.

His days as a Cowboy are done.

Oh, the sharp-shooting guard will have a chance to return, even though he's decided to forego his senior season and remain in the NBA Draft. He'll go undrafted next week, and by not signing with an agent, he'll have the option to ride back to Stillwater.

Ain't gonna happen.

So, where does that leave the Cowboys?

Not as good as they were, that's for sure.

Curry's departure is a big loss for OSU. He would've been the leading returning scorer after averaging 17.3 points as a junior. He showed again the fire that burned so bright as a freshman, then flickered as a sophomore.

He nailed big shots, including the game-winner against Syracuse at Madison Square Garden.

He posted big numbers, including a 40-point outburst against Baylor.

Losing someone with those skills creates a void.

Curry, who told our Andrea Cohen that he's done playing college ball, was more than a good player for the Cowboys. He cared about what happened to them, too. Losing burned him. Struggling killed him.

And frankly, sometimes you wondered whether that was the case with all of his teammates last year.

Perhaps Curry was motivated by the chance the Cowboys gave him after being arrested for marijuana possession and losing his scholarship to North Carolina. Perhaps he was driven by the promise of returning to glory after playing with the returning core of a Final Four team as a freshman.

Curry was the last remaining link to that team. Had the Cowboys lassoed Jai Lucas, he would've been another tie to those glory days. Not only did his brother, John, hit the shot that sent OSU to the Final Four, but Jai was also there all along the way.

Curry's departure feels like the start of a new era.

The Cowboys' elders: Marcus Dove, Byron Eaton, Terrel Harris and Kenny Cooper.

Weren't Eaton, Harris and Cooper wide-eyed freshmen about seven minutes ago?

Seems weird to think about them as the old guys, but they are the veterans on whom the Cowboys will rely. It will be no easy task.

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