Feb. 3, 2006
By Joey Jones
It's hard for any college athlete to have to sit on the bench and watch his teammates for a game. It's even more frustrating not to be able to contribute for a whole season.
But that's exactly what Ole Miss sophomore center Dwayne Curtis experienced during the 2004-05 basketball season.
He had to wait for his chance.
The Auburn transfer was not allowed to suit up for the Rebels last year due to NCAA transfer rules, but he spent his time focusing on his skills and becoming part of the Ole Miss team.
"It was hard sometimes last year seeing my teammate Tommie Eddie doing everything down low," Curtis said. "I think I could have contributed a couple of rebounds to help them out.
"But I knew my time would come."
And indeed, Curtis' time is now.
The 6-foot-8, 290-pound big man leads the Rebels with 14.2 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per contest, 16 blocks and 26 steals. He is one of two Rebels to start all 19 games thus far.
Curtis didn't always find his name at the top of the statistics, though.
While at Auburn, he averaged 2.9 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10.3 minutes of action per game. He made five starts and played in 19 games.
"At Auburn, I was playing behind some really talented big guys," Curtis said. "I came off the bench behind Marco Killingsworth and Kyle Davis."
With the departure of former Auburn head coach Cliff Ellis, Curtis decided to find somewhere else to showcase his talents, and the Chicago native found the perfect place for him in Oxford, Mississippi.
"I think it was a great idea and good thing to do what I did," Curtis said. "The SEC is the best conference in the nation for physical play. I love banging around with the other big guys in the post. I missed that last year, but I knew my decision would pay off in time."
Ole Miss fans are also happy that Curtis made that decision, as he has helped the Rebels to a 13-6 mark, including winning their first three SEC games against Alabama, South Carolina and Mississippi State.
As a redshirt sophomore, he has become a leader both on and off the court, and despite not playing a minute for the Rebels, was named a Team Captain in the preseason.
Known for being one of the friendliest people around, Curtis appreciates the hospitality of the people he has encountered down in Oxford.
"The people here welcome you with open arms," he said. "Everybody is very kind. It's the kind of people every town should have."
And Curtis is definitely the type of person every coach and every fan could want. His kindness and enthusiasm for life rubs off on everyone he meets, and his year-long patience has paid off quite nicely for himself and for the Rebel family.
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