Sunday, February 26, 2012

VCU's Hurt: Not just good -- the word is great

Courtney Hurt has heard the John Mellencamp reference many times.

"Hurt's so good."

It's Senior Day for VCU (the Rams host George Mason at 2 pm at the Siegel Center), and we're hear to tell you Hurt's not so good. She's great. Great, and frankly, overlooked.

We're guilty of it, too. A year ago when Hurt emerged as not just a good player on the Rams, but a force on the national level, there were other story lines to follow in the CAA. Dawn Evans and Elena Delle Donne didn't just have amazing seasons. They had compelling stories (kidney and Lyme disease, respectively) behind the numbers that dominated the limelight.

Hurt, well, she just kept putting up the numbers. Big numbers. And her story was how did we get here? As a sophomore, her numbers were nice (13.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg). As a junior, her numbers were All-American worthy: 23.2 ppg and 12.4 rpg.

The trend continues this season.

Hurt, averaging 22.2 ppt and 12.9 rpg, is the only player in Division I to rank in the top 10 of both of those categories. Her career marks leave us to conclude she may be the best player to ever wear a Rams uniform.


Hurt is VCU's all-time leading scorer (1,935 points) and rebounder (1,142). She holds the school record in free throws (474) and in games played (124). Hurt is three double-doubles away from matching the program's all-time mark of 55 (held by Quanitra Hollingsworth). She could become the first VCU player and sixth player in CAA history to score 2,000 points.

In addition, Hurt's 720 points last season shattered the single-season record for points. This season she netted a school-record 40 points in a 78-70 victory at Missouri-Kansas City.

Stunning statistics that leave no doubt that her No. 44 jersey will be the fourth retired alongside those of Kelly Hoover, Kristine Austgulen and Quanitra Hollingsworth. We asked Hurt about all the emotions that come with Senior Day.

It's a bittersweet moment for me. I love VCU and all it has to offer, but I'm ready for the next step in my life. I will miss the people here at VCU and especially my VCU basketball family. I'm excited about potentially playing here in the United States or somewhere else overseas. I want to play basketball for as long as I can! But as of right now, I'm focused on my team as a senior leader on the court and making a lot of noise in the CAA Tournament. This is my last shot, so it's now or never.

Despite the numbers, Hurt is still playing out a relatively quiet career given her accomplishments. She will not be CAA Player of the Year given what Delle Donne has achieved at Delaware. And she doesn't have the physical stature to command the attention of a Delle Donne or Brittney Griner. VCU lists Hurt as 6-1, but we'd bet she's closer to 5-11, which makes it even more impressive that she can dominate a game in the manner she does. Her hands are soft, her footwork impeccable and her timing for being in the right place at the right time to rebound the ball is extraordinary.

So you see Hurt's not just good. She's the Rams best and arguably the program's best ever. And we're not stretching it to say she's among the NCAA's best, too.

1 comment:

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