He made it to the top of the college basketball world at Duke
and he made it back from a near-fatal car accident, but
Sacramento point guard Bobby Hurley can't seem to make his mark
in the NBA. In his fourth season in the league, Hurley is
averaging 2.0 points, 1.8 assists and 9.3 minutes this season
for the mediocre Kings. Even worse, with Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf
locked in at point guard, Hurley is now the third man (behind
former UCLA star Tyus Edney) in a two-man rotation. "I'm just
trying to stay ready in case someone goes down," Hurley says.
Such a statement would have been almost unthinkable four years
ago. Then Hurley was the prince of Duke basketball: the skinny
6-foot coach's son with sad eyes and a pale complexion. He
became the NCAA's alltime assist leader and led the Blue Devils
to national titles in '91 and '92. The Kings drafted him seventh
overall in '93, signed him to a six-year, $16.2 million contract
and handed him the reins to their offense.
His rookie season was cut short after 19 games, however, by the
auto accident. Hurley suffered two collapsed lungs and a torn
trachea, among other injuries, after being broadsided by a
station wagon with its headlights off. The other motorist was
charged with reckless driving; his trial ended with a hung jury.
Hurley returned for the '94-95 season, but poor shooting (32.5%)
has relegated him to the bench, and his playing time has dwindled.
Hurley has two years remaining on his guaranteed contract, but
he may exercise an option to terminate the deal this off-season.
That would free him to seek greener NBA pastures, though it's
unlikely any team would pay him anywhere near the $3 million he
would average in Sacramento through 1999.
In the meantime Hurley says he'll continue working hard while he
and his wife, Leslie, dote on their 13-month-old daughter,
Cameron. In fact, it's his daughter, Hurley says, who keeps him
going. "After a bad game, I'll get home and I'll see her and
think, Everything's going to be all right," he says.
COLOR PHOTO: ROCKY WIDNER Hurley isn't the king of the court, just a role player.[Bobby Hurley]