Joe Davidson

Would you rather have Rodman or ‘Predator’ on your team? He’s both for Sheldon

Sheldon guard Dale Currie, center, looks to pass before he is fouled with a few seconds remaining in the fourth quarter against Jesuit on Friday at Sheldon High School.
Sheldon guard Dale Currie, center, looks to pass before he is fouled with a few seconds remaining in the fourth quarter against Jesuit on Friday at Sheldon High School. jvillegas@sacbee.com

His hair is everywhere.

Dale Currie has dreads that dance and bounce and trail him when he jets upcourt.

 
Opinion

If that striking image doesn’t catch your immediate attention when observing the Sheldon High School senior guard, then his considerable skills will.

And good luck finding a more energized, frenetic and effective player in the region this season. It’s no wonder Currie’s coaches and teammates call him “Predator” in reference to the science-fiction action film of a character similarly tireless and relentless.

The 6-foot-1 Currie is the sort of player coaches crave to unleash and hope they don’t have to play against. He is a mini version of Dennis Rodman, minus the theatrics and multiple piercings. Currie wears out teams with his quick, active hands on defense, his steady ballhandling, his ball movement, his ability to hit the 3-pointer, his drives down the lane or his soaring dunks.

“He’s been great for us, and he can do it all,” Sheldon coach Joey Rollings said Friday night after his floor leader did a bit of everything against Jesuit.

Currie sat out the first quarter of the Delta League showdown of area powerhouse programs because he missed a practice while battling the flu. Rules are rules, and he understands them. Admitting later that he was still under the weather and not overly sharp, Currie was still a one-man storm against the Marauders, scoring 16 points to go with five rebounds and four assists as the Bee-ranked No. 3 Huskies held off the No. 5 Marauders 60-57.

JV_011218_JESUIT_SHELDON 31
Sheldon Huskies guard Dale Currie (0) evades Jesuit Marauders Branden Rutherford (23) as he scores a basket in the first half on Friday at Sheldon High School. Jose Luis Villegas jvillegas@sacbee.com

That’s the 40th consecutive win in Delta play for Sheldon, and it was the 200th victory for Rollings in his nine seasons as the boys coach (he won 131 games as the Huskies girls coach before that).

Currie epitomizes what Rollings expects from his team: effort. If the Huskies (12-3) experience an off-night shooting, the one thing they can control is intensity. That has been a trademark for the program this decade to the tune of four Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championships in six title-game appearances, two trips to the Northern California Open Division final and one such title.

Sheldon seeks a Delta four-peat and the program’s seventh league title in eight years.

“I love this team and how hard we play,” Currie said. “We think our defense is the best in the section. And we all know the only way we can get on the floor is if we play hard every day in practice.”

Currie does not have college programs salivating for his services, and he offers a lesson in perspective there, too. He is bright but knows he can be a better student, and grades are paramount for those seeking scholarship rides. But Currie will be a great get for a community college program, a second life for student-athletes, and he will pop on recruiting radars this time next year.

For now, Currie is a new-wave player with an old-school look. Like his teammates and scores of others at this level of late, Currie likes to roll his game shorts under at the waist, thus hiking them well above the knee cap.

“I feel like it makes me play more loose, and I feel like I jump higher and run faster,” Currie said with a grin.

Currie is the focal point this season after being a key role player a year ago for a program that went 30-4 and lost to Woodcreek by a hair in the section and NorCal Open Division finals.

He had his moments in 2016-17 for a Huskies team that was led by stellar Bee All-Metro guards Drew Cobb and Elishja Duplechan. In a 2016 Las Vegas in a national tournament, Currie came off the bench to energize the sluggish Huskies. He scored 18 consecutive points in just over five minutes, making all five of his 3-point shots.

On Wednesday at Davis, Currie went for 13 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and seven steals in a 69-65 victory.

Currie has plenty of capable cogs surrounding him this season. Sheldon is known for depth and guard play, and this season that includes Xavier Brown, Dom Johnson, Justin Nguyen and Kaito Williams.

Chris Wriedt, a 6-10 senior center, had his best defensive game against Jesuit, yanking down 17 rebounds.

Sheldon and Jesuit join No. 2 Folsom and Modesto Christian as leading contenders in the section Division I race. Oak Ridge, Lincoln of Stockton and Sacramento are also in that argument.

Top-ranked Capital Christian has early wins over Folsom and Sheldon and has won a bevy of smaller-division section titles while also competing twice in the prestigious Open Division playoffs in the last six years.

Sheldon plays Capital Christian on Saturday in the night cap of the Adidas Challenge at Sheldon with a shot to avenge its lone regional loss. And we can assure Currie will be amped to go.

Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD

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