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.