For those who follow college basketball recruiting the name Curtis Malone is certain to register. As one of the founders of the D.C. Assault grassroots program, Malone’s sent many players to Division I schools, with some products even reaching the NBA, and he’s also had an impact on the hiring of multiple assistant coaches. But there were also issues, most notably a second drug-related conviction that resulted in his being sentenced to 100 months in federal prison in late-May.
Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated penned a solid piece on Malone and the two lives he led: as one of the most powerful men in grassroots basketball and as a man making some $80,000 per month from the sale of cocaine and heroin. There won’t be too many stunning moments in the story for those who are familiar with Malone’s story, but it is an interesting read.
And despite the fact that Malone’s transgressions have landed him back in prison, there are those who hold onto the fact that Malone was able to help some who would have fallen through the cracks if not for his assistance.
Those around Malone say his benevolence extended beyond coaches and stars. Former Assault backup Devin Sweetney, who played at St. Francis (Pa.) from 2006 through 2010, says that Malone paid his mother’s $1,500 rent one month when she came up short and he also pushed him to improve his grades. “You’re not going to hear me say a bad thing about him,” says DeMatha Catholic High coach Mike Jones. “I know a lot of kids whom he’s really, really helped. Which makes the story that much sadder.”
The full feature on Malone can be read here.