On Friday, April 3, UTSA alumnus Leroy Hurd and his team, CSU Sibiu of the professional Romanian league, Federatia Romana de Baschet, were eliminated from the final four of the Romanian Cup.
The season’s end marked Hurd’s 11th year of his professional career, the strong majority of which has been played in Europe.
Before going pro, Hurd — a native of Mississippi – began his collegiate career by initially signing to play with the University of Miami. After two seasons with Miami, Hurd transferred to UTSA.
“I was recruited (to UTSA) by (former UTSA associate head coach) Owen Miller, who was from Mississippi like myself; he recruited me in high school,” said Hurd. “Stepping on the campus, my family and I were welcomed right away.”
As soon as Hurd stepped on the campus, he was an impact player for the Roadrunners. In Hurd’s first year at UTSA, he was named the Southland Conference (SLC) Newcomer of the Year after leading the conference in scoring at 17.6 points per game.
In his senior year, Hurd led arguably UTSA’s best team in program history. On the strength of an SLC Player of the Year campaign that saw a league-leading average of 19.4 points per game, Hurd brought UTSA to SLC regular season and tournament titles.
“I’ve won at a lot of places, but those guys on those teams were special,” said Hurd speaking on the teams from his junior and senior years at UTSA. “(Winning with them) was a great feeling.”
Hurd’s phenomenal years in the SLC were enough for him to gain the prestigious Player of the Decade award for the conference.
Despite such a stellar career at UTSA, Hurd went undrafted in the 2004 NBA Draft but found an opportunity with the San Antonio Spurs as a free agent. “I was invited to play with the San Antonio Spurs in the summer league,” said Hurd.
Although Hurd never came into the right situation in the NBA, his opportunity with the Spurs exposed him to the European scouts that would subsequently aid him in starting a lengthy career playing for various teams in Europe.
“I didn’t know basketball was so big over here (in Europe). They’re very passionate about their teams,” said Hurd. “I played on a team where it was normal to have 200-300 people at a practice.”
After his career comes to an end, Hurd is interested in staying around the game of basketball, which he admitted to having a passion for. “I can see myself becoming a collegiate coach at some point,” said Hurd. “Hopefully at UTSA.”
Hurd reflected on his career saying, “People look back at my career and say, ‘He was player of the year, he ended up being player of the decade, he ended up being an honorable-mention all-American.’ Even with all of those accomplishments, I still feel like I didn’t do enough.” He followed those words by giving advice to any aspiring basketball player. “My advice is to put in work and respect the game.”