A key reserve player on the Anniston team that Curry led to the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 4A title in 2009, Taylor also knows the victim, Oliver Jackson.
“When I heard about it, it was kind of sad, because I remember the little boy, Oliver,” Taylor said of Jackson, who was 17 when he died. “I remember him from around the neighborhood.
“He and his little cousin used to come over to the house and ask my mom, could they do little stuff around the house for a couple of dollars and stuff.”
Jackson died Saturday at about 11 p.m. from gunshot wounds to the chest he received on Friday night. Police called the shooting “a spillover” from a fight Jackson had with Curry and two other men.
Curry, 20, was arrested Tuesday, a day after Anniston police arrested Jodeci Sanders, 19, and Nebrasker Burnhart, 20. All three have been charged with capital murder.
Curry is the best known of the three men charged in the case because of his role on Anniston’s state-championship team two years ago. He averaged 16.4 points, 3.5 assists and 2.4 steals per game as he led the Bulldogs to a 27-6 record, including an undefeated mark against Class 4A competition.
He was a first-team all-state selection and Calhoun County, Area 9, Northeast Regional and Final 48 state tournament MVP. He was also was named The Star’s Class 4A-6A Player of the Year and played in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic.
Attempts to reach Anniston coach Schuessler Ware and other of Curry’s former teammates were unsuccessful Tuesday, but Taylor said he was surprised to hear that Curry might have been involved in Jackson’s death.
“I would never have thought that he would do something like that because of where he comes from,” said Taylor, who attends Grambling State University in Louisiana and runs track there.
“Like, everything he’s ever wanted, he’s always gotten. He was like that spoiled child, or whatever … it’s really shocking.”
Similar sentiments came from Scott Veal, who was the head coach at Northwest Shoals Community College in Muscle Shoals, where Curry signed a scholarship in July 2009.
“He was a great player, coach’s pet,” Veal said. “He was my No. 1 choice, and he always had so much support from his family. His mom and his grandmother were always there, sheltering him and taking care of him.
“... He was my starting point guard. He did a great job. I loved him to death. He was a great guy. This shocks me.”
Veal and Curry seemed to be meeting each other at just the right time to breathe life into a Northwest Shoals program that was coming off a 4-23 record the previous season.
Veal had just guided Class 1A Phillips High School to its first trip to the state tournament before he took the job at Shoals in April of that year. Curry was the star player on what was arguably the most dominant team in the state during the 2008-09 season.
Veal offered Curry a scholarship without ever seeing him play in person.
Curry earned a starting role as freshman at Shoals, but his time there was short-lived. He was dismissed from the team when he didn’t report back to campus before winter break ended.
“Milton was never disrespectful,” Veal said. “He just didn’t want to obey some of the rules. He actually called me last spring around May and asked me if he could come back and play again. I told him ‘No’.
“I wish I wouldn’t have. I should’ve given him that second chance.”
Shoals eliminated all of its athletics programs in March, and Veal is set to return to Phillips.
As for the latest turn in Curry’s life, “I cannot believe that,” Veal said. “That’s unbelievable. Milton was one of my favorite people. He was my pet.”
While those who know Curry expressed shock that he’s facing a murder charge, the emotion turned to sorrow for Jackson and his family.
“When I heard that happened, I felt kind of sad,” Taylor said. “I can understand what his parents must be going through to lose someone, a child at that.”