Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Chattagnooga Times Free Press article

Greenberg should get all the blame
Darren Epps Commentary

Blame Seth Greenberg.

You may wonder why the Virginia Tech basketball coach is responsible for unleashing Davidson freshman Stephen Curry on the Southern Conference. But every time Curry unloads a barrage of 3-pointers, as he did Monday night, or wreaks havoc on a defense, or reminds everyone of his famous father, go easy on the guys trying to guard him.

Just blame Greenberg, whose decision to offer Curry a scholarship only if he paid his own way and sat out this year may alter the Southern Conference for the next four seasons. If Curry keeps posting numbers like these — 30 points, 11 rebounds, six assists in a 92-80 win over the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga — it’s hard to imagine the Mocs advancing to the NCAA tournament.

"I talked to Mr. Greenberg the other night," Mocs coach John Shulman said. "He said he messed up."

Shulman and the rest of the Southern Conference coaches will be haunted by Greenberg’s mistake. In his second collegiate game, Curry scored 32 points at Michigan. He recorded six steals in his first SoSon game, against Elon. He’s second in the league in scoring.

Curry put on a show Monday night, hitting six 3-pointers and burying the Mocs with 18 second-half points. When UTC cut Davidson’s lead to 64-60, Curry calmly sank a 3-pointer from the corner. One possession later, he did it again from the other corner. And there’s your ballgame. Blasted Greenberg.

And Curry’s shot looks so familiar. His release point is high, almost right above his head, just like... Oh, Dell Curry.

Dell Curry is the father of Stephen (pronounced STEFan ), who played his basketball at Charlotte (N.C.) Christian. Dell Curry, now the director of player development for the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats, still ranks in the league’s top 15 in 3-pointers made and all-time 3-point percentage. So you can imagine the games of H-O-RS-E are pretty intense in the Currys’ driveway.

Actually, you don’t have to imagine. Young Stephen has a pretty good story.

Last summer, Stephen thought he was finally going to beat his father in H-O-R-SE. Father and son were on the letter "S," and the elder Curry started to sense his 18-year winning streak was in jeopardy. So Dell Curry went behind the car his son was washing and launched a 35-footer. Swish. Game over.

"He may not be able to play like he used to, but his shot hasn’t faded at all," Stephen Curry said. "I’ve tried to mimic his form a little bit. But I couldn’t top that shot. He just didn’t want to lose."

Stephen Curry played a lot like that Monday night. He hit NBA 3-pointers and outrebounded everyone on the floor despite a skinny 6-foot-1 frame and a baby face that makes him look like he should be in line to get his driver’s license, not toeing the 3-point line and drilling shots.

He didn’t want to lose.

He also silenced UTC’s hotshooting Keddric Mays over the last 3:30 — Davidson coach Bob McKillop says Curry can be one of the school’s best defenders — and displayed tremendous poise down the stretch.

"It’s been very rare for me to give a freshman this much freedom," McKillop said. "Stephen has the green light for anything. He’s earned that. Defensively, he is light years ahead of most freshmen."

Wait, Dell Curry’s son plays outstanding defense?

"That comes from my mom’s side," Stephen Curry said with a laugh. "In high school, she was known for her dirty defense. That’s her emphasis. After every game, she’ll talk to me about my defense and my dad talks to me about my offense. There’s balance with them.

"Dell Curry was in attendance at McKenzie Arena Monday night to watch his son play, instead of his alma mater, Virginia Tech. Of course, he wouldn’t be at any game if his son had signed with Virginia Tech, because Stephen would be paying his own way and sitting out a season.

"I didn’t want to sit out," Stephen Curry said. "I wanted to come in right away and make an impact."

He did Monday night.

"I wish he wasn’t in the league," Shulman cracked.

He didn’t have to be here.

Blame Greenberg.

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