Saturday, December 09, 2006

Observer: Good article on Stephen Curry

Curry following father's steps
Davidson freshman leads team in scoring

DAVIDSON - Stephen Curry was washing a car in the driveway this summer when Dad, Dell, challenged his oldest son to a basketball game of H-O-R-S-E.

Throughout his 18 years, Stephen Curry had dreamed of beating his dad in a shooting game, and it never happened.

The car could wait.

Back and forth they went, son against father, one of the purest shooters in NBA history against his soon-to-be Davidson freshman for the family's holy grail.

Eventually, both players reached S. They were one shot away. Stephen (pronounced STEF-AN ) hasn't forgotten how it ended.

"He went behind the car, about 30 feet away and it was nothing but net," he said, the dejection creeping into his voice months later. "I had to top that, but I couldn't."

Dell, director of player development for the Charlotte Bobcats, is still unbeaten at home. "I don't know if I'm the best player in the house anymore, but I'm still the best shooter," Dell said.

The NBA hasn't seen many shooters better than Curry, who still ranks among the league's top-15 in all-time 3-point percentage and 3-pointers made. But now when he's not busy with Bobcats duties, he is a basketball father, bouncing between Stephen's games at Davidson and younger son Seth's games at Charlotte Christian.

Curry and wife Sonya will be in the stands tonight at Belk Arena to watch Stephen and the Wildcats tangle with cross-county rival Charlotte at 7 p.m., one of 10 games in an 11-day stretch for Dell.

Nine games into his college career, Stephen Curry has made an impact. On a young team that has re-energized coach Bob McKillop, Curry has emerged not only as the team's primary scoring threat, but as an effective -- and potentially outstanding -- defender.

"Eventually he'll become one of the great defenders we've had here because he has a great basketball IQ," McKillop said.

That's right, Dell Curry's son can be a shut-down defender, words likely never uttered about his father.

"He got that from his mother," Dell said.

Stephen develops his game
The story of Stephen Curry is just beginning to unfold. A 6-foot, 1-inch, 180-pounder, he looks younger than his 18 years -- until he steps on the court.Two years ago, he was known more for his name than his game. He was four inches shorter and 30 pounds lighter entering his junior year at Charlotte Christian. By the time he was a senior, he had grown and so had his game.

He caught McKillop's eye and chose Davidson over a handful of other Southern Conference and Big South schools. At Davidson, Curry is part of a youth movement in which McKillop has had to replace seven graduated seniors.

Through nine games, Curry is averaging a team-high 19.4 points per game. He also leads the team with 23 steals.

In a 10-point loss at Michigan in his second college game, Curry had 32 points and nine rebounds.

He had 27 points and nine rebounds in a win against Illinois-Chicago, 29 points against Colby College and 24 in a win against UNC Greensboro on Monday.

Growing up pro
Curry is not the first son of an NBA standout to play for McKillop. Brian Winter's son, Brendan, played at Davidson the past four seasons and the second-generation players shared a common trait -- an innate understanding of how the game should be played.

"Most kids don't see the game this early," McKillop said.

As a kid, Stephen had the privilege of being around the pro game. He would beg his mother to let him attend Hornets' games on school nights. He went to practices and shoot-arounds, made road trips and knew some of the game's most famous faces.

When Stephen was two weeks old, his dad was playing for Cleveland in the old Richfield Coliseum. Sonya took her son to the game and he stayed awake from start to finish.
"That's when I knew I had a player," Dell said.

Curry has coached his sons when they've asked, but allowed them to develop on their own. After Stephen's sophomore year at Christian, he began working seriously with his dad on his shot, moving his release point over his head more like his dad's classic form.

When the Wildcats and 49ers tip off tonight, Dell and Sonya Curry will be there like always. She'll be the one Stephen hears screaming. Dell will be the one sitting there quietly, surprisingly relaxed as a basketball parent.

After the game, the Currys will gather and Dell might do more listening than talking.
"Most of the time, Stef will walk up to me and say, `I know what you're going to tell me this time,' " Dell said. "He's still learning his way."

And waiting for another chance against his father.

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