Sunday, January 28, 2007

Good Curry article from AP

Stephen Curry's a deadeye, just like dad
When freshman shoots, the swish evokes memories of Fort, Hokie star
The Associated Press

DAVIDSON, N.C. — As Stephen Curry walked into Davidson's basketball office earlier this month, coach Bob McKillop looked him up and down before finally asking, "Did you grow again last night?"

The son of Fort Defiance graduate and former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry merely shook his head and pointed to his new shoes.

At 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, the slight freshman didn't have the size to attract scholarship offers from Virginia Tech, his famous father's alma mater, and other schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference. But McKillop recruited him hard, and Curry's quickly become a star in the Southern Conference.

He scored 32 points in his second college game — at Michigan. He's averaging a team-leading 19 points and inherited his father's shooting touch, making nearly 40 percent of his 3-pointers in helping the Wildcats to their best start in 11 seasons.

And while it might not happen overnight, he insists he's got some growing left to do.

"I was 5-6 and about 130 (pounds) in my sophomore year in high school," Curry said. "I grew to 5-9 my junior year and I had a big growth spurt, to about 6-foot, going into my senior year.

"Right now I'm jumping up to about 6-2. My dad actually grew two or three inches in college, so I think I've got a couple of more inches in me."

There was little doubt the 18-year-old Curry, "Baby Face" to his teammates, would be a basketball player. His mother Sonya recalls Stephen, only weeks old, stayed awake for an entire game when she brought him to watch his 6-5 dad play for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1988.

A few months later, Dell Curry was taken in the expansion draft by the Charlotte Hornets, where he spent the next 10 seasons. The Hornets became Stephen Curry's second family as his father developed into one of the best pure shooters in NBA history.

"He was around me all the time, at practices and games," Dell Curry said. "Being around the best players in the world, that is a tremendous advantage for a young player learning the game."

And Stephen (pronounced STEF-in) Curry took advantage, at times watching his father — instead of the ball — for an entire game. That basketball IQ is evident, McKillop said, and is one reason Curry has adjusted so quickly to the college game.

"He's one step ahead on so many plays," McKillop said. "He has a feel, a vision, and to me that's a big attribute that you gain from being around the game a lot."

Dell Curry's final season in the NBA was with the Toronto Raptors in 2001-02, when Stephen was in eighth grade. The family then moved back to Charlotte and Curry starred in high school at Charlotte Christian, while adjusting to his father's insistence that he change his shooting release from near his waist to above his head to avoid getting shots blocked.

As he began his senior year, Curry acknowledges he dreamed about playing at Virginia Tech, where his father's No. 30 jersey is retired. But the Hokies, worried about Curry's size, didn't offer him a scholarship and wanted him to walk on.

"That's what they told me, straight up, that I had to get bigger and stronger," Curry said. "But I'm still growing and I wanted them to take a chance on me, and eventually I would get stronger through their program. But they wanted it right away. It didn't work out for me, but coming here I knew I would get to play even with my size."

Curry wears his father's old number at Davidson, where he's scored 20 or more points eight times this season and is the Southern Conference's second-leading scorer. But unlike his father, whose reluctance to guard people is well-known, he's a tough defender and leads the team in steals.

"I don't do much one-on-one with him anymore, he's quicker and a better ball handler than I ever was," the elder Curry said. "But as far as getting your feet set and shooting, I'm still the main guy in the house."

While impressed with his young star, McKillop said Curry isn't perfect. He needs to get stronger and cut back on an overly aggressive style of play that leads to too many turnovers. But McKillop also applauds Curry's work ethic and said he's no spoiled rich kid of a former professional athlete.

"He sees how incomplete he is as a player," McKillop said. "He's far beyond his years in terms of maturity and his willingness to work and being challenged."

Curry insists he's put the disappointment of not playing in the ACC with the Hokies behind him. Playing at Davidson, a 30-minute drive from Charlotte, allows his parents to attend nearly every home game.

It also means Curry can occasionally play a game of HORSE against his dad, who is now the Charlotte Bobcats' director of player development. He still struggles to beat his old man, who ranks 15th in NBA history with 1,245 3-pointers.

"I might have gotten lucky once or twice, but it doesn't happen often," the younger Curry said

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