Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Article from Baltimore Sun

Curry finds perfect fit at Davidson
Wildcats' guard thriving in first year after not being recruited by major programs

By Heather A. Dinich
Sun Reporter

Stephen Curry grew up playing basketball in North Carolina, the heart of the Atlantic Coast Conference, where he was raised by NBA sharp shooter Dell Curry and trained with a long-time NBA strength and conditioning coach. He learned the game from his father, a first-round draft pick, and played pick-up with stars like Muggsy Bogues.

None of it mattered.

Because at 5 feet 9, 140 pounds, the baby-faced Curry was a self-described "scrawny little short kid" -- a lanky point guard who couldn't get the attention of major colleges no matter who his father was. Virginia Tech -- where his father was an All-American and his mother, Sonya, played volleyball -- was the only high-major that showed interest, but the best Seth Greenberg could offer was a spot as a walk-on.

"Everything happens for a reason," Curry said.

He chose Davidson, a liberal arts college with about 1,700 students, located roughly 30 minutes away from his parents' home in Charlotte, N.C. It was at this small school that big things finally started to happen.

Curry broke five school records, set the NCAA freshman record for most three-pointers in a season, and led the small Southern Conference school to a record 29 wins and the NCAA tournament. Now Curry has the attention of at least one more ACC school -- Maryland. The Terps will face Davidson at 12:20 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the Midwest Region in Buffalo, N.Y.

"I knew he was a good player and I knew he'd have big games, but I didn't think he'd be this consistent," said Dell Curry, who is now Director of Player Development for the Charlotte Bobcats. "Throughout the course of the season I was waiting for him to hit that freshman wall. He exceeded not only the Davidson coaches' expectations, but myself and probably him, too.

"But it's a blessing in that he is at Davidson," Curry said. "It gave him all the opportunity to prove people wrong that they missed this one and gave him the opportunity to break those records and play a significant role on the team so they won the conference tournament and got to the NCAA tournament. With everything that's happened, he's definitely at the right place."

Curry leads the Southern Conference with an average of 21.2 points per game. The only other first-year player in the NCAA to average more points in his collegiate debut is Kevin Durant, of Texas. Curry's 117 three-pointers are the most by a Division I freshman, and have been integral to a team that graduated seven seniors.

"He can shoot the three, but he can also get to the rim," said Davidson coach Bob McKillop. "He's got an in-between game, but he doesn't sacrifice defensive rebounds, or team play to pad his offensive numbers. He's got very good feet defensively, and he's got terrific basketball IQ."

Curry scored 1,440 points in high school, the most ever at Charlotte Christian School -- a feat he accomplished in three seasons because his first year was spent on junior varsity.

"Even in 10th grade he looked like he was 12 years old," said Charlotte Christian coach Shonn Brown. "I think some people thought maybe he looked a little small. He may not be the strongest kid, but as his coach, I would tell a lot of the schools, 'If you look at his basketball IQ and you look at his skill level, he has a lot of intangibles.'

"Right now I think he's at a very good place," Brown said. "He's at a place where he has a license to take charge on the floor within the context of whatever Coach McKillop needs him to do."

Opponents have tried everything to stop Curry -- double team, putting a taller defender on him, shadowing him -- but he has still scored in double figures in 32 games (the Wildcats have played only 33).

"I knew I was capable of playing on any level," Curry said. "Coach just gave me the opportunity and he trusted me to go out there and do whatever he needed.

"I knew I could do it," he said. "We have a great team surrounding me, that could help me to do it. I'm very happy with the situation I'm in right now at Davidson."

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