Friday, March 16, 2007

From The Observer

Curry shows nation his game

BUFFALO, N.Y. --We saw Stephen Curry beat up on UNC Greensboro, Chattanooga and Furman. The country's second-leading freshman scorer proved he could handle the Southern Conference.

Curry was a mid-major star.

Let's reassess, because there is nothing mid-major about Curry's game. Davidson introduced him to Maryland on Thursday, and CBS introduced him to the world.

In his first NCAA basketball tournament game, Curry scored 30 points, grabbed five rebounds and added three assists and three steals. On one steal, he reached around 7-foot-1 Will Bowers, slapped the ball out of his hands and, as it was about to go out of bounds, leaped to deftly bounce it off the big man's foot.

The Terrapins finally wore down the Wildcats, scoring the last seven points to win 82-70. But, it is Curry who fans will remember.

"I told him he could play anywhere," Maryland coach Gary Williams says. Williams adds, almost as quickly as Curry made his steal, that he is not recruiting him.

Some fans will proclaim Curry is too good for Davidson. They'll be wrong.

As good as Curry is, Davidson coach Bob McKillop makes him better.

The multiple picks through which a defender must run to stay with him don't just occur. The sweet passes from point guard Jason Richards don't just happen.

And, some say Davidson can give you a decent education.

No wonder Williams likes Curry. You see the 3-pointer he hit in the first half? Curry hit the thing on a fast break practically from the tips of Williams' black shoes. The shot came so fast, and from so far, it was almost disdainful.

Of course Curry can shoot; he's Dell Curry's kid. But Dell had, like, seven assists in his career (high school, college and the NBA combined). Stephen, meanwhile, threw a full-speed, fast-break bounce pass to Max Paulhus Gosselin, who hit a reverse layup, to give the Wildcats a 52-44 lead.

"I thought we were in control," Curry says.

They were, until the bigger and broader Terps took it away and refused to give it back. Maryland stuck defensive ace D.J. Strawberry, a 6-5 senior, on the slender Curry.

Curry played as if he didn't notice.

"You saw Steph today," teammate Thomas Sander says. "He was the best player on that court by far. If he didn't prove he's one of the best players in the country, then I don't know what else to say."

He better say something else, because Curry won't. Asked to talk about his season, Curry talks about the team's. When a reporter pushes him to talk about his work, Curry says:

"I know I had a good season statistically or whatever. But what I do on the court (is of) no importance (when) the team doesn't win."

When Curry fouled out with 21 seconds left, the Maryland fans that understand basketball, which was almost all of them, rewarded him with a standing ovation.

They knew what they had seen. Fans of Davidson expect to see more of it.

"He's a fresh-man!" they chanted.

He's also big time.

He's a major star.

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