Commentary

Curry brothers continue to amaze

Originally Published: February 20, 2009
By Stephen A. Smith | ESPN.com

Let's be real: Not so long ago, whenever it came to thinking about college basketball, Davidson and Liberty never came to mind. It took work to find out that one college was located near Charlotte, N.C., the other in a Virginia town bearing the uncomfortable name of Lynchburg. Neither school had been a real national championship contender -- Davidson hadn't been in the top 10 since 1969 (and Liberty only joined Division I in 1988).

At least that was the case before.

Nowadays, Davidson boasts an All-American named Stephen Curry. A few hours up the road, there's another Curry, a little brother named Seth, who might finish this season as the nation's leading freshman scorer.

[+] EnlargeStephen Curry
Chris Keane/Icon SMIStephen Curry is the nation's leading scorer at 29.0 ppg.

And in the background is a father named Dell -- who'll probably be watching both sons' teams on ESPN this weekend -- with a résumé of his own that chronicles a 16-year professional basketball career, a marksman's touch and the kind of DNA that would make any athlete blush with pride.

"I really can't argue with that," the elder Curry said, shortly before a Saturday afternoon that will see Stephen and his crew play host to No. 22 Butler (ESPN, noon ET), and Seth help his team face Old Dominion (ESPNU, 11 a.m. ET). "I'll admit I'm loving life right now.

"Obviously, it's a dream come true all over again for me. To get to the NBA was a dream come true, and now to have two sons that love the game as much as I did and enjoy playing, I feel like my mom and dad said they felt when I was in college. I've gotten to attend a lot of games and be very supportive. I'm just going to enjoy this while I can."

Curry can take his time. We'll be hearing about his boys for a while.

For those who haven't seen Stephen Curry play, he's the guy who appears to say, "Damn! I can't believe I missed that shot" every time he takes one. Curry is the guy who dropped 40 on Gonzaga in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last spring, who carried Davidson to the Midwest regional final before it lost to Kansas, the eventual national champion. He's the baby-faced assassin with long-distance range, whose average of 29 points per game cements his status as one of college basketball's premier players.

And by some accounts, his little brother, Seth, averaging 20.6 points over 28 games in his first year of college, just might be better.

Connect the dots, and you don't just have brothers who can ball and are pure shooters capable of putting up numbers against anyone. You might also be looking at the first family of college basketball.

"That's crazy," Stephen said, essentially ignoring the overachiever status, pristine image and beautiful Obama-level family portrait the Currys have continuously displayed. "I didn't expect to ever hear something like that. I'm definitely proud of my brother for making a name for himself. People expected him to be Dell Curry's son or Stephen's little brother, but he's making his own name, making the most of his opportunity at Liberty. Hopefully, he'll continue to get better and so will I. What else can we say?"

Dell Curry isn't buying the "first-family" analogy, either. Despite his protests, and those of his wife, Sonya, the fact is that few family assemblies have garnered such consideration since Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning became synonymous with college football. The thing is, expectations were placed on the Manning shoulders and remained unfulfilled until after college, when Peyton and Eli captured back-to-back Super Bowl titles.

[+] EnlargeSeth Curry
David Allio/Icon SMIAt 20.6 ppg, Liberty's Seth Curry is the top-scoring freshman in Division I.

Who expected anything from the Currys?

Stephen was asked to be a walk-on at Virginia Tech, his father's alma mater. One college after another passed on Seth, despite the presence of Duke and North Carolina right up the road.

"It's fine with me, though," Seth said. "I'm happy I ended up exactly where I'm at. I got an opportunity to play immediately, for a great coach, too. I'm just making the most of my opportunity. And yes, trying to live up to the expectations my brother set with all the things he accomplished last year."

"Seth is a special ballplayer," Liberty coach Ritchie McKay added, practically salivating over the younger Curry's potential. "We're a better team because of him, of course. But this dude is special. I knew it from the moment I saw him play, and I'm not doubting it now. He walks like his dad, talks like his dad, shoots like his dad -- and can play point better than his dad.

"The best thing of all, though, is that although Stephen's a bit more outgoing and tries to be his own man, they're all alike. All of them are great people with great character. They don't just want to do things well, they want to do things the right way. They're special people, and I'm glad I've got one of them playing for me."

Both sons have been labeled better versions of their father. That's lofty praise. Think of some of basketball's great pure shooters, from Jerry West, Larry Bird and "Downtown" Freddie Brown to modern-day players like Ray Allen and Michael Redd. When contemplating the top 10 shooters in NBA history, Dell Curry's name must be mentioned.

"That's flattering, but it's even better to watch my sons play now, imagining they could end up being better than I ever thought about being," Curry said. "As a parent, it's just a blessing. You can't ask for anything better than this. My wife and I talk about this from time to time. It's really difficult to put into words how fortunate we feel to be able to witness all of this."

He's got company. At Davidson. At Liberty.

And of course, with the rest of us.

Stephen A. Smith is a columnist for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine.

Stephen A. Smith | email

ESPNNewYork.com columnist
Stephen A. Smith is a featured columnist for ESPNNewYork.com, host of a weekday show for ESPN New York 98.7 and a regular on "SportsCenter" and "First Take."