Commentary

Stephen Curry carries on family tradition to second round

Originally Published: March 21, 2008
By Heather Dinich | ESPN.com

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Stephen Curry had not talked to his famous father since Tuesday, and he did not get to see him immediately after scoring 40 points and leading Davidson to one of the most important wins in program history.

What the younger Curry did Friday, though, meant far more than anything either one of them probably could have said.

After the Cats had trailed Gonzaga for most of the game, Curry made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:04 left and pointed to his father, former NBA star Dell Curry, in the second row. It was a small gesture, but something Dell Curry used to do to his father and family when he was in the NBA.

On Friday, Stephen Curry continued the tradition.

It was tough to tell who was happier after Davidson's 82-76 upset of No. 7-seeded Gonzaga.

"There's nothing like being a parent and having your son do that," Dell Curry said from his seat at the RBC Center. "It's amazing, man."

The only thing more incredible is the fact Stephen Curry is only a baby-faced sophomore and more than capable of doing it again. And again. And again.

Just in case you missed it.

After all, most coaches here in ACC country never saw it coming.

[+] EnlargeStephen Curry
AP Photo/Mel EvansStephen Curry's 40-point peformance was one shy of his career high, but good enough to get Davidson into the second round.
As a high school student at Charlotte Christian, Curry grew up a fan of the ACC and wanted to follow in his parents' footsteps at Virginia Tech. Dell Curry was a star with the Hokies before he played 16 seasons in the NBA, and Sonya Curry was on the volleyball team at Virginia Tech. The Hokies offered Stephen a scholarship but with the catch that he play as a walk-on for a year.

Curry wanted to play right away, so he chose Davidson, the small school (1,700 students) about 20 miles north of Charlotte.

And Bob McKillop couldn't wait to tell everyone about it.

In fact, when McKillop first saw Curry in his individual instruction in September and October 2006, he boldly told alumni at a gathering in Charlotte, "Wait 'til you see Steph Curry. He is something special."

Against Gonzaga, Curry scored 30 of his points in the second half, including six 3-pointers. His performance overcame his team's size disadvantage and proved that yes, indeed, this Davidson team has taken the program to another level. It was the school's third straight NCAA tournament appearance, but its first win there since 1969.

"I feel like from now on they're not going to say 'small Davidson with Stephen Curry,'" said guard Max Paulhus Gosselin. "He made a name for himself, and he helped our team be on a national stage. He deserves every bit of recognition he's gotten so far, and I hope it's even bigger for him in the future."

Last year was Curry's debut in the NCAA tournament, but it was short-lived as Davidson lost to Maryland in the first round in Buffalo, N.Y. This year, Curry is a more complete player, makes better decisions and has developed into a playmaker -- not just a shooter and scorer. He also had five steals, three rebounds and two assists (and he would have had more assists had his teammates been ready for them).

Curry beat Gonzaga's man-to-man coverage (and three different players tried to stop him). He beat the diamond-and-one. He beat the 3-2 zone. And the crowd roared when he cut right through Austin Daye and Steven Gray at half court late in the second half with Davidson preserving the lead.

"When Steph gets hot, he's not going to cool off," guard Jason Richards said. "… When he's shooting the ball like that, you have got to give him the ball. He's our leading scorer, and everybody knows that."

Curry's teammates happily set the screens for him, and he has mastered using them to get open and finish.

Couriers Of Points

Like several players before him, Davidson's Stephen Curry carried his team to victory in an NCAA tournament game with a 40-point spectacle.

Most points in an NCAA tournament game since 1996-97
Year Player Matchup Total
2004 Gerry McNamara Syracuse
vs. BYU
43
1999 Wally Szczerbiak Miami-Ohio vs. Wash. 43
1998 Elijah Allen FDU vs. UConn 43
2002 Tayshaun Price Kentucky
vs. Tulsa
41
2008 Stephen Curry Davidson
vs. Gonzaga
40
"It's very special to be on this team," he said. "Last year we started, nobody really expected anything out of us. We were a young team, and to work hard for these last two years and get to this point, it's definitely special to be a part of."

It's also a constant reminder of what other coaches missed out on.

"He's still playing to prove to people that they were wrong, that they missed his abilities and skills," Dell Curry said. "I think everybody will tell you they were wrong, but it's good to have a chip on your shoulder when you play sometimes."

Stephen Curry certainly doesn't have anything left to prove.

"All things happen for a reason," said Dell Curry, who is working for the Charlotte Bobcats. "He's at Davidson for a reason. He couldn't have done what he's doing now anywhere else."

This weekend, he just happens to be doing it on an ACC court, with his father watching.

"Well, he's been there my whole life," the younger Curry said. "I think the things I do on the court kind of come from him, so he's in my head during the game and I like to keep him involved."

From Davidson to the NBA, their tradition is bound to continue.

Heather Dinich is a college football and basketball writer for ESPN.com. Send your questions and comments to Heather at espn.hd@hotmail.com.

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