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On Davidson basketball.
Each morning over breakfast or inside cubicles, people boot up their computers and religiously check his box scores. In driveways late at night, they sit in cars to listen to his games live via satellite radio. Many who have never paid the NBA any mind at all fork over for expensive TV packages just to watch him. And they flock to away games to cheer for him, and him alone.
But quietly, Curry experiences a tiny bit of reservation. The love he receives, the hype that follows him, comes with a price.
Curry doesn’t want to inconvenience his loved ones. He doesn’t want to upstage his teammates. He doesn’t want to come off as a glutton for glory.
“He doesn’t take anything for granted, and he doesn’t think he’s entitled to anything,” said Steve Rossiter, one of Curry’s closest teammates at Davidson. “That’s not who he is.”
Curry said his parents, his high school coach, his girlfriend -- whom he first met six years ago in their church youth group -- and a couple Davidson teammates serve as his escape. They allow him a welcome relief from life on the pedestal.
Curry said he’s confident he won’t fall off, nor does he want off his high place. In his mind, it’s his calling to be humble while exalted.
“It’s possible to keep that forever,” Curry said of his pristine image. “It can’t be just for show. It’s got to be who you are. I’ve thought about this. I think it’s just who I am, who I was made to be.”
On the evening of the first game of his professional career in the NBA as a Golden State Warrior, Stephen Curry’s 10-minute drive from his Lake Merritt apartment to the Oakland Coliseum was delayed by a traffic jam. It would be one of the few times all season the rookie would be stressed.
Hopewell High basketball player DeMon Brooks, the I-MECK 4A player of the year, has committed to Davidson and will sign next week.
Brooks is a 6-foot-8 center who averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds last season. In college, he’ll play with his high school teammate, Hopewell 6-6 senior guard Jordan Downing.
1. The Butler Game. Let’s start at the beginning of the season. We knew this year wouldn’t be quite as good as the last two years, but Davidson played national runner-up and at-the-time-#10-ranked Butler pretty close at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The team led by ten in the first half. They came back from a ten-point deficit to take the lead with under ten minutes to go. Kuhlman (9 points, 6 assists) and Cohen (8 points) both had good first games, which leads me to ...
2. The Freshmen (Rising Sophomores). Nik Cochran, Jake Cohen, and JP Kuhlman all had great freshman seasons. Nik showed that he could come off the bench and provide great energy. He has shown a knack for getting into the lane and making things happen. There is some disagreement on Jake and JP -- but only over which one is better. Each one won a conference freshman of the year award. JP is a cool customer who is a capable ballhandler with a deadly shot. Jake has great length and great scoring ability -- he is also a good shot blocker. If JP
improves his defense and Jake puts on a few more pounds, they could each make multiple All-Conference teams.
3. No Bad Losses. The team played some excellent teams tough. I’ve already discussed the Butler game. They hung with Gonzaga in Seattle. And they should have beaten Cornell at Madison Square Garden. Sure, the Charleston tournament was a little rough. But in the conference season, Davidson didn’t lose any games to teams at the bottom of the conference. We didn’t see the kind of domination that we had become accustomed to, but the team played hard every night.
4. Recruiting. Coach McKillop and his staff have put together a strong recruiting class. De'Mon Brooks (6-7) was his conference’s player of the year. His teammate, Jordan Downing (6-5), provides length and scoring on the wing that the team didn’t have last year. Chris Czerapowicz led Sweden to the U18 European Championships last summer, and is one of the top-ranked players in his age cohort. Tom Droney (6-6) is a high-scoring guard with the ball handling ability of a point guard. These players should enhance the team’s ability to score in a variety of ways. And there is no reason to expect that recruiting will let up next year -- the prospects who have been identified as having interest in Davidson are of similar high quality.
5. Transitions. We’ve mentioned it several times on this board, but this was a year of big transitions. Stephen Curry left a year early somewhat unexpectedly. Matt Matheney left the coaching staff to coach Elon. Ben Allison injured his shoulder and Frank Ben-Eze was recovering from knee surgery. Aaron Bond decided to leave the team. That is a lot of disruption, both expected and unexpected.
6. The SoCon Seems to be Improving. Finally, the teams of the Southern Conference seem to be improving. App State, College of Charleston, Elon, Western Carolina, and Wofford all seem to be headed in the right direction. That may make things more challenging for Davidson, but raising the profile of the conference is important for getting multiple teams into the NCAA tournament (may be moot now) and for getting better seeds. It also helps with recruiting.
So in addition to trying to run the offense, please his eccentric coach and win games, Curry is charged with keeping hope alive in the Bay Area.
... they should be functioning time capsules that help us remember when our memory fails us. They allow future generations piece together the meaning for themselves.
There is a feeling that binds George Mason 2006, Davidson 2008 and Butler 2010 together.
... to sell those ahead of us on the idea that this was a really powerful experience for a lot of people.
I didn’t really like Michael Kruse’s Taking The Shot: when I first read it, I felt it was too esoteric and short, padded with extraneous material and featuring more footnotes than a David Foster Wallace book. But when I was back home for a few days nursing my broken immune system after Vancouver, I went back and re-read it. I “got it” a little more, and I could better see what the author was attempting. There are stories of the other players, and of fans and students, of free buses to Detroit, about the construction of the team, and the old and wise coach’s philosophy. And there is the feeling, in black and white, when the shot didn’t go down, when Davidson couldn't do what Mason did two years earlier, what Butler has done now. It’s far from perfect, but it’s a blueprint and a way forward.
Our victory bellows take over, melding us into one hot sweaty bonetired (up for seventeen hours straight come from down South twenty-four hours ago I didn’t even think I’d be here wasn’t I in a Wendy’s in Ohio eight hours ago is it really the same freaking day of the week?) euphoric disbelieving jumble of jubilant kids, screaming into the depths of these thousands for our hometown boys, our friends, our classmates. Bob McKillop’s face appears on the big screen, stoneset like we’re not going to win by seventeen points, not going to go to the Elite Eight, not going to be the story of the year -- just a normal game. And yet the clock slides easily down, no pressurecooker countdown no heartstopping miracle -- bliss pressing from all sides all people all mouths.