New Year’s Eve

’08’s breakout star

Scott Fowler: Davidson guard Stephen Curry belonged to the Carolinas until the NCAA tournament, when he went national with a series of amazing performances. My favorite was his 25-point second half against Georgetown on Easter Sunday in Raleigh. Davidson came back from 17 down to win.

You could list a half-dozen Curry performances here. My second favorite was far more recent. Curry scored 44 to beat N.C. State on Dec. 6 in Charlotte, with LeBron James as his celebrity fan, watching from the front row.

Lake Norman Times

Story by Dru Willis: “Now I feel like I have this home there in a way that I didn’t before this project started.”


Dick Jerardi in the Daily News: Check out “Taking The Shot” by Michael Kruse. It is the story of Davidson’s run to within a made three of the 2008 Final Four. Don’t, however, go looking for play-by-play or statistics.

This book is about why those March moments meant so much to so many. And it is eloquent in the explaining.

There is a history to Davidson basketball and to the institution itself that few know still. Read this book and you will know.

There are the players, the coaches, the fans, the faculty, the alumni and just people who got caught up in the moment.

A Davidson alum and talented writer with just the right amount of passion and perspective, Kruse puts the readers in the gyms, in the huddles and in the minds of everybody, from star Stephen Curry to coach Bob McKillop.

McKillop went to Davidson 20 years ago for the wrong reasons and stayed for the right reasons. Like so many other young coaches, he looked at Davidson as his steppingstone to the big time. Countless losses later, the coach got some perspective that so many in his profession never get. It wasn’t, McKillop found out, about him. It was about them. It wasn’t about the wins. It was about the journey.

When the coach finally understood that, his team started to win. It was not a coincidence.

Getting Curry to come to the small school outside Charlotte certainly helped, but Davidson was already a winning program by then. Curry just took them places they had never been, places you will share while reading this book.



McKillop’ll get it Saturday at Belk.


Stephen’ll get it Saturday at Belk.


Tampa watch tonight over at Ben’s place. So Stephen gets some superstar calls. I’m okay with that. That’s 2-0 against probably the two best other teams in the league. Hey. Know what I love? Those stretches, like late in the first half, for instance, or parts of the second half, where there’s movement and involvement and it looks like Davidson basketball, and where Stephen moves that certain way of his that we’ve all gotten used to, and everything seems so greased and fun and free. Stephen: 29, 9, 7 and 3, which will work, I suppose. Will’s threes: Don’t they just look so much better when they go in? Liking his vibe these days. His body language. Steve stayed on the floor tonight. Max stayed on the floor tonight. Bro, on the phone from Pittsburgh after the game, pointed out that the line in Vegas was 4.5, which no doubt mattered to the folks who are thinking about that stuff when Stephen missed that last free throw. Speaking of which: Stephen’s free throws? Anyway. Road win, league win, after Christmas break, against a good team that was all keyed up in a fancy new arena and whatnot. Oh, 11 straight against Charleston, 18 straight in Charleston, 38 straight in the Southern Conference. And some perspective here from the wise Eddie: 34-3 in 2008. Happy New Year.


At Charleston

Before last year’s game (via The Vault at 16point8.com): So I was walking down George Street in this pretty little city, about an hour and a half before tip, headed toward Kresse Arena, right behind two campus cops.

“I don’t even know who we’re playing,” the first cop said.

“Davidson,” the second cop said.

“Oh shit,” the first cop said.

Game! Of! The! Night!

Kyle: Davidson has had nine long days to stew about its nationally televised implosion in Indianapolis, a 76-58 pounding by Purdue that was a whole lot more devastating than first glance might indicate. Stephen Curry went 5-for-26 with six turnovers, and head coach Bob McKillop admitted afterwards that he was asking too much of his triple-superhero. Now comes the response to adversity, the true test of greatness. What will the Wildcats do? Early indications indicate that Curry might be relieved of the bulk of his point-guard duties, but that may prove a devil’s bargain. Davidson’s hidden strength has been the same weapon of the most advanced mid-majors, that of ball control. With Curry manning the point, only three teams in America have yielded turnovers at a tinier rate than 15.1 percent. (Davidson is also 16th in flat turnovers per game at 11.4.) But it'll be hard to make the NCAA’s again, much less the Elite 8, if the team’s porous perimeter defense isn’t shored up -- the Wildcats are allowing 37.4 percent from 3, and it’s killing them.


The Queen City Sports Blog: If you had Stephen Curry, would you not use him as much as possible until someone found a way to slow to him down? I have heard increasing criticism the last few weeks about the number of shots Curry takes and how Davidson is a one man team (to the likes of “no wonder he scores so much a game; it only takes him 40 shots a game to do it too”). Well, the strategy of taking the bulk of your team’s shots and even hitting less than 50% of them worked pretty well for Michael Jordan throughout his career. If I had arguably the best player in college basketball on my team, I would try to get the ball into his hands as much as humanly possible and make the other team stop him. Now that Purdue was the first team in two years to figure out how to slow Curry down (no, I don’t count the Loyola episode as being a real game), McKillop will have to devise a way to create more balance on offense. Until the Purdue game, however, there wasn’t anything wrong with his strategy.

Tonight in Charleston

Cremins: “I’ve had more people calling for tickets than I had wishing me merry Christmas.” Also: Charlotte. And: Davidson.


Year in quotes

McKillop: “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.”

Thank you

Jim Utter in the Observer’s year in review: One of the most impressive performances by Davidson basketball star Stephen Curry came in a game in which he didn’t score a single point.

Loyola (Md.) coach Jimmy Patsos elected to put two men on Curry during all 40 minutes of the Greyhounds' game with the Wildcats on Nov. 25, even when Curry wasn't looking to shoot or pass.

It didn’t take long for Curry to realize what was going on and he did exactly what Patsos wanted -- he didn’t look to shoot or pass. Instead, during Davidson's offensive possessions, Curry wandered over to a corner dragging his two defenders with him while his teammates basically played a game of 4-on-3.

The result was predictable: Davidson earned a lopsided 78-48 victory. Despite the 30-point loss, Patsos appeared to take satisfaction in shutting down Curry, which irked Davidson coach Bob McKillop.

It was another chapter in an already storied basketball career for Curry and a valuable learning experience for himself and his team.

“I meant to say after that game that I wanted to send a ‘thank you’ note to their coach,” McKillop said. “I think what came out of that game was Steph became a better player and we became a better team.”

Not quite the outcome Patsos had in mind.




From the old book, the one that wasn’t published, not the current book, the one that was:

Marshall Case settled into his seat at Charlotte’s Halton Arena for the Davidson-UNCC game in December of 1997. A stranger approached him.

“You’re Marshall Case, aren’t you?” the man said. “You played for Davidson, right?”

Yes and yes, Case responded.

In 1971-72.

As a walk-on.

The Annandale, Virginia, native appeared in 19 games that year, primarily as a backup point guard. He scored a total of 33 points on five-for-15 shooting, hit 23 of 24 free throw attempts, passed for nine assists and got six rebounds. And this guy, a generation later, in UNCC’s arena, remembered.

“That’s what it was like,” said Case, who still lives and works in Davidson.

The Case case is perhaps an extreme example, but not the only example of Charlotte’s one-time infatuation with Davidson’s basketball team.

Case isn’t the only one.

Barry Teague gets it. If for no other reason than his steal against Duke’s Art Heyman. “I have people to this day come up and talk to me about that game,” Teague said.

And Wayne Huckel, a rough-and-tumble guard during the team’s two regional final appearances who now works on the 42nd floor of the Nations Bank corporate center in Charlotte, has been confronted by wide-eyed parents of his children’s friends. They want to meet Wayne Huckel. The Wayne Huckel.

Davidson basketball players were the Beatles of Mecklenburg County. Boys wrote asking for autographs or tips on basketball. Area junior high and high school girls, giggly and obsessed, sent doting fan mail and baked cakes, cookies and brownies.

For Ronnie Stone, a Class of 1966 reserve, there was a slew of letter-writing fans. But no one wrote more than Ann Margaret Summers.

“I have just about all the paper clippings of the Davidson ballgames,” the Statesville High junior wrote in a letter dated February 23, 1966. Enclosed was a stick of Juicy Fruit. “Some of my girlfriends went to see you play N.Y.U. I was planning to go but couldn’t. They got autographs from the players there. They brought me a program of the game. I cut out your picture and would like for you to autograph it for me. My friends and I decided to pick a player and write to him. I picked you. (Lucky you.) …

“All my friends call me ‘Kiki,’ so you can call me that, too.”

More backlash

Seth Davis in this week’s SI: Davidson’s not as good as it was last year. After losing three starters from their Elite Eight squad, the Wildcats (8-2) need superhuman efforts from guard Stephen Curry to beat top teams. Curry shot 5 for 26 in an 18-point loss to Purdue.


Jason Williams on Stephen Curry: “He’s a great player … but sometimes I really question a lot of his shot selections. One game I saw him, I think it was versus N.C. State, he had 44 points, but he took 33 shots. Granted, he didn’t have anybody else on his team to take shots. But I know once he gets to the next level he’s going to have to be a point guard, and he’s going to get drafted to get people into the game. … Will he be able to carry on the same kind of shooting and have the same shot selection in the NBA? I don’t think so. I think he might struggle the same way you see J.J. Redick struggling. When the plays aren’t run for you all the time, now all of a sudden, instead of getting 33 shots, you might get four or five, and you’re expected to make those shots. And if you don’t, you’re going to have a hard time kind of getting in that true circle of a team’s rotation, so I see some struggles ahead for him if he can’t turn himself into more of a point guard/shooting guard.”


The shot

The talented Brady McCollough: Why, for me, the Davidson game -- not North Carolina, not Memphis, not KU football’s epic Border War win over Missouri -- is the moment of the year on the Kansas beat.



DeCourcy: Davidson graduate Michael Kruse, author of the new book, Taking The Shot: The Davidson Basketball Moment, has done some calculating and determined Wildcats All-American Stephen Curry could become the NCAA’s all-time scoring champ if he completes four seasons. After Davidson’s game against Purdue, Curry has 1,961 career points and at least 22 games left this year (including a minimum of one Southern Conference tournament game and one postseason game). Kruse points out that if Curry could play 60 more games for the Wildcats and average 30 points, he would blow past Pete Maravich’s career total of 3,667 points. Following a tough day Saturday against the Boilermakers, Curry is averaging exactly 30 -- and that’s including that gimmicky zero-point night against Loyola (Md.).


‘I liked it better ...’

seacatfan on the Gonzaga board after last night’s loss to Portland State: I think Gonzaga has been so desperate to shed the mid major label they’ve forgotten who they are. The announcers tonight mentioned this could be the best Zags team ever. They have 3 losses already. How can you even think they’re the best? For my money I’ll take the Elite 8 team any time. They didn’t have the most talent, but they came to play, they didn’t get outworked or outhustled. It’s really bugged me in recent years when other teams have flipped the script and become what GU used to be. Tournament losses to Nevada and Davidson. Regular season loss to Butler. I’m sure there are more. Tonight of course. One team comes in with a big rep and a supposed advantage as the favored team. The other team comes in hungry and plays hard w/ enthusiasm, hustle, energy and pulls off the upset. It used to be the Zags beating the big guy, now the Zags are the big guy getting beat by someone else. The program is drifting towards being prima donnas who play as if they can just show up and win. That is not the attitude that made Gonzaga great. They have become victims of their own success.


Joyce Carol Oates in On Boxing: In a secular, yet pseudo-religious and sentimental nation like the United States, it is quite natural that sports stars emerge as “heroes” -- “legends” -- “icons.” Who else? George Santayana described religion as “another world to live in” and no world is so other, so set off from the disorganization and disenchantment of the quotidian than the world, or worlds, of sports.



Andrew Lovedale: Based on criteria focusing on the “Four C’s” of classroom, character, community and competition, the award winners will be selected by national balloting of head basketball coaches, national media and college basketball fans.

Seth Davis

From today’s Hoop Thoughts: You won't find a bigger Stephen Curry fan than me, but I think he shot himself out of the national Player of the Year race with his combined 14-for-53 performances against West Virginia and Purdue. Curry will continue to put up astounding numbers, but by March voters will penalize him because those stats were posted against inferior competition compared to the kind Tyler Hansbrough and Blake Griffin have faced.


Whelliston: On Saturday, we personally witnessed the tragic collapse we hinted at last week -- triple-superhero Stephen Curry’s 5-for-26 shooting night against Purdue on free national television, which unleashed a wave of mid-major backlash and ensured that it will be a long while before the coaches and writers will allow the Davidson Wildcats back into their special Top 25 club with the doormen and the gold-plated washrooms. We, on the other hand, left fascinated about the future, wondering how this team will adjust to overcome its omissions and weaknesses. We saw it as a cautionary tale told in feature-film length, a fable about the endeavors of a red-colored organism, one that foretells the harsh equation many Americans will find themselves living out next year.

The decision

Sporting News: “Will you be back for your senior year?”

Stephen: “That’s the plan right now. I don’t want to think too much about a decision I have to make at the end of the year because that will distract me for this season.”

Talk. Lots of talk. Always the talk. The expected talk.

What it is.

The seven keys of Davidson basketball are:

1. Have an act.

2. See.

3. Talk.

4. Flesh to flesh.

5. Balance.

6. Details.

7. Finish.

30 for 30

Seth in Vegas.

(Also see this.)


Books books books


Claire: We walked into that thick warm atmosphere of popcorn smell and people and rubbergym smell and the buzz of brass blaring behind the glass doors and the murmurs and mumbles of being normal, being at home -- going to see the boys play. GOING TO SEE THE BOYS PLAY. Like no time had passed between the last time I’d seen them play -- March 30, 2008 ohdeargod -- and here and now, December. No time since I last saw them play at HOME -- February 27, 2008 -- and ten (TEN?!) months later. So much has changed and yet nothing.



The day after

Things I thought watching from my spot on the baseline at Conseco: Brendan is getting better. I’m comfortable with the ball in Max’s hands too. Frank is going to be excellent. Will looked good. Stephen looked beat. Wasn’t the first time. Steve’s got to stay on the floor. Bryant’s defense? Three-point defense? The first time Stephen didn’t live up to or exceed expectations with so many watching: a moment that was inevitable. And important. It’ll tamp down some of the hyperbole. Not all bad. Seasons are seasons for reasons: up and down, peaks and dips, problems to solve. December is early. Merry Christmas.

Purdue postmortem

Words: Charlotte. Charlotte. Indianapolis. Indianapolis. AP. ESPN. Old Gold Free Press. DeCourcy. Gary. Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne. More Fort Wayne. Davidson.


Forde: Can you blame McKillop? If you were the coach at Davidson and you recruited the best player in school history, wouldn’t you ask him to do everything short of healing the sick and giving sight to the blind? If you had a basketball savior who kept rising to meet ever-increasing demands, wouldn’t you keep expecting miracles? Would loaves and fishes for the pregame meal be too much to ask, Steph?

Sure you would keep pushing -- until one day the guy gets his uniform wet while walking on water.



Like this

Zadie Smith on David Foster Wallace in the January Harper’s: “This was his literary preoccupation: the moment when the ego disappears and you’re able to offer up your love as a gift without expectation of reward. At this moment the gift hangs, like Federer’s brilliant serve, between the one who sends and the one who receives, and reveals itself as belonging to neither.”


New York Times

On The Quad blog: I was about 25 rows up, behind the Davidson bench, there as an alum, not as a reporter. And I couldn’t see. Not because I wasn’t close enough. I was. Not because I didn’t have a sight line. I did. But I felt like I was blinking, and blinking, and straining to take in all of that moment, and all that it meant, in that short, short spurt of time.

Stephen Curry

All colleges.

All sports.

All year.

Not Tebow. Not Tyler.

The story continues.

The big draw

Says The Citadel on the Davidson game: “It’s going to help us make budget.”


Eric over at Storming the Floor: You could do worse than to be the three-point specialist with his own T-shirt, right?

Tomorrow at Conseco

Preview grab bag: Fort Wayne. Charlotte. More Charlotte. Still Charlotte. Chicago. Rivals. AP. Jerry Palm. TSN via NBC. Big Ten Geeks. Davidson. Indianapolis. Gary. FanHouse. All Things Boilermaker.

Stephen and the Pistol

David Sink brought it up on DavidsonCats.com.

Bob Huggins brought it up on The Dan Patrick Show.

John Akers brought it up in his cover story in this month’s Basketball Times.

I brought it up, briefly, last month in Staying Stephen in Charlotte mag.

It’s hard not to start doing the math in your head. All of this is totally cart-before-the-horse, but let’s say Stephen stays four years, and let’s say he keeps scoring the way he’s scoring, and let’s say he plays in all of Davidson’s games. Let’s say that’s 60 more games. Let’s say he scores 30 points per. That’s 1,800 points. Add that to the number of points he has now, which is 1,948 going into Purdue.

That’s more than Maravich.

“Pistol” Pete Maravich was not big, 6-foot-3 and 150 pounds in his senior year of high school at Raleigh Broughton, and he was skinny and even gaunt during his years at LSU. But he scored like no one had ever scored before and like no one has ever scored since. He scored from all over the court. The points just piled up. He drew crowds everywhere LSU went. People just had to see him play.

He scored 40 or more 56 times.

He scored 50 or more 28 times.

He scored 3,667 points in his college career, the all-time college record, thought to be all but unbreakable, and he did it in three years because freshmen were ineligible to play varsity back then, and he did it, too, with no three-point line. He averaged more than 44 points a game. What made Maravich all the more compelling was that he didn’t look like he should have been able to do what he did.

Which gets to Stephen.

If he comes back for his senior season the Pistol talk is going to get loud.

But they’re more different than they are alike.

Read Mark Kriegel’s Pistol. Read Phil Berger’s Forever Showtime. Read the stories from Sports Illustrated in the archives on SI.com.

Maravich played, consciously and purposefully, to put on a show.

“If I have a choice whether to do the show or throw the straight pass, and we’re going to get the basket either way,” he told SI in 1969, “I’m going to do the show.

“Sometimes,” he said, “when we start out and I see the play developing, I just want to shout out, ‘Hey, here we go. Hey, everybody watch this.’”

He never won a game in the NCAA tournament.

He never played a game in the NCAA tournament.

In the NBA, he led the league in scoring, and he was an All-Star, but he seldom played on a team that won more than it lost.

The most points he ever scored in a game, college or pro, came against Alabama. He had 69. LSU lost.

He hurt his knee -- the injury that hastened the end of his career -- while throwing a between-the-legs pass on a three-on-oh break.

And then there’s this: He scored a ton of points, and he made a ton of money, but for most of his life he was very, very unhappy. His father was obsessive and pushed him mercilessly. His mother was mentally ill and committed suicide. He drank too much. He drove too fast. He felt old when he wasn’t. In the last few years of his life, before he died of a heart attack, at 40, he found some personal peace, finally. But during his career in the NBA, he often seemed moody or joyless, and he talked at times about aliens and UFOs and at one point painted a message to them on the roof of his condo in Atlanta.

“Take me.”

Pete Maravich played basketball as an escape from who he was.

Stephen Curry plays basketball as an extension of who he is.


Saturday on CBS

The view from Purdue: “Once he gets it, you’re kind of at his mercy.”

Down in Florida

1 on 1

McKillop to Amber Wilson: “Seeing one of your former players succeed in life ...”

Selling Stephen

Mike Miller on MSNBC.com: People want to see the kid play. Simple as that.

It’s out there

The book is on PaperBack Swap now.


I was hoping someone would write this. Now I’m hoping someone will write still more.

Andrew is the eighth of 10 children. He lost his father when he was 13. He didn’t start playing basketball seriously until he moved to England when he was 17. He sings gospel songs, every day, often alone. He says it uplifts his spirit. He says it keeps him in touch with the source. He says his favorite is God Will Make A Way. “A roadway in the wilderness,” that song says. In the locker room after the win over Gonzaga, he told me last spring, he saw peace.

Before he started playing basketball in England, he said, when he was maybe 15 and still living in Benin City, Nigeria, he barely knew the rules of the sport. He was curious enough, though, to go to the playground near his home to watch the “big boys,” he said, bolt barefoot up and down the concrete court with wooden backboards and rims with no nets. They were older, bigger and stronger, but the way they played, he thought, was wild and unstructured.

“I felt,” he told me, “they were running without purpose.”



And here I thought this was going to be about Stephen: “If you look at zero you see nothing; but look through it and you will see the world.”

Bleacher Report

Stephen is the No. 1 guard: Curry is also fifth in the country in assist ratio at 42 percent, which means when he’s on the floor he assists on 42 percent of his team’s field goals. Considering Curry also scores at will, the majority of Davidson’s baskets when Curry is on the floor, which is 86 percent of the time, somehow go through his hands.


Again. Should somebody else get it one of these weeks just because?


Whelliston on Stephen

Kyle Whelliston was the first guy with a national platform who wrote about Stephen.

“This was no fresh-faced kid,” he wrote, on ESPN.com, way back on Dec. 20, 2006. “What we had here was a baby-faced assassin.”

Later, what seems like much later -- last summer, when Kyle and I talked for the book -- he said this: “Folks were heckling him, ‘You look like you’re 12,’ and he did look like he was 12. But he kept hitting shots. And the points were secondary. It was the poise. He was in control of that game. The timing of the shots. The degree of difficulty. He took that game and did what he wanted.”

Kyle is no stranger at all to Davidson basketball, and he travels like an absolute nut, which I respect, and he goes enough places and sees enough games and talks to enough people to earn the right to say what he says.

Also, most of the many things that have been written about Stephen over the last two years have said basically the same stuff -- I’ve read everything -- so any piece of original reporting or new insight tends to stick out.

So here’s what Kyle wrote this morning:

We the media (especially the ones who are just now getting on the bandwagon and need to write glowing copy to justify the trip expense) are in that uncomfortable intersection between starstruck awe, competition for remaining superlatives and the careful soft-shoe around actual criticism of the 20-25 minutes when he’s not clicking. The guy is carrying a backcourt and a team and a school and a conference on his slim shoulders, and the strain is showing. His eyes bulge during timeouts and he clutches his shorts a lot … that wasn’t happening nearly as much last year. Is he ready for the NBA? Who really knows. But if he gets through this season alive, he’s simply superhuman.

‘We got lucky’

Bought Jason King’s Kansas book last week and it showed up in yesterday’s mail.

Some Davidson-related items:

Russell Robinson: “We were lucky to survive against Davidson. But the way I saw it … I’d been watching UCLA play all year. They’d dodged some bullets and then played well after that. So we dodged ours against Davidson.”

Jeremy Case: “We’d made it to the Final Four, so the pressure was off and we could just go out and play.

“I think the bigger thing for Coach Self -- at least as far as stress -- was beating Davidson the week before and advancing to the Final Four. He got pretty emotional after that win. It was a side of him we weren’t used to seeing. The first round eliminations, the losses in the Elite Eight … all the struggles that we went through to get to the Final Four came down on him at once. His voice was cracking and his eyes were glazed over. It was a special moment.

“We all felt the tension that game. I talked to Russell and he was like, ‘Man, I couldn’t breathe out there.’ We were so nervous and so tight. It was understandable. We were one game away from the Final Four. The media and the hype had worn on us. Plus, Davidson was a really good team.”

Joe Posnanski: “The moment that will always stick with me from this remarkable Kansas team happened in Detroit, just after Kansas edged Davidson to go to the Final Four. The last strands of confetti were still falling, and coach Bill Self was being dragged from interview to interview while fans yelled, ‘Way to go, Coach!’ Self looked absolutely dazed.

“‘We got lucky,’ he told one coach, John Thompson, on his radio show, then he went across to the Kansas radio broadcast and said, ‘We got lucky,’ then he saw some fans from Lawrence that he knew, and he mouthed, ‘We got lucky.’

“They had gotten lucky, of course. The Jayhawks had not looked like themselves all game. They played scared, and anyone could understand. Davidson was this tournament’s charmed team, led by the nation’s charmed player, Stephen Curry. It was like shooting baskets against karma.”


Depends on your perspective


From the book:

In January McKillop’s team came back from six points down with three minutes to go to win against Elon. In February the team came back from 20 down in the first half to win against UNC Greensboro. And then came the tournament comebacks in March that made so many around the nation start watching. One fan said a timeout late in the game against Gonzaga had been what he considered a long-sought-after “moment of equilibrium.” It wasn’t a feeling of imminent victory. What it was, he said, was an overwhelming feeling of opportunity. The chance. We can win this. It was, for some alums, particularly for those who had been boys during the Lefty years of the 1960s, something like a reawakening of the possibility of national success. Two days after that, late in the second half of the comeback against Georgetown, one fan turned to his left and looked down his row in Raleigh and saw a white-haired alum with a single tear running down his cheek and then turned back to his young son and asked him to please watch this game close.

Stephen vs. J.J.

The kids at the Chronicle at Duke want to know.

“Who’s better: J.J. Redick or Stephen Curry?”

This comparison came up in one of my conversations last summer with Mike DeCourcy.

Mike’s take on Stephen: “He has qualities of J.J. Redick. He runs through the offense and never stops basically. That’s an unusual thing. But what really separates him is the release. His lack of need for space. The thing that he has now that J.J. didn’t have until his senior year, maybe, is his invention -- his ability to make up a shot in the moment.”


“The play against Georgetown that tied it. The scoop layup. He went basically through three guys, and that was not at a point when Georgetown was not paying attention. A lot of people knew him just as a shooter, but that was the most impressive play I saw anybody make in the NCAA tournament. Because he defeated three high-level defenders, all of them bigger than he was, and at a critical moment.”

That number

Got this in my inbox the other day: “What does the ‘16.8’ represent with respect to Davidson basketball? Just curious.”

In a word: hope.

In two words: a moment.

In three words: earned and experienced.

Allow me to quote Gus Johnson, CBS Sports, March 30, 2008, Ford Field, Detroit:

“Five to shoot!


“Three to shoot!

“Lets go!

“Off the front rim …


“And with 16.8 to go!



Answering the question

Says the All-American Hoops Blog on the book: “Stephen Curry isn’t on the cover. Why? No one knows.”

I know why.

Because Jason took the shot.

Because Stephen trusted him to do that.

Because it’s about the pursuit and not the result.

Because it’s about the journey and not the destination.

Because William wrote what he wrote.

Because Davidson basketball under Bob McKillop has always been about the chase of the chance and there it was.

Because that moment -- watched by so many -- was created by so many people for so many years doing so many things watched by so few.

Because in my reporting for the book Eileen Keeley told me this: “Wait. Stop. Focus on the moment.”

And because Reed Jackson told me this: “I felt like it wasn’t about wins and losses anymore. The fact that the moment existed made it worth experiencing.”

And because Stephen Cefalu told me this: “Something I want to do better in life is live out those moments. Embrace them fully. … Live life. Life should be amount those moments, and they’re so quick.”

And because Greg Dunn told me this: “I cared about this, deeply, but … it was an oddly calm experience. I’m usually an anxious sports watcher. I get up and pace. I drink my beer too fast. But there was a euphoria about being there.”

And because Beaux Jones told me this: “That feeling exists.

“It was possible.

“It was real.

“That moment happened.”

Saturday night

More book buzz

From SI.com’s All-American Hoops Blog: There’s a new book out about Davidson’s memorable march to the Elite Eight last season, entitled Taking the Shot: The Davidson Basketball Moment. Stephen Curry isn’t on the cover. Why? No one knows.



Have just a little time here in the union at Davidson before heading back to Florida after a week-plus of the Wildcats and the book and New York and friendship and fellowship and Blue Moon at the Brickhouse.

Some quick thoughts on last night:

*** Something I’ve heard enough to be a pattern: “Stephen had an off night, and he still had … ”

I heard it after the Oklahoma game in which he had 44 points. Could’ve been 60, I heard people say. Shoot, I heard MYSELF say that.

I heard it after State. Also 44 points.

I heard it at Madison Square Garden, where, granted, he wasn’t his sharp self for most of the game but still managed by the end to be THE SHOW in MIDTOWN MANHATTAN.

And I heard it last night.

The kid had 41 points in 36 minutes. He made half of the shots he attempted from the floor. He made five of the 11 threes he shot. He missed four free throws, yes, which is uncharacteristic, almost shocking, but he also made 14 of them. He had six assists and four rebounds and a steal.

I’m not sure what people are wanting from No. 30, or expecting, and I know his shots look so pretty, whether they’re misses or makes, but …

*** Nobody else in the Southern Conference has a Stephen Curry. Games like last night make me think the same might be able to be said about Will Archambault.

*** Andrew: 14 rebounds at half, 18 in all, nine offensive, 38 minutes -- what he is going to be on many, many nights in league play the rest of the way.

*** Chattanooga is good. Players. Athletes. Size. Depth. Shot-makers. Last night could’ve been a preview of a certain Monday night in March in Chattanooga. Wouldn’t surprise me one iota.

*** John Shulman after 41 from Stephen: “I thought we did a pretty good job on him.”

*** My favorite moment from the game:

Chattanooga guy had the ball, was sort of trapped near the sideline, looked like smack between Brendan McKillop on the court facing the bench and Bob McKillop in front of the bench facing the court.

Bob McKillop was standing still, and had his arms crossed, and stayed that way, practically calm-looking, even though he was -- what? -- two, three feet from this play, with Brendan McKillop tense and ready and in defensive position.

Father to son:

“Right here, Brendan!

“Right here!”

*** My favorite moment from the postgame press conference:

Somebody asked Stephen about that drive late in the game down the left side of the lane and the maybe-I-should-dunk-but-no wildly missed layup.

“I’ve done that two games in a row,” he said. He looked embarrassed.

“Gotta work on that,” he said.

Will was sitting next to him. Under the table he used his right knee to nudge Stephen’s left thigh. Sly smile on his face.

“I’ll give you some pointers,” he said.

“Thank you,” Stephen told Will.

Beating teams you ‘shouldn’t’

Davidson-bound JP Kuhlman scored a game-high 32 points Friday night in leading his team to a win over the four-time defending Florida state champs.


Park Road Books

Main Street Books

Back at Belk

Claire Asbury, Class of ’10, a terrific young writer, is back from her semester abroad, and one of her first stops stateside tonight is Belk Arena.

To mark her return to campus, and also just because they’re really kind of awesome, here are some more entries from her basketball journal from last year:

March 11, 2008: AND THEY SANG WITH US. THEY POINTED AT US (“TOUCHING ME, TOUCHING YOU!”). WE POINTED AT THEM. THEY RAISED THEIR FISTS (“1, 2, 3, 4!”). THEY PUMPED THEIR FISTS AND CHANTED “SO GOOD! SO GOOD! SO GOOD!” RIGHT ALONG WITH US! It was absolutely indescribable for me to see them doing that, overjoyed, a true reflection of what we as their supporters mean to them, and I had never seen it done so explicitly that if I hadn’t been so caught up in it I would've started crying.

March 22, 2008: And it’s hard to describe what it’s like when months and years are somehow slammed together to mean nothing but NOW, THIS MOMENT, the cheers, the screaming, the possibility of impossibility … it’s all still kind of a juxtaposition in my mind. It’s fuzzy, it’s red and black, it’s loud, it’s Sweet Caroline coming back for round two, it’s their wide grins and joyful fists, it’s my sweaty hands punching in Dad’s number and letting loose a shriek that I’d been dying to do for months as he answered the phone in kind.

Mach 24, 2008: But we all had dreams.

They’re not dreams anymore.

March 29, 2008: And I was there.

And it was incredible.

Last year


Ron Green Jr.: In the aftermath of Davidson’s victory against West Virginia on Tuesday in Madison Square Garden, Wildcats coach Bob McKillop made the point that there is more to his team than just the consistently spectacular Stephen Curry.

Cover boy

Stephen is on the front of this month’s Basketball Times. The long story inside, the latest addition to StephLit, is by John Akers, the editor of the venerable monthly magazine for hoop heads.

From the text:

On his own team, Curry’s new fame is a source of amusement. Teammate Steve Rossiter recently noticed a crowd at a spot on campus where it wouldn’t normally congregate and found Curry there, signing napkins for a group of prospective students. Rossiter alerted security to the potential fire hazard.

And Curry remains the Wildcat who can barely dunk or beat his old man in H-O-R-S-E.

The son has never beaten the father on their driveway. There, Steph said, Dell Curry can step out of his car after a long drive, after months without playing, and still shoot as if he was participating in the NBA’s 3-point contest. But on the Davidson court last spring, in front of coaches and teammates, Steph Curry finally got the better of Dell Curry.

And in Salisbury ...

From Bret Strelow.



From Jeff Goodman: I saw Michael Kruse, a former Prepstars writer who is now working down at the St. Pete Times in Florida, for the first time in years this past week at Madison Square Garden. Kruse is a Davidson grad who recently finished a book called, TAKING THE SHOT: The Davidson Basketball Moment. It’s due out this week and is published by Butler Books (www.butlerbooks.com). Can’t wait to get started on it.

Pop culture pop

Lil Wayne (seriously): I do watch a lot of college basketball, and I really need to address something in the blog before I move on. Steph Curry, you are amazing. Did you see how he gets those text messages from his mom before the games with an inspirational quote and then he goes and writes it on his tennis shoes? I love that so much.

He wasn’t looked at heavy coming out of high school ’cause of his little body. The ACC schools thought he would get pushed around, so they passed him over. Now he is the ultimate underdog running circles around everybody ...

Tomorrow night

David Uchiyama: A victory Saturday at Davidson would match the historical significance of the ETSU win 16 years ago ...


The General

Thomas on the radio before the game at the Garden: “I don’t really miss playing basketball. I miss playing basketball for Davidson.”

The people’s choice

DeCourcy: What makes Davidson guard Stephen Curry different than just about any college player this decade is simply this: Every time he has the ball in his hands, he brings you forward in your seat. What might happen now? What shot might he invent? Will he create room for himself with some kind of step-back maneuver? Will he drive it and complete the play with some ridiculously creative finish? Will he throw a pass only he believes will squeeze between defenders and it does?

Curry isn’t just the most exciting college player this season. He is the most exciting since, at least, Allen Iverson left Georgetown in 1996.

Brandon on Stephen

Up in New York, back in June, in my reporting for the book, Brandon Williams and I sat in the cafeteria of his building and he said Stephen -- again, back in June -- had gotten “to the realm of national folk hero.”

Brandon’s a Davidson alum, Class of ’96, and a Davidson basketball alum, obviously, but he’s also the NBA’s director of basketball operations, so (1) he knows the sport, (2) he knows the business of the sport, and (3) he’s not some crazy, irrational fan.

More from Brandon:

“Stephen doesn’t come along often for college basketball -- much less for Davidson.”

“NOBODY has had this guy in a long time.”

“What I saw and recognized about Steph -- the day we beat Wisconsin, we were back at the hotel, in the lounge, and on those plasma TVs was, ‘Steph Curry, Steph Curry.’ And he was being a college kid at midnight. He was eating pizza with his roommate and his roommate’s dad. He stopped and watched and listened, but he was shooting pool, laughing and being silly.”

“He wasn’t Steph the superstar, with shades on, basking in NBA glory, is my point.”

"He’s enjoying college. It’s about hanging out with the White Lobster. And how much fun is that?"

“The last time you sit around and eat pizza and drink hot Gatorade is in college. Because everything will MATTER after that. Pro basketball? It’s a different world.”

“I saw a kid shrugging it all off. He’s not naive. It’s not like somebody’s programming what he’s supposed to be saying. It’s not like he doesn’t get that being on Conan is a big deal. But I don’t get that it alters who he is.”

“Davidson will protect him. Davidson doesn’t have enough experience to exploit him. I don’t know if we know HOW to exploit him the way other people would.”

“Curry as a pro? Curry coming out? That’s not even the story.”

2,719 words

Twelve questions, ESPN got almost 3,000 words, and they used not quite 1,300 of them, which was awesome. Here, though, are all of them, uncut, on Storming the Floor.

‘Destined to go in’

The New York Observer: Curry would not let his team lose. He managed to elude a double-team, took a pass, and made a three over a pair of defenders from beyond NBA three-point range. WVU by one. Back on defense, Curry stopped a taller WVU player’s momentum, anticipating his driving lane to the basket, then pulled down the rebound. No one else touched the ball as Curry headed up court. Curry found just enough space to take another three pointer, and buried it. MSG was Knicks-playoffs loud (remember Knicks-playoffs loud?).

McKillop on Stephen

I could’ve missed this somewhere, but I read pretty much everything, and McKillop did say this the other night in the press conference after the game at the Garden:

“Stephen Curry is loved by his teammates. Loved.”

They keep coming ...

Huggins: “I don’t think we’ve seen anything like him in college basketball for decades.” Listen here.


More from Hoops: Curry and Davidson, a small school located 20 miles outside Charlotte, N.C., brought back memories of Princeton and Bill Bradley ...

They’re out

No. 1 on Google


‘Grow into myself’

SI.com: It was difficult not to be in awe last night, despite a poor first 34 minutes by Steph Curry. Sportswriters, usually the most unimpressable of anyone, gasped at his impossible shots. Grown men left their jobs in the New York suburbs early to come see him. And even Warren Sapp came, sitting behind Pat Riley. When Curry finally made a big shot and pointed towards the sky, you kind of had to wonder if he had a direct line with the basketball gods, because there’s really no other way some of those shots he put up went in. So as we watched everyone -- and we mean everyone (yes, West Virginia fans in the third row we saw you clap when Steph was introduced), we had to wonder how he’s changed fans’ lives and what else he could do for the world.

America’s team

Newsday: He’s built up Davidson into something as incredible and unlikely as Curry’s skills. A small, elite, liberal-arts school of a couple thousand, tucked outside Charlotte, close enough to Tobacco Road to expect only the leftovers of what Duke, Carolina and N.C. State leave behind, is in the top 25 and coming off a run to the Elite Eight.


You can buy the book there now.

Stock in Stephen

Times are tough. “But for now, there’s no better bet out there than Steph Curry.”

Ahead of K

Carolinas sports’ 10 most fascinating: Nice guy, great jump shot, good genes.


Weird: Bob McKillop, head basketball coach at Davidson, says he has carried a gun into every basketball game his team has played the past two-plus seasons. It’s a Stephencurry .30, and while it only has range up to about 35 feet, it is deadly accurate. In fact, McKillop’s Stephencurry .30 can fire off rounds of 44 in a single 40-minute span before needing to be reloaded.


‘The cherubic face’

Hoops: Curry struggled through a dreadful 35 minutes against West Virginia in the first game of the Jimmy V Classic. Then, just when his aura seemed to be dimming ...

A gift

Vac: The player is still too young, still too green, to fully appreciate what he did and where he did it, so for now it takes the older generations to provide the proper perspective. For now, Stephen Curry simply lives in these wonderful moments, and collects them, and embraces them.

New York chops

Nathan Fowler: We all went to the Garden tonight to see Stephen Curry put on a show. Sure, there were some West Virginia fans, but I bet even they were kind of hoping to see Curry go off while they still pulled out a win. The Villanova and Texas fans were certainly pulling for Davidson. There was a large contingent of Curry jerseys and bright red “Witness” hats and t-shirts in the crowd. It was one of the biggest crowds in the history of the Jimmie V Classic, largely just to see Curry.

Curry mania

Luke Winn: Stephen Curry appears to be the only college basketball player capable of beating the recession.

‘Little tiny Davidson’

Jeff Goodman: Why fans jammed the building.

The phenomenon

Andy Katz: The cult following Curry is cultivating is different than Adam Morrison’s at Gonzaga. Morrison drew crowds, but there was also a segment that loved to root against him. That doesn't seem to be the case at all with Curry. He seems to have everyone on his side, waiting to see him put on a show. Of course fans are cheering for their team to win, but they appear to want to see Curry dazzle in the process.


The latest chapter

He never stops shooting.


Not ever.

Back before LAST season, back when I had seen Stephen play in person all of once, back before the second straight 29-win season, back before Gonzaga, Georgetown, Wisconsin and a shot in the air -- back before all that -- I went to Davidson to report a story for Charlotte magazine and this is what the coaches told me: The kid can miss a shot. He can miss two shots, three shots, four shots, five shots, 10 shots. It doesn’t matter.

He never stops shooting.

Lives in the moment. Never about the last one. Always about THIS one.

And so this is what I found myself writing, over and over, in my notebook tonight at the Garden.

He never stops shooting.

Back rim.

He never stops shooting.

Front rim.

He never stops shooting.

In and out.

He never stops shooting.

So there’s more to say about tonight, much more, and I’ll get to it, but right now I kind of want to go meet Meg and Chip and Eddie for drinks at the Playwright on 35th between 5th and 6th.

Just quickly, though, just so we’re clear about what happened here: These guys played at Madison Square Garden tonight and they did so without their best defender. They got out-rebounded 58-32, which is hard to do, and gave up 29 offensive rebounds, which is hard to do, too. They missed seven free throws. A freshman walk-on played nine minutes. Most of the team was in foul trouble most of the night. And Stephen missed more shots than he has in goodness knows how long.

And they won.


In The World’s Most Famous Arena.

And when Stephen hit that first late three deep from the left wing, and then that second late three deep from the right wing, ESPECIALLY that second late three, this place was nothing but noise for No. 30 and the rest of the kids from the village.

“He is,” McKillop told all the people at the press conference after the game, “a very, VERY rare young man.”

To listen to

Seth Davis on Dan Patrick’s show: Curry will be an outstanding NBA player.

As per usual

Does this just seem to happen every week or DOES it actually IN FACT happen EVERY week? Stephen wins weekly honors as the top dog of the SoCon. Here: “Curry now owns facility scoring records at four different arenas including Holmes Center (Appalachian State), RBC Center, Time Warner Arena and Lloyd Noble Center (Oklahoma).”

‘Everybody wants to see’

New York.

Up in the cafe on the second floor of the Borders at 33rd and 7th, looking down at the cabs and the crush of the people and the hustle bustle of midtown Manhattan, and to my right, in white-light block letters in the early-evening dark, MADISON SQUARE GARDEN.



Like Gary Parrish.


On the mag page.

The show

McKillop: “The Garden is the mecca, the Taj Mahal, St. Peter’s.”

'One Stephen Curry'

Jay Wright in the New York Post: “It’s like the old days of the Garden when they bring in Oscar Robertson or somebody like that so everybody in New York can get a view.”


Mike DeCourcy: Stephen Curry has done just about everything a college player can do in less than two-and-a-half seasons, but this will be his first chance to play at Madison Square Garden. Davidson and West Virginia are the opening act for this year’s Jimmy V, which means defensive ace Bob Huggins will have to devise some way to stop Curry that doesn’t, say, lead to his team being defeated by 30.

It’s possible he’s not getting enough acclaim for what he has accomplished so far this season. Curry is averaging 31.3 points in spite of the scoreless night he endured against Loyola’s constant double-team. In both games this year against major-conference opponents, he scored 44.

Oh, and by the way, he also is averaging 6.4 assists and shooting better than 50 percent from the field. He deserves this stage.


One-man team?

The Duke Basketball Report on LeBron’s take on Stephen and Davidson:

Yes, Davidson is not “the best.” But they didn’t get good just when Stephen Curry showed up, and they’re not going to disappear when he leaves, either. We’ve been big fans for a while now, and the reason they are good, and the reason why they were perceptive enough to go after Curry when some others didn’t, is simple: Bob McKillop is an unbelievable coach.

We noticed it not long after he arrived and Davidson went from being a joke to a team that would hang around. Instead of losing by 30, the games were maybe 10 points. After last year’s game, when Duke barely won, Davidson wasn’t a secret anymore, but really, it was nothing new. They’d given lots of teams fits -- UNC, Kansas, UCLA, Stanford.

Curry is a freak, and they’ll miss him, but the program is really well constructed and should continue to succeed after he leaves. It’s not a one-man deal. Or if it is, rather, the man is McKillop.

All over the place

Scott Fowler on the front of this morning’s Observer: Tonight is theoretically just another football game in Charlotte.

Of course, Stephen Curry is theoretically just another college basketball player. The Eiffel Tower is theoretically just another building.



Wins over ACC teams for the Curry boys?

Seth: 1.

Stephen: 1.

But Seth came close today to No. 2. Real close.

To watch Tuesday

One man’s blog: Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry. Sorry, but why else would you watch this game? No offense to Alex Ruoff or Devin Ebanks, but let’s be honest here. Prediction: Davidson 77, West Virginia 67.


Bro Krift, Class of ’99, who has season tickets even though he lives in Pittsburgh, e-mailed me a question last week:

“In all of your reporting on the team for the book, which player impressed you, and how? I have a feeling it’s one of the guys that hasn’t made headlines.”

It’s true.

One of the very few shames of having Stephen in these last eight or so months go from star to superstar to phenomenon is that some of the other guys on the roster who have great, great stories aren’t really having those stories told.

Andrew Lovedale is a kid from Nigeria who sings gospel songs and brings old sneakers and basketballs back to his country when he goes home in the summers for goodness sake.

Bryant Barr is a double major in math and economics who speaks to church youth groups and to celebrate his math major last year got together with his fellow math majors and made pies with Pi logos on them. Just a nerd with a jumpshot, Bryant is, and proudly, and admittedly, and unabashedly.

Steve Rossiter? The kid was offered a scholarship in part because of the way he cheered for his backup at the ends of games in high school in Staten Island.

Certainly, though, at or near the top of this list, at least for me, is Max.

Today, given yesterday, it seems maybe particularly apropos to say as much.

It was a bad foul.

It was.

It looked even worse.

And I haven’t talked to Max since, haven’t even seen him, not down in Charlotte after the game, not up here in Davidson, but I can say that he absolutely didn’t go toward that kid with intent to harm. It’s just not Max.

The first time McKillop ever saw Max was at an all-star camp in Atchison, Kansas, and Max was running and jumping and diving in a game being played in a gym that was so stuffy and so hot that other players started calling it “the oven.”

McKillop went to visit Max in the suburbs of Montreal and told his parents their son was the rare sort who could have, he thought, an enormous influence on the outcome of a game without scoring a point.

Fine Davidson fan Meg Clark told me last spring that Max was working the fall of his freshman year at the carnival at Belk Arena to kick off the season and that he came over to a game where young kids were trying to throw rubber rings onto bottle necks. He got down on his knees and talked to the kids and helped them with their throws and called them all “buddy.”

Max, Meg thought then, and thinks still now, has a gift that is hard to explain but plain to see:

He makes the people around him feel good.


He spoke no English three years before he got to Davidson.

He didn’t understand why some of the coaches from some of the schools that were recruiting him were telling him about how hot the girls were or how good the weather was on their campuses.

He picked Davidson, he told me in April, because he is so close to his own family.

“Human relationships,” he said.

“I didn’t want to just be a teammate.”

He has a habit of touching guys on their shoulders in huddles.

“I think physical contact conveys a lot of meaning,” he said in that meeting in April. “I think of the team as family. Are you going to tell your mother every five minutes that you love her? No. But you can touch her shoulder, lean against her, and feel close.”

He doesn’t watch TV.

He doesn’t watch sports on TV.

The only basketball games he watches are the ones he plays in.

He majors in sociology because he is fascinated by how people who are different try to get along.

He is one of the best students on the team.

I have found Max, always, to be bright and open, and interesting and interested, and the best kind of curious.

“In life,” he has written on his Facebook page, “everything is a first time.”

In June, in Chambly, Quebec, I met on a sunny Saturday morning for a long breakfast with Max and his parents.

Max’s father’s father was a pig farmer and a beet farmer and did that from early in the morning to 2 in the afternoon and then went to work his shift treading tires at a local factory. He did that for 27 years.

Max’s father is one of Canada’s most successful importers of cheese. It’s a family business.

“We work not in the spirit of we have to,” Jean-Philippe Gosselin said. “We work because we like what we do and the feeling of accomplishment.”

The motivation in his work, he explained, sometimes in English to me, sometimes in French to Max, who then translated, is not motivated by fear or money, but by the belief that the pursuit and the competition are intrinsically worthwhile.

At this point in the notebook I had with me that morning, written in scribbles, is a note to myself -- I’m looking at it right now -- and it says:

The goal was never to make it to the Elite Eight or the Final Four. The goal was to play so hard, and so well, and so together, that such a thing became a possibility.

The day after

A few thoughts:

*** Ben Allison had seven points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal in 17 very, VERY impressive minutes. Four of those rebounds were on the offensive end. Some of them were of the I-don’t-care-that’s-MY-ball variety. No way to know for sure what happens from here, of course, and it was somewhat lost in all the Curry-for-44 fervor, but my initial impulse is to call those 17 minutes THE most important development out of yesterday’s game.

*** Seemed, watching the game, like Andrew wasn’t having anywhere close to his best outing, and he didn’t. But the stat sheet was sort of surprising: 12 points on 6-for-13 shooting, nine rebounds, including SEVEN offensive rebounds, and two blocks in 38 minutes. I’ll take that.

*** Rossiter? Ten rebounds, one of them, of course, near the end of the game, off that airball, being hugely important.

It led to what is seriously one of Davidson’s bread-and-butter plays at this point.

Missed shot.

Offensive glass.

FIND 30!

*** Scott Fowler asked in the presser how deep that last three from Stephen might have been.

McKillop thought.

He paused.


“Thirty-seven?” he said.


“I didn’t see,” he said almost apologetically. “I just saw the rim.”

*** I asked Stephen in the hallway outside the locker room how LeBron was entered in his phone. In other words, when a text message arrives on his phone from, you know, the best basketball player on Planet Earth, what’s it look like on his screen?



The King?

Everybody’s in his phone with a full name, he explained, so …

Good luck.

From: LeBron James.

*** Add this to the always fun, always growing list labeled How Things Have Changed: There was Sidney Lowe, coach of the N.C. State Wolfpack of the Atlantic Coast Conference, after a loss to Davidson College, 1,700-student Davidson College, Davidson College of the Southern Conference, telling the assembled press, and with a quite straight face, that this LOSS was “something we can hang our hats on.”

*** Also, this: There are tickets for sale for Davidson’s game against Duke next month in Durham -- right now, as I write this -- selling on StubHub.com for $1,200.

*** Bottom line: That was a game, against an ACC team, that Davidson could have lost, and certainly did enough things to lose -- but won.


‘Made for TV’

Couldn’t help but notice tonight on the screens at the Brickhouse the hype starting up for Tuesday on ESPN in NYC. Certainly doesn’t hurt that Stephen will hit the city coming off another show in front of LeBron. Made me think of something executive VP of programming for CBS Sports Mike Aresco told me last summer in my reporting for the book: “The Davidson story was the best story of the entire tournament. They had beaten the Big East champs. They beat the Big 10 champions decisively. You kind of think of them as an Amherst or a Williams with a chance to win the national championship. That’s a premier time slot, that regional final going into 60 Minutes, but the Davidson story was unique and Stephen Curry was a genuine star. What he did in the Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin games, he was the single most visible player in the entire tournament, and maybe for the last several years. And TV thrives on star power. George Mason became a nice story in ’06 but it wasn’t the same. It wasn’t a little school. They didn’t have a star. But everything about the Davidson story was made for TV viewership. You dream about Davidson-type scenarios.”

The big city

Saw Peter Wagner at the Brickhouse tonight. He said some 400 (!) people were signed up for the pre-game get-together Tuesday afternoon at 4 at Local West at 33rd and 8th. Tip time of course is 7 at the Garden.

Down to three

An update from the recruiting trail from Bro’s paper: “Pitt and Notre Dame are top-10 programs and Davidson has really exploded onto the scene behind Stephen Curry. Davidson’s using an interesting pitch in telling Tom he can go down there and perhaps have that career ...”

Being Stephen

Chattanooga’s Keegan Bell: “I’ll come off ball screens and I have free rein to jack, dish and go a little bit crazy. The rules are that there are no rules for me. If I see an open spot, jack it, and I have the green light to shoot -- coach’s orders.”

Saturday in Charlotte

Stephen had 44. Again. LeBron was there. Again. But Ben Allison had never EVER done THAT.

McKillop in verse


20 minutes to tip.


Attack the attacker.

We will not back down from anybody.

We see ourselves sometimes in the middle of the boxing ring,

and we always want to fight stepping forward,

and we always want to be in the middle.

We understand we’re going to get knocked to the mat.

We understand we may get knocked to the ropes.

But we also understand

that we may have to fight it outside the ring,

and get into the street,

and maybe even go house to house,

and we’re gonna do that.


Sidney Lowe pledges to not pull a Jimmy Patsos: “I don’t think you change your defense. You just have to be more aware. You have to be solid. Mentally you can’t have a breakdown, because he can burn you.”

Such joy

Claire Asbury is a junior from Georgia who’s studying abroad this semester. She gets back next week. One of her first stops stateside: Belk, Saturday, Chattanooga.

I met Claire early on reporting for the book and she sent me her journal entries about Davidson basketball. She writes beautifully, and with such energy, and there clearly and palpably is not a whole lot of space between what’s inside her and the words on her page, and I love that.

Here, with her permission, is some of what she wrote on Jan. 20, 2008, after the game on last season’s 100th anniversary weekend:

We could have told you that long ago, but we’ll jump up and down and let you soak it in for yourselves as you finally figure it out, and as we enjoy the ride that they have every right to take. And yeah, there are ups and downs and profanities and jubilations -- but they’re always there, and we’re always there.

That’s what it is.

At halftime today, the court was lined with 70 years’ worth of men who have left our collective home away from home and made their way out of the bubble to create wonderfully full lives. They came back and stood before us so that we, no longer teenagers but barely adults, could see the significance that this place holds for them, and that there is much more history behind today’s dunks and threes and blocks and steals and rap music intervals than we realize. And that our boys, holed away in the locker room planning, have a place in this history -- and therefore, so do we.

It’s a humbling feeling. And honestly, it’s not humbling because it’s basketball and we’re oh-so-good at it and we can get national recognition for such a small school; it’s because I will always be able to say that I am a part of this COMMUNITY that comes together to support each other, that becomes joyously one in so many ways -- because this is only one.

It feels kind of silly to be so emotional about a basketball team, trying to write about it in such a life-altering sense, and I know that my male family members deserve some of the credit for passing on their intense sports-angst to one of their few daughters. But it’s that word up there in caps – the word that inspires so much of what I write, the very real concept that brings a grin to my face at some point every single day -- that leads me to this point. Standing there in that arena that only holds about 5500 people, I can scream, jump around, sing, laugh, shriek -- I can be completely myself (sometimes with a little extra profanity thrown in) and it’s fine with everyone else, it’s welcomed by them. I can start cheers if my sports-angsty heart moves me, and people will join in. There I stand in the sold out student section behind the basket, with a very deep knowledge that this is exactly where I am supposed to be -- not only in this hour, but in my life. At this place, in the state of North Carolina, in this dorm room writing at 2 in the morning, not knowing so many things. But it’s okay, because this place -- most importantly, these people -- bring me such joy.

And so it semi-started with a basketball game …


The future

Wrapped my work week in time to break up the drive to Charlotte with a pit stop at JP Kuhlman’s 7:30 tip in Jacksonville.

I used to do this stuff for full-time work, believe it or not, so it wasn’t a totally unfamiliar feeling walking into the small, crowded Providence School gym and finding a spot to sit with my legs dangling off a stage behind one of the baskets.

Felt like going to watch, say, Raymond Felton in little Latta, S.C., or Gerry McNamara in Scranton, Pa., or Kevin Bookout in wherever that was in Oklahoma … or one Brendan Winters at Worcester Academy in Massachusetts.

Now, before I say anything about the Davidson-bound guard from North Florida, I have to say this: Back when I did this for a living, I always, or at least with very few exceptions, considered a first watch just that and only that.

I mean, LeBron James was an NBA All-Star waiting to happen when he was 16 years old, and one watch was more than enough to know that, but LeBron was, and is, as everybody knows by now, a freak.

But most of the time?

I want to see a kid once just to see how he moves.

Then can I start to get a feel for what he can and can’t do, what makes him go, etc., on a second watch, or a third, or a fourth, and so on. That’s when context and perspective starts to happen.

All that said, then, some quick thoughts after my first watch of the future Wildcat:

Tough to gauge. Kind of impossible to make any sort of meaningful evaluation. He played about half of the game because the final was 87-35 and could’ve been a lot worse.

He made a couple threes early and missed a few later. Airballed one of them. His face didn’t change.

Missed a few runners in the lane and an elbow stop-and-pop off the dribble.

Probably finished with 12 or 14 or something like that.

He threw consistently crisp, smart passes.

He looked like a responsible rebounder on the defensive end.

No headband, no wristbands, white mid-calf tube socks. Just playing the game.

He was on the bench near the end of the second quarter when the score was 55-22 and he stood and he clapped and he gave his teammates high fives when they came out of the game.

Again, though, the competition was truly atrocious. For a while in the first quarter, I thought University Christian might not score -- like, not at all. The team’s coach was a young balding man wearing sweatpants.

Anyway, the game ended, I said hello to JP and wished him luck and merged back onto 95 North.