On Stephen’s ‘athleticism’

Most people who talk about “athleticism” are talking, I think, about running, jumping, dunking -- the kind of athleticism anybody can see.

But to be athletic, to be an athlete, or at least a successful athlete, really comes down to this: Can you get to where you want to get when you want to get there?



1. One thing we learned from watching him in his time at Davidson is that he’s uncommonly good at stopping and starting. Which sounds ridiculous … but: Straight speed is one thing, and it’s not unimportant, but the ability to hesitate, then accelerate -- to change directions faster than the guy trying to keep up with you -- is almost certainly more important.

Where does that come from?

Well, last summer for the book I talked to a couple trainers who’ve worked with him over the last few years, and here’s what Charlotte’s Chip Sigmon said: “All sports is bending and extending, and he’s very good at those two things. He bends. He extends.”

Is that athleticism?

2. That ability, though, doesn’t come just from physical ability.

I wrote about this in the book and also in the Stephen story I did last fall for Charlotte magazine.


Stephen was able to take the information given to him and correct mistakes almost immediately. It wasn’t that he never made mistakes. He made a lot of them. He just usually didn’t make any of them a second time. McKillop has been coaching for three and a half decades, and he says he has never had a player like that. It was as if Stephen listened to what he was told, painted a picture of the movements in his head, then channeled those movements onto the court, at full speed, the very next play.

Jay Bilas once told me Stephen is one of the smartest players he’s ever seen. Not college players. Not recent players. All players ever.

Something else I heard from another trainer who’s worked with Stephen: “I never had to explain anything twice to him. He always got it.”

Is that athleticism?

3. Last summer up in Davidson I sat in the stands one day at basketball camp with former Davidson player Ben Ebong. He described Stephen’s game as “unorthodox” in that he goes “against the rhythms of a normal player.” He doesn’t just dribble, dribble, for instance -- he drops the ball from different spots, and at different times, the point being that his defender is always off balance.

Ebong, a big college football guy, a Nebraska fan, brought up an old Florida State runner named Amp Lee. He wasn’t the fastest guy, or the biggest guy, but somehow nobody could ever get a clean hit on him, Ebong said.

Stephen, he said, is like Amp Lee.

“He’s like a running back who never gets tackled hard.”

Is that athleticism?

Look. I don’t know if Stephen will be good in the NBA, or great, or just okay, or not okay at all. I’m not enough of a basketball expert to be able to say for sure. Even the people who are can’t either.

But I think he’ll be fine on the “athleticism” front -- whether people choose to call it that or not.

Interview at the combine

Stephen: “We haven’t had this kind of situation since, like, the ’60s, with Mike Maloy and Fred Hetzel and those guys.”

May 30, 2008

Mark Donnelly in Manasquan, N.J.: “It was 11 o’clock. I couldn’t sleep. I showed up on his doorstep just like he did for me.”

Billy Armstrong in Westwood, N.J.: “Players I’ve played with? They don’t talk to their college coaches. He’s where he’s supposed to be.”

Austin Rios on the phone from Asheville: “I felt at peace because my relationship with the game was sound.”

Wanting what comes with N.Y.

K.C. Johnson in Chicago: It’s almost comical the amount of campaigning Stephen Curry has done to be drafted by the Knicks at No. 8.

More from DraftExpress


Stephen Curry has similar size to Jerryd Bayless. His height isn’t the biggest issue here, as he came out quite solid at over 6-3 in shoes, but his extremely low standing reach and wingspan are. Since we started compiling wingspans, the only successful two guards in the league with a wingspan so small have been Allen Iverson and Monta Ellis. See how he ranks amongst point guards for yourself. It’s understandable now why so many scouts consider him to be a potential defensive liability in the NBA.



May 29, 2008

Terrell Ivory in Blairstown, N.J.: “Coach McKillop, every time I leave, he gives me a hug, and he says, ‘I love you,’ and it doesn’t feel weird. The day I lost my father is the day Coach McKillop sort of walked into my life.”

Mike Summey on the phone from West Virginia: “I was an assistant at The Citadel, and one summer Coach Sendek asked me, ‘Who’s the best offensive team in the Southern Conference?’ I said, ‘Coach, it’s Davidson.’ He said, ‘Who’s the best defensive team in the Southern Conference?’ I said, ‘Coach, it’s Davidson.’ He said, ‘Who’s the toughest team in the Southern Conference?’ I said, ‘Coach, it’s Davidson.’”

In the Washington Post ...

Michael Lee:

Curry, who will always be remembered for knocking off Georgetown two seasons ago, sees himself possibly sharing the back court with Arenas in Washington. “I see myself as a true point who can score. I’ve evolved my game the last year to do that,” the 6-3 Curry said. “If they can move him to the two again. Me and him being a one-two combo would be fun.”

FBE in the WSJ

Here: Mr. Amaker’s program was also investigated by the league for overly aggressive recruiting tactics -- and cleared. But Frank Ben-Eze, considered the best of his recruits, later decided to go to Davidson.

Attention, always

Alan Hahn:

It’s not even June and I feel we’re in Curry overload. There are still other players to closely monitor and see up close and personal in the individual workouts. But you can’t ignore Stephen Curry as a very real option. You also can’t ignore the fact that it is refreshing to hear someone actually wanting to be a Knick.

Question that remains is, do the Knicks want him just as badly?

This is the time of year when smokescreens go up and you would think by now the Knicks told Curry to stifle the gushfest, lest a team ahead of them try to pretend they’re deeply interested to make the Knicks sweat. Chess games.

Poking and prodding

Stephen: “Each team has a room here and it’s like speed dating. You spend about 30 minutes, gettin’ to know each other.”

Hoops in Chicago


It hasn’t taken Davidson All-American point guard Stephen Curry long to get excited about playing for the Knicks.

Curry, who averaged 28.6 points for the Wildcats as a junior last season, was considered the face of of college basketball even though his Southern Conference team couldn’t repeat its cinderella run to the Final Eight in 2008. The 6-3 Curry has been linked to the Knicks -- who have the eighth pick in next month’s NBA draft -- for close to two months. He got a chance to visit with Knicks president Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D’Antoni last night after the first day of the pre-draft combine.


Meanwhile, down here in The Fla, watching a different kind of human drama. Also these.

To play at home?

DraftExpress: Larry Brown is reportedly extremely high on Stephen Curry, and may be willing to trade up in order to get him. Apparently he views him as being able to play either guard position, even alongside Charlotte’s current group of point guards, Raymond Felton and D.J. Augustin.

Stephen vs. Ty?

More from Bonnell:

The way I hear it from someone who should know, New Yorks eighth pick might come down to a bake-off between Davidsons Stephen Curry and North Carolinas Ty Lawson.

I cant believe Lawson is the eighth pick in this draft, but lets play this out because its an interesting exercise: Lawson is dramatically superior as an athlete. Curry is dramatically superior as a basketball player. Do you want the triple-jump champ or the kid from the movie Hoosiers?

My gut: Curry will be a better pro over the entire course of his career.


New York Post: The Combine buzz is Oklahoma City, selecting third, also is very interested in Stephen Curry and has scouted him furiously.

Note to the Knicks ...

Russ Bengtson at Slam:

So why Stephen Curry? I’ll tell you why. If I’ve learned anything in my 57 years in this game, it’s that the ball don’t shoot itself.

Who here is surprised?

DraftExpress via NBA.com: Stephen Curry looked smooth, smart and extremely talented in pretty much everything he did. He appeared to have the most polish of any point guard in attendance ...

‘Knowing what you want’

Rick Bonnell:

I’ve been hanging around NBA pre-draft camps for 20 years. The interviews all blend together. Players typically come in two flavors -- the nervous and coy (their agents telling them not to screw anything up with the wrong remark) and the recklessly cocky. Curry was neither.

And he also says this: He did turn pro early, and it’s natural to wonder if a skinny, 6-foot-3 kid from the little school on the lake is ready for the big, bad NBA. I wondered, as he left that interview Thursday, if the big, bad NBA is quite ready for Steph Curry.


Stephen in Chicago

Jay Williams: “Stephen Curry is going to be a huge surprise for anybody this year ...” More: Charlotte. Daily News. Newsday. Post. Washington.


May 27, 2008

Alex Deegan on the phone from Washington: “You don’t have to say 20 miles north of Charlotte anymore.”

David Fleming at Summit: “Davidson was the torchbearer for the myth of the student-athlete.”

Tom Ross
in his office: “The Final Four? It would have meant some more. But I’m not sure how much more.”

Steve Shurina on the phone from Florida: “Right after the Georgetown win, I went into my office, and I called his cell phone. And I broke down as I started leaving a message. All those years, all those emotions -- I didn’t go to school there, I haven’t coached there in 10 years almost, and I could not leave a message.”

Bratton Holmes on the phone from Durham: “No more Dickinson-Denison-Davidson confusion.”

Winnie Corrigan on the phone from Davidson: “Nothing that was accomplished was an accident or a fluke. That’s what was so powerful to me. It was 19 years of precision and discipline, and convincing a bunch of boys to buy into something larger than themselves.”

Davidson’s No. 30

On his way out:

Curry becomes the first male athlete to win the award in consecutive years since Appalachian State’s Dexter Coakley took home the award in 1996 and 1997. It is the sixth time the honor has gone to a Davidson Wildcat and the 22nd time the winner has been from men’s basketball.

Money to be made

Workouts tomorrow and Friday in Chicago. You can watch them too.


Panama City, Fla.

His new blog

Stephen: “I’m happy.” Blog on blog.

The building narrative

Someone named Rob Dauster:

But as a junior, Curry’s role vastly changed with the graduation of point guard Jason Richards. Already a proven shooter, this allowed Curry to show off what he could do as a point guard, and for the most part, the season was a (personal) success.

The parentheses, I guess, are necessary due to the team’s 27-win failure.

The view from Fargo


I think the Minnesota Timberwolves should take Davidson’s Stephen Curry with the sixth pick in the NBA draft. Corey Brewer and Kevin Love aren’t going to get casual fans to watch a Timberwolves game. Curry would at least make the team somewhat interesting.


The Sports Guy

Bill Simmons: If I were the T-Wolves, I’d just draft Curry sixth. I don’t have many certainties about the 2009 Draft, but here’s one: Curry is going to make threes in the NBA and create shots for other guys.

Knicks at No. 8?

Ian Thomsen:

This is all the talk in New York. The problem is that Don Nelson is picking No. 7 with Golden State, and Nellie -- in the most general terms -- has the same tastes as New York coach Mike D’Antoni. If the Knicks like Curry, so will the Warriors.

This too: If Thabeet looks inclined to slide, a player likely to rise over the next month is a mature scorer like Curry, who will nail the interviews with team management and smoke jumper after jumper in his workouts. He’s likely to impress everyone who meets him.

Curry, of course, is small for a shooting guard. The same was said of Ben Gordon, and yet in the week before the 2004 draft he was coveted by several teams hoping to trade up to get him. (Chicago selected Gordon at No. 3.)


Mike D'Antoni

On No. 30: “He’s going to be a really good pro.” Blog. More. Minnesota?

May 21, 2008

Randy Lawrence in Davidson: “They didn’t have to say anything. You could see it. They were as much cheering us as we were cheering them.”

The news in Davidson

David Boraks:

Many are talking about “hyperlocal” websites as the future of local news. But we're not the future of local news. We're the present.

The big metro daily in our region -- The Charlotte Observer, where I once worked -- has all but eliminated suburban coverage. One local weekly newspaper recently folded, and other publications don’t cover our town. At many town meetings, I am the only reporter (and sometimes the only citizen) in the room.

Without our site, there would be no local news.

(What he won.)

Charleston in November

Been a good spot for the Wildcats.

New York mag

With a prediction: Curry would immediately become a star and “S. Curry” the hottest-selling jersey ...


Alan Hahn: ... unless a player like Stephen Curry -- or some of the others -- does enough at the NBA Combine next week and in his individual workout to make you believe he can be a difference-maker, the best play for Donnie Walsh and the Knicks might be to engage in trade talks for the No. 8 pick.


Jarrett Carter:

His work ethic is legit, his media presence is refined and humorous, and he would fit in well with the Washington community. Some may call it a long shot at the fifth pick, but with Stephen Curry, you have to believe it would be a long shot with a great chance of going in.


May 20, 2008

Don Hogan on the phone from Florida: “Bob had been my high school coach at Holy Trinity High School. Any time I was coasting a little bit, that voice, that booming voice. He’d call you out.”

Matt McKillop in Atlanta: “I had to outwork everybody. I had to hit people.”

Len Kosmalski on the phone from Florida: “Landry wants to be around toughness and competitiveness.”

Pete Thamel on the phone from Boston: “The academic side jumped out at me. George Mason can get in pretty much whoever they want.”

Indianapolis Motor Speedway


May 19, 2008

Charlie Newton in Atlanta: “There was no disappointment. They lived up to it every step of the way.”

Tom Sorensen on the phone from Charlotte: “When Thomas Sander said ‘we,’ he didn’t mean basketball players. He meant Davidson.”

Terry Holland on the phone from Greenville: “When I took the AD job, it was not to return Davidson to glory. It was to give the program a chance. Division III was a real option at the time. The teams were not competitive. My job was really to give us a stable program; if that meant Division III, I like to think I would’ve done that. But the facts said that was not the best thing. I felt like we owed ourselves one more chance.”

Slots are set

NYT: The Knicks would have been thrilled at the opportunity to select Rubio, but may set their eyes on Stephen Curry, a sharp-shooting guard who captured the nation’s attention with Davidson’s N.C.A.A. Tournament run in 2008. Katz: McKillop did say, however, that he was assured Curry was a top-10 pick. Warriors?


Draft lottery tomorrow


On the way up, for example, is Davidson guard and the nation’s top scorer, Stephen Curry. After hearing so much hullabaloo this past week about how the New York Knicks were almost a lock to nab him at #8 (should that be the way the ping pong balls fall), now there are suggestions that the Grizzlies could be interested at #6 because of their need for a point guard with the ability to score once in a while.


May 18, 2008

B.J. Rudell on the phone from Washington: “We knew those players without having met them.”


May 17, 2008

Logan Kosmalski at Summitt: “It made me feel better that Matt was here. He wasn’t going to leave his son.”

In the newsroom

Knicks, Knicks, Knicks

Stephen in Newsday: “I was thinking that. I read the blogs and stuff and saw one that said the Knicks will pick Curry to get LeBron, or something like that. That was kind of funny. They think too much of that stuff. But I got a good laugh out of it.”


Just an update


Davidson junior Stephen Curry officially put an end to his college career this week by hiring the services of Jeff Austin and Lance Young of Octagon, the agency told DraftExpress. Curry is currently working out in the Washington DC area preparing for his private workouts.

May 16, 2008

Tom Richards in Huntersville: “Jason was a man.”

Lee Sargent in Huntersville: “Jason and Thomas gave him a chance to take a breath.”

Jane Sander: “After the Georgetown game, he came into the stands, and I hugged, and I said, ‘Thomas, can you believe this?!’ And he said, matter of fact, ‘Yeah, Mom, we’re really good.’”

Hadn’t heard this

Isola: Charles Oakley told me a few months back that Curry is the best shooter in the world, current NBA players included.

Watching the chatter

Tommy Dee:

s game appears to have similarities to Steve Nash, whom the Suns picked 15th overall in 1996. Nash was a relative unknown talent who, after a few years of development at a small school, has gone on to become a future Hall-of-Fame guard. People questioned Nashs strength and defensive capabilities right out of college, and Curry has had similar doubters.

Also: Reading Seven Seconds or Less.

Wolves fan blog


... lowly Davidson.

And here:

... while leading a team filled with very, very, very modest D-I players.

Is this going to be the accepted narrative heading into the draft?


May 15, 2008

Shonn Brown in Charlotte: “In December of his senior year, I had Clemson and Georgia assistants come up to me and say, ‘Man, we made a mistake.’”

Parks Neisler in Charlotte: “Bob was dreaming. He said it could be done again.”

John Burns on the phone from Raleigh: “The sense of possibility and hope when that ball left his hand is what I’ll remember.”

Eric Blancett in Charlotte: “I don’t know if I took a breath.”


The Knicks?

Stephen: “That would be a dream come true.”

Miss you ...


Of all the players heading to the pros this year, Curry is perhaps the one we’ll miss most. He’s a once-in-a-generation college talent. Maybe that will translate to the NBA. Maybe not. We’ll always have March of 2008, though, and if you saw even a minute of it, you know it was more than enough.

May 14, 2008

Jeff Jackson on the phone: “They recognize who is supposed to take the shot, and when, probably better than any team in the country.”

Dave Telep on the phone from Wake Forest: “I remember vividly the first time I ever saw him. Bojangles at Charlotte Latin. His sophomore year. He was falling out of his jersey.”

Kevin Cary at the Brickhouse: “You knew when the Georgetown game was over. My cell phone was going crazy. My sister in Ohio called me. That was the crossover moment.”

John Kuykendall at the union: “I think he sees in people here some points of contact. I’m a Presbyterian preacher and an academic, and he’s an Irish Catholic and a coach, and we connect.”

Steven Suflas on Detroit: “The greatest weekend that ever sucked.”

Adam Stockstill in Huntersville: “After the Georgetown game, I walked up there, to the atrium of the RBC Center -- absolute hysteria. Everyone was losing their minds. It was an absolute shit show. Late 20s, early 20s, old people -- dude, it was a mosh pit. People were picking each other up, putting people on their shoulders, it just kept going on and on and on. It was like: I don’t want to leave.”

Mike Reed on the phone from Georgia: “I was just as nervous as a cat. I was sitting on the couch, sitting on the edge, with my wife next to me, and I was holding her hand, like we used to do when my son had a big putt.”

Bobby Cremins on the phone from Charleston: “This kid came in, and everything changed.”



... yet no future rookie seems to be getting more press right now than the nation’s top scorer, Davidson guard Stephen Curry.

Good point.


Just collecting these

Another take:

I’ve been a skeptic of Curry’s value as a potential lottery pick, but my concerns have been addressed and he is definitely going to be a starter in the NBA at the point guard position and he will become even more valuable to a team with an off guard or small forward that can take on a lot of ball-handling duties to free him up to spot-up.


Storm over Tampa Bay

May 13, 2008

Bob McKillop in his office: “My brother liked Duke Snider. My next-door neighbor liked Willie Mays. I loved Mickey Mantle. The pinstripes.”

David Sink in Mooresville: “I remember talking to Tom Richards, and McKillop was just killing Jason in practice, and I said to him: ‘I think McKillop really thinks Jason’s going to be a fine player.’”

John Bell on the phone from Atlanta: “There were no consequences. It was a liberating, sort of freeing experience. You don’t get that many of those.”

Kerrin McKillop at Summitt: “He runs somewhere around 40 minutes a day. I think it hurts him. I think it hurts his knees.”

LeBron factor?

Frank Isola:

It’s also worth noting that last year LeBron attended one of Curry’s games and the two have struck up a friendship. Would drafting Curry assure the Knicks of getting LeBron? No. But it can’t hurt.

Got an agent

Dell on Stephen: “He felt comfortable with Octagon because he’d been around them his whole life.”


Awards season

Winners: Andrew, Max, Stephen.


Gottlieb says:

It’s very difficult not to be taken with Stephen Curry as a player and a person. Spend five minutes with him and you can see that he is humble, bright and from good stock.

William wonders:

One might ask: compared to whom? or, why is that such a shock? I’m not usually the person to comment on this kind of thing, but some sportswriters think they are exempt from the usual canons of modern manners. This sounds a lot like “credit to his race” or “articulate” to me. I don’t know this writer and I’m not reading the full article, but that quote just stuck out as tactless to me. The phrase “good stock” is horrible.


Out and available

Sports in the Carolinas -- the Davidson basketball story included.

Here’s a rumor

On SI.com: We’ve received word that there could be truth to this from inside sources claiming that Curry chose to put his name into the draft this year based on the Knicks assuring Curry that they would use their lottery selection to draft him. NBADraft.net via NYP. But The Game Is On. The Knicks FanBlog. Dell: It’s not true.

A Sixers fan blogs ...


I’ve gone back and forth on Curry for some time now.

Between what and what? Knowing very little and knowing nothing at all?


Bayport, Fla.

May 10, 2008

Eddie Nicholson in Salisbury: “Everybody dies. The point is to live a full and beautiful life. But everybody dies.”

One of the very important thoughts that really made me start to think along the lines of what the book project eventually became.

Down here at the SPT

What I do when I’m not doing this.


May 9, 2008

Tim Sweeney at Belk: “Part of Steph’s ability to rip your heart out is that you don’t see it coming.”

Joe Reed in the union: “I really thought we were going to win the game. Something about Stephen’s body language bringing the ball up the court.”

Kaylie McKellar in the union: “It’s not the sugary ending, ‘Oh, they had to win because they’re the good guys.’ But you believe it more. And you get the catharsis. You still get the moment.”


For what it’s worth


It is notable how far apart Curry’s role in the NCAA was from the role he is likely to play in the NBA.

May 8, 2008

Jim Murphy in his office: “I watched 60,000 people cheer for Davidson. I can still see it. I can still feel it. I can still hear it.”

Stacey Schmeidel in the union: “I was here. The shot missed and the whole building was just quiet There was an awareness of the quiet. Then everybody started clapping.”

Bill Giduz at Summitt: “It was organic. Like we were one beast.”

Steve Hawkins on the phone: “How did we beat them? Easy. Curry fouled out in 26 minutes.”

Ward Gibson on the phone: “The 16.8 felt like 0.8.”

Martin McCann in his office: “I got a text from Matt. It said: ‘We need 4 for LeBron. Let’s talk.’”

Phil Martelli on the phone: “If you’re a middle team in the ACC, you’re not going to play Davidson. That’s a 50-50 game. You could lose that game. But your fans don’t know that. Or don’t want to believe that.”

Chip Clark in Cornelius: “I thought about what Jason told his mother at the senior night festivities: ‘Mom, don’t cry, it’s not that big a deal.’ I thought about that right then.”

It started with shoes

Andrew: “Mom says all the time, ‘I wish your dad was alive to see what you’ve turned into.’”


This guy: I absolutely salivate when I think about a backcourt of Martin and Curry creating open shots in the Princeton offense.

‘The lyric races’

Maybe my favorite sentence of the day so far: In a light-hearted, melodic, low-key rap, the student actors praise the Commons’ friendly staff, burritos, chicken parmesan, pizza bar and other offerings.

The Stephen effect

Bleacher Report:

I believe it’s something the Pens should consider -- especially since Ovechkin is making Fleury into a turnstile.

Why not stop a guy who has singlehandedly beat you? Why not force everyone else to beat you?

It reminds me of the “Stephen Curry Defense” we saw earlier in the year. Curry did not touch the ball -- he stood in the corner rendered useless.

Now, Davidson still won, due to the fact that Curry allowed his teammates to control the game against an undermaned defense. Ovechkin is too selfish for this. He will continue to attempt to be a game changer, averaging nearly seven shots per game.

Big Frank

Still going ...


Curry’s only solo comes about a minute into this 5-minute rap, which is basically a shout-out to the Davidson “Commons,” the on-campus place where Curry loves to eat (along with a lot of other Davidson students, apparently).


More video reaction

Eamonn Brennan:

I’m really unsure how to feel about this video. On the one hand, I love Stephen Curry. I love that Stephen Curry is cool enough to join a group of dudes in their attempt to make a funny ode to their favorite collegiate food court. I love that Davidson is small enough that it probably wasn’t all that difficult to get Curry to do so. On the other hand …

(Also on ESPN.com. And SI.com. And Ball Hype. And Dime mag. And QC Sports Blog. And something called The Smoking Section. And here and here and here. Also here.)

Last weekend

And also this

Carolyn Meier:

“I was at the Brickhouse. Hope Childress, from the alumni office, was sitting next to me. It was as close to being at the game without being at the game. The commentators were super-loud. You heard the sounds of the court. You felt like you were there. It just surrounded you. I was drinking Brickhouse Amber. The timeout was called. People got quiet. They were talking to each other about what strategy it ought to be. I kept thinking they gotta go three. They were looking so tired. You gotta go out gunning, put it on the line, no shame in that. It was like being in an auto accident, like it was fast and slow at the same time. Suddenly there it was, the one shot, that was all. First there was a gasp. No! Then there was just silence. Just dropped to nothing. Complete silence. And Hope burst into tears. She put her head on the bar and Hope just sobbed.”

May 7, 2008

Meg Kimmel at Summitt: “It’s the hard stuff at the beginning. When you get to the top, the air is thinner. Up above the clouds, you have a shot.”

David Matheny at the Brickhouse: “Georgetown? They’re huge. But you don’t have to beat them four out of five. You only have to beat them the one time. Please, I said. Let it be Sunday.”

Stan Brown on the phone: “I think people who aren’t into Xs and Os, they could still sense: They’re doing something, and it’s not an accident. It’s not luck.”

Fran Fraschilla on the phone: “I would call it an elegant toughness.”

Matt Garfield in Charlotte: “Everything happened fast. The timeout went fast. Everything happened fast. Then all of a sudden the ending was there. If the season was a movie, the ending was just there, bam. There was no time. One second we’ve got a shot for the Final Four. The next second we’ve got a 10-hour drive home from Detroit.”

The Year After

From Shelton’s column this morning down here:

It has been a chore to watch the Rays this year. They show flashbacks of their old selves in this game or that, sometimes even in this series or that, and then they backslide again. We are 29 games into the season, and so far the Rays have not managed as much as a three-game winning streak. This time last year, they already had a six-game streak, and they were on the verge of putting together another.

And this from Topkin’s notebook:

The Rays are 13-16 and 6½ games out of first, and Sternberg said, “If the expectations weren’t so high people would think we were playing really well.”

Where does he fit?

David Arnott: I’m not sure you’ll find a more divisive player in the draft than Stephen Curry.

Raised $15,000

On Andy’s blog:

Davidson BuzzKill, a 3-on-3 tournament for kids that was started by Wildcats guard Bryant Barr, raised $15,000 on campus for the “Nothing but Nets” campaign. The organization provides anti-mosquito bed nets for families to sleep under to prevent malaria in Africa. The money will help send 1,500 insecticide-covered bed nets to African villages. The hope is that it would protect more than 6,000 people from malaria.

There were 27 teams in the event and coaches were selected, led by former Davidson guard and likely top-10 draft pick Stephen Curry.

(And at NothingButNets.net.)


On authentic moments

Posted this on a blog I kept this past weekend at a writing workshop I went to in New York State. Thought it might apply over here too.

It’s official: Landry’s back

Train: “It’s going to be special to be reunited with Coach McKillop and go back to my alma mater. It’s a great opportunity. Having experienced life as a Davidson student-athlete, I have a strong understanding of what the team has to go through day in and day out.” DavidsonNews.net.

I Love Commons

Austin’s latest. (Now also on Deadspin. And FanIQ.)

Livingston Manor, N.Y.

May 6, 2008

Reed Jackson in Cornelius: “The last 10 minutes of the Georgetown game, far and away, it was the most extraordinary thing I’ve ever seen in sports. You could watch sports for your whole life and never be that close to something that extraordinary. With like four or five minutes to go, I said to my son, 'Jordan, watch this, because I’m 46, and you might never see something like this again.’”

Tim Cowie in Davidson: “I remember seeing Thomas shading into the low post out of the corner of my eye. I didn’t know how far Jason was out till I saw it on TV. I thought it was a good look. He took the shot, and I took the camera away from my eye when the ball was in the air, to watch.”

Jay Wade in Davidson: “When the shot missed? I was okay. We were in a position to win. That’s as much as you can ask for. But I was worn out, and I was tired -- and I was in Detroit.”

Duggar Baucom on the phone: “Those KU post players looked different against North Carolina and Memphis. Flesh to flesh. No kid in Bob’s program is ever going to be afraid of flesh to flesh contact. Or they won’t be there.”

David vs. Goliath

“And it happened as the Philistine arose and was drawing near David that David hastened and ran out from the lines toward the Philistine,” the Bible says. “And he reached his hand into the pouch and took from there a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead.” The second sentence -- the slingshot part -- is what made David famous. But the first sentence matters just as much. David broke the rhythm of the encounter. He speeded it up. “The sudden astonishment when David sprints forward must have frozen Goliath, making him a better target,” the poet and critic Robert Pinsky writes in “The Life of David.” Pinsky calls David a “point guard ready to flick the basketball here or there.” David pressed. That’s what Davids do when they want to beat Goliaths.

Made me think of this:
“Again, we’ve got a genius on the bench next to me, the architect, Matt Matheny, who again doctored up our pressure just a little bit. We actually almost got a 10-second violation once. But he had Andrew bang back and forth between the two guards rather than just initially trap the first guard. And by trapping that second guard, it forced Landry to bring the ball up the court. Now Landry is starting to swing offense. Landry maybe gets tempted to drive it all the way to the basket. All of a sudden the rhythm of their offense is broken.”

Tim Grover

Stephen: “I heard he’s the best. He gets the most out of your potential. He has a very focused and direct strategy for making you a better player. I’m going up and spending two weeks up there before the draft and hopefully we'll finish up afterwards, just getting me conditioned and stronger and ready for what I’m about to do in the next year.” Here’s the video.


Sunday at Belk II

Nov. 14, 2007

William in my inbox:

Did you watch the Davidson-UNC game from 2007 on ESPN Classic last night? I was flipping channels and there it was. I was a little surprised it didn’t draw some comment on the board. It was a great game, and we should have won, whatever should means. One thing about that game was that when we were tied with less than five minutes to go, I realized that the maturity of age had not very much inhibited my heart’s response to Wildcat basketball in close games. I have several games from that season recorded, but I haven’t watched any of them for various reasons. So as I watched, I was impressed with how important Thomas and Jason were. That sort of falls into the “duh” category, but maybe not really. When you watch what the team did with those two, it becomes very clear that the expectations for this year’s team were truly unrealistic. It also proves what some resisted saying out loud, that Curry at point was never going to be as conducive to team success as Jason feeding to ball to him. One has to go back and watch to see how smooth and fast those assists were. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but it was an interesting thing to watch while the Sox and Yankees were having a rain delay. Also, just sort of cool that Davidson pops up now and then as a “classic.”

Me in William's inbox:

I think the more time that goes by the more we realize that the 2008 team had three extraordinary players on its roster: There was Stephen, yes, a first-round NBA guard -- but Jason, too, was an NBA-caliber guard, which doesn’t mean he definitely will play in the league, only that he could, and wouldn’t be totally overmatched or outclassed, and then Thomas, of course, who wasn’t an NBA player, to be sure, but might have been an NBA-caliber (i.e. world-class) basketball thinker, setting screens, getting in the proper defensive position, taking charges. I remember watching that game, on TV, at the gym, down here in Florida, and thinking: Man. This is not a "normal" Davidson team. One play in particular: Jason made a hard driving move on the left baseline, stopped and turned and pulled back for a second, then drove hard again toward the basket. He met a Carolina guy at the rim, took the hit, drew the foul, and finished. My eyes literally got wider when that happened. That’s never happened before, I thought to myself. This is something different.

And again:

One other story about that game: That afternoon, in the gym at Elder High School up in Cincinatti, the coach of the team told his boys at practice to watch Thomas, their guy, their alum, play against Carolina later that evening on ESPN. The coach also gave his boys a guarantee: Thomas is going to draw a tech on Tyler Hansbrough. Just watch, the coach told them. The next afternoon at practice? Told you so.

Where does he stand?

Andy Katz: Outside the aforementioned six players, the rest of the top 10 was hardly a consensus. Memphis freshman Tyreke Evans received the seventh-most votes, followed by Davidson junior guard Stephen Curry and Louisville junior forward Earl Clark. In this poll, the 10th spot went to Syracuse sophomore Jonny Flynn, but only by a slight margin. At least one team didn’t consider Curry a top-10 pick, showing the wide range of opinions.

Sunday at Belk

Last Thursday night

Keith Onsdorff ’71 in my inbox:

The dinner last week was a very moving DC family event. I was most impressed by the highly articulate talks given by Can, Max and Andrew. As I mentioned to Coach McKillop, all three of these young gentlemen will, without doubt, be successful leaders in their individual chosen real world endeavors.

I was fortunate to run into my senior year roommate’s parents at the dinner, and when they told me that they had not read your book yet, I promised to send them one of mine. Of course, on reflection, I realized they would surely enjoy having a new edition, so I ordered one from Butler earlier today -- hope to keep you in print for as long as possible.


Staying Stephen

I’m told it won something. Update.


William in my inbox:

I really liked that passage you posted from the Leahy book. Baseball has the outdoors, and a fly ball within the poles theoretically can fly forever and remain in play. Baseball celebrates the grass and the natural world, and also is in harmony with the progress of the seasons. As Giamatti said: “The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.”

Following that, we might say that basketball is our indoor refuge from the cold. As Leahy intimates, we are fleeing not only the cold of the winter; we seek a warmth of many dimensions. For us, it includes not only Belk, but Johnston, and so many memories of players and fellow fans from days ago and from years ago. And of all the games, many of which, as Leahy notes, contained at least one moment of magic for those who were paying attention.

Right now I can imagine walking down from the football field on a cold night, seeing the lights of Belk, and blending in with the crowd flowing into the doors. The way that image has come to me so vividly tells me that I am quite ready for the first game of the next season. It will be as good as ever. Nothing is missing, really.

His recruiting regret

Telep: “I wish I would have made Stephen Curry a Top 100 player.”

Stephen’s all-school e-mail

On The Davidson Awards Show tonight:

Hey guys,

I’ve been working on something for the past few weeks with a few of my friends, it’s a remix to Asher Roth’s “I Love College” called “I Love Commons.” We’ve recorded a new track and a music video that will be premiering at The Davidson Awards Show tonight, and I’d love it if you could come check it out. This is probably one of the coolest things I’ve done during college. I mean, going to the Elite 8 was great, but this ...

Here’s the info on the event:

The Davidson Awards Show
Tonight (Monday)
Duke Family Performance Hall

It’s also going to be a pretty awesome event, they’re giving out awards, all the a capella groups and shades of brown are performing, so it should be a great time to take a study break.

Thanks and God Bless,



Says DeCourcy

He did his time.

‘Moved like small children’

Michael Leahy in When Nothing Else Matters:

I’d always wondered what could draw people, night after night, to what is after all just a game. But in a world marred by so much imperfection and loss, on frigid winter days when the sun died too early and a man felt the chill of his life’s regrets, it was nice sometimes just to drive to the arena with the defroster on and contemplate the possibility of seeing Michael Jordan perform brilliantly, to imagine fallaway jumpers rippling nets, again and again. There is a benefit to being reminded that we are not so hardhearted that we cannot be moved like small children, that there remains room in our lives for something as mysterious as magic. …

There is something achingly prayerful about it -- I don’t mean anything religious -- but prayerful just the same, the screamers wanting something to lift them for a few seconds, to remind them that obstacles are not always insurmountable. People pray with their shouts.

The U19 squad

Update: Pitt coach Jamie Dixon will replace Davidson’s Bob McKillop as head coach of the United States’ 19-and-under men’s national team at the FIBA World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand, this summer.

Brooklyn Old Timers Dinner

Hoops Weiss: Ray Nash, the former coach and president of Bishop Ford emceed the event, which honored Davidson coach Bob McKillop, former St. John’s star John Warren, former Cathedral Prep and Collegiate coach Larry Byrnes and official John Hughes.


Hickory Barnes & Noble

‘Announced into the air’


For loving it. For giving me immeasurable joy and moments that have transformed my life. For bringing us together in a way that can never be broken no matter how many years pass. For being normal through it all, my classmate. For jumping up and down, for cackling with laughter, for singing with us. For pointing up. For letting us claim you, and for claiming us. For impacting my life so deeply that I burst into tears when I got that fucking text message --

He is leaving.

On Matt’s staff

From Jeff Goodman: New Elon coach Matt Matheny has hired Tim Sweeney, who was at Bucknell last season and spent two years at Davidson with Matheny.

Set for Sunday


Here’s a nice story: Davidson junior guard Bryant Barr is spearheading a charity event to raise money for “Nothing But Nets,” an organization dedicated to preventing malaria in Africa by providing anti-mosquito bed nets for families to sleep under.


Easter up in the mountains

Last night’s banquet

Pearl on Max’s speech: Max said that he has played his last game, and he played it in a Davidson uniform. Maybe I welled up just a little. Max is the kind of guy who makes you proud to be associated with Davidson basketball. I told him later that I think about him the way I think about Thomas Sander -- the embodiment of a Davidson Wildcat.

On Stephen’s decision

On CharlotteMagazine.com:

He could have stayed. He could have spent his senior year with his classmates and teammates and friends. He could have graduated next May with his degree in sociology. He could have come close to breaking Pete Maravich’s career scoring record. He could have -- would have -- finished his four seasons at Davidson as one of the very best players in the history of college basketball.

Stephen Curry chose to go.

That is not a comment one way or another on his decision to skip his senior season at Davidson and go straight to the NBA. It is only to suggest why it was a decision that clearly was so hard for him to make.