Those were the words running through his head.
... they should be functioning time capsules that help us remember when our memory fails us. They allow future generations piece together the meaning for themselves.
There is a feeling that binds George Mason 2006, Davidson 2008 and Butler 2010 together.
... to sell those ahead of us on the idea that this was a really powerful experience for a lot of people.
I didn’t really like Michael Kruse’s Taking The Shot: when I first read it, I felt it was too esoteric and short, padded with extraneous material and featuring more footnotes than a David Foster Wallace book. But when I was back home for a few days nursing my broken immune system after Vancouver, I went back and re-read it. I “got it” a little more, and I could better see what the author was attempting. There are stories of the other players, and of fans and students, of free buses to Detroit, about the construction of the team, and the old and wise coach’s philosophy. And there is the feeling, in black and white, when the shot didn’t go down, when Davidson couldn't do what Mason did two years earlier, what Butler has done now. It’s far from perfect, but it’s a blueprint and a way forward.
It’s a very fair point. I actually would add a few more fars: far, far, far from perfect. I would change a lot of things about it, if I could go back and try it again, but I can’t. That’s the way it goes. One night at the Brickhouse, not long after it came out, I told William I thought it was flawed but earnest. Fail with some grace and hope to learn from it for later. This is one reason I’m excited about The Davidson Project. More voices, more accessible, and a much, much wider frame: I think ultimately it will be a better version of what Kyle’s talking about here.
Our victory bellows take over, melding us into one hot sweaty bonetired (up for seventeen hours straight come from down South twenty-four hours ago I didn’t even think I’d be here wasn’t I in a Wendy’s in Ohio eight hours ago is it really the same freaking day of the week?) euphoric disbelieving jumble of jubilant kids, screaming into the depths of these thousands for our hometown boys, our friends, our classmates. Bob McKillop’s face appears on the big screen, stoneset like we’re not going to win by seventeen points, not going to go to the Elite Eight, not going to be the story of the year -- just a normal game. And yet the clock slides easily down, no pressurecooker countdown no heartstopping miracle -- bliss pressing from all sides all people all mouths.
Soltys on Cats.com: 1. We won. 2. I was there.
Things I liked about Butler: Those kids looked like college kids. They played defense. They won loose balls. They earned “slobber” points ...
Now: the Final Four in their own city.
So you’ve got the comments from Kansas assistant Joe Dooley and you’ve got the comments from Stephen, and they’re short and simple and unavoidably revisionist just due to the passage of time if nothing else. And you’ve got the comments from McKillop in the part of the companion story about final possessions, which had additional comments from Stephen, which conspicuously had no comments from Jason. And anyway there are any number of things that could be said about it.
For now, though, I want to key in on just one part. Cue Stephen:
“I got a good ball fake in, and Rush really bit on it. But Jason’s defender [Sherron Collins] got a late break when Jason came back up the sideline, and he ended up in the perfect place at the perfect time to pick me up.”
Here’s what Steve Rodgers said on the resulting thread over on DavidsonCats.com:
The mistake JR made was coming towards the ball (Curry) when it looked like Curry might not get his shot off. It was instincitve, that’s what JR always did to get the ball back and restart the offense. When JR came towards Curry, Curry had pump fake his guy but JR’s man was now close enough to Curry to disrupt Curry’s shot. This left JR open but everyone, including JR would rather have had Curry take the shot.
That’s what I saw.
That’s what he saw because that’s what happened.
From the book:
Jason was in the right corner. He watched Stephen stop going to his left and turn and start heading to his right and toward Thomas' second screen near the top of the key.
Jason watched Chalmers duck past Thomas and chase Stephen, and he watched Rush get up off the floor and start chasing Stephen, too.
Jason decided he had to move, because he didn’t want this game to end with him just standing there, and if he stayed in the corner he would be doing nothing. He didn’t want to be watching.
He wanted to help.
You could stop there. Or ...
Jason started running toward Stephen.
Stephen pump-faked and Rush jumped up and off to the side. Maybe here was a sliver of an opening for a shot. But Jason’s defender was running after Jason and left him now and bolted toward Stephen. He had his arms straight up.
The opening closed.
Do you want to end on help? Or do you want to end on closed? That moment within that moment always has been difficult to parse. I wrote it the way I wrote it because of what I knew and I knew what I knew because of the reporting I’d done. The reader as always can and should think whatever he or she wants to think.
In any event I like what Eddie wrote on the board:
I get the feeling JRich thinks we don’t complain about the missed shot because we're just being nice or something. That’s not true. We don’t complain about the missed shot because there isn’t a soul among us who thinks he is to “blame” for anything. What we remember, as we should, is that he’s a huge reason why we were there ...
It’s like William said so beautifully early in the week right after: ... in that moment, we had in our hearts and minds, proleptically I think the theologians would say, the joy of having it go in. Before it was not in, it was as good as in. For that fraction of a second, we had that experience, and it is enough. It is well worth the journey. At least for me it is, and I guess the ultimate point of this too-long post is that I hope it is also worth it for Jason. He took the shot. He gave us that moment. He trusted, and all we can do is be sure our reaction is worthy of that trust.
America’s teams, they’re often called, or Cinderellas wearing glass slippers, or overachieving underdogs within so much March Madness.
But all those sports entertainment cliches miss the more interesting, more instructive point: These teams are doing more with less.
That feels especially important right now.
AP: Davidson had a shot in the air to beat Kansas and reach the Final Four in 2008.
Tom Droney has been so focused on winning a state championship that he’s never really thought about his legacy. But with one game left in his high school career, Droney’s reputation as one of the all-time greats from western Pennsylvania is etched permanently in stone.
State championship tomorrow. Reading Eagle. Post-Gazette.
Davidson’s continuum was broken this year -- the Wildcats finished 16-15 and lost in the Southern Conference’s first round to Elon. The program couldn’t replicate what happened after the 2005-06 season, when a giant outgoing class of seven seniors peaked with an NCAA appearance. The next year, Curry stepped in, and took the program to higher heights indeed.
It’s an interesting thing to think about. I kind of think it’s more like every season is new, every season is different, every season is hard.
The drive back from the games in Raleigh ended with a police escort into town past toilet-papered trees. The lights of the team bus swung toward Belk Arena and landed on 500 cheering fans. The first hug Richards got was from his history thesis adviser.
At the Brickhouse, with satellite trucks outside, the crowd hollered and yelled every time the Davidson highlights played on ESPN. Then came the clip of Curry in the postgame news conference. The people looked up at his face and the place went hush.
“You should’ve heard all the horns honking,” she told me, “here in this little town.”
It was, up until now, a hopeful but hypothetical conversation. We’ve had it over beers in bars. We’ve had it on cell phones from Boston to San Francisco, from New York to Atlanta, from Charlotte to Tampa. We’ve had it in the fall and in the winter, and in the spring and summer, too. We’ve had it for years.
What if we won in the tournament?
“Curry’s skills were not just technical skills,” said Wildcats Coach Bob McKillop. “His skills were emotional skills that usually are reserved for people with significantly greater experience. He was able to play in a game, make a mistake, then go on to the next play. And that’s very rare in a game of basketball for young players, for high school players, and many college players.”
McKillop also had a rare accomplishment: a 100 percent graduation rate among his team. In 17 seasons under McKillop, every student-athlete graduated with a prestigious Davidson College degree. To him it is a simple assumption.
“Isn’t that point?” he said. “The players that come to Davidson College come to Davidson College to be educated.”
Curry originally did come to get his four years of education. He also made a name for himself in the world of college basketball. The NBA started noticing him, but was he ready to leave college?
“I loved college life and didn’t want to leave,” Curry told the Scholastic Kids Press Corps. “That’s why the decision took me so long.”
Curry is now a Golden State Warrior in the NBA. Has he had any regrets about his decision? “No,” Curry says, and that’s that.
But what about McKillop?
“I was torn by my personal desire to see Stephen graduate with the rest of his teammates and classmates and yet I knew that the opportunity with the NBA in that particular year would provide a once in a lifetime opportunity.” McKillop says. “So, I wanted what was best for Stephen.”
McKillop last spring: “There’s a personal sadness for me. We’re about finishing. We’re about completing.”
On Friday, however, English drained 4 of 7 three-pointers and scored 20 points, his highest total since Feb. 6. Prior to the tourney, English watched a YouTube mashup of former Davidson star Stephen Curry’s 2008 NCAA run.
“He was just always so poised on the court, he never showed emotion, and that led to straight up, straight down [shots],” said English. “It’s like he’s in a phone booth.”
A phone booth. Interesting.
This room -- okay, this cavern -- is brimming with people that I love. They gave my Davidson meaning, they’ve shared good days and bad days, unbelievable games and shitty games. So many together, uncommonly wonderfully so. The ’08 boys, Joe Pierce Nathan JB Chris, haven’t seen them all at once since their graduation, haven’t watched a game with them since 3/30/08, and tons before that. Pete, who, when I saw him, all I could think of was sitting in the Dearborn Doubletree cackling gleefully over countless newspaper articles. Morgan, Logan, Calucchia, dear faces a couple rows up, waving towels that the Currys gave out: TCC #30. Rachel, Grace, Laura, Sue. The Dails, connecting me to Davidson and Richmond, two families of mine. My professors. The Davidson athletics department. Wildcats. Michael and I had lunch when I got back this afternoon, and now I spot him right behind my section (and introduce him to Morgan -- WL -- at halftime, which is fun), I wave to David, Kate, and the Bakers in the upper bowl, I text Rob and Jessie over and over, I find Grace at the half. Michael Jordan has nothing on this family of mine, and our scattered cheers spill over into shared -- remembrance? sacredness? support? thanksgiving?
It drifts down from the nosebleeds, makes me laugh, another moment in another chapter in a good long story. Part of me wants to start it louder, hit the rafters, wants it to echo all through and knock the big million dollar franchises off their feet. But another part of me is content with keeping it soft, one voice speaking volumes. We know it. This is where we come from.
Read the whole thing. Claire references my question, that night at the Brickhouse, and of course kind of always: Why do we watch? And more than that: Why do we watch him, especially now, when he’s not wearing the name of our school on his chest anymore. He was a face of us. For many outsiders -- which is to say most people -- he was the face of us. For them, those outsiders, those most people, that hasn’t changed, and maybe it never will. Stephen Curry. Davidson. And I guess that’s fine. I mean I went to the game in Orlando earlier in the week before the game in Charlotte. Why did I go? Well I went to see him and talk to him because I figured I might have something to say to the people who might be interested in that. But also I was curious. I hadn’t seen him, or seen him play, live, with my own eyes, without a screen in between, for months and months. Why did I go that Saturday in Charlotte? Well I was in town and a lot of people were going. But I had the thought in my head in Orlando: What am I doing here? That thought was much, much louder in Charlotte: What am I doing here? Same thing when I heard that hundreds of alums in Atlanta came out the night before when he was down there: What had they gone to see, and why, and did they get it? Saturday, to me, for whatever it’s worth, probably nothing -- it felt a little uncomfortable. It felt a little ... disconnected. The space between us and him due to no fault of his own but the machinery that moves around the people who do what he now does where he now does it. It felt a little ... hero-worshippery. Clearly I overthink things, sometimes, this being a great case in point. I grant that. Claire’s answer, that night in Davidson, and in what she’s written about it here, is helpful and I think accurate: We’re there to see him, fine, I suppose, but more than that we’re there to see all the other people who are there to do the same.
For teams from smaller conferences that are facing the big guns, belief can be critical. Davidson coach Bob McKillop, whose 2008 team made a surprising run to the Elite Eight, notes that earlier that season the team got invaluable experience through competitive losses to North Carolina, Duke and UCLA. “It showed them that we could at least stay in the game for a significant amount of time,” he says.
Gonzaga coverage: Two years ago, as a No. 7 seed, they went to Raleigh, N.C., to discover the wonders of Stephen Curry 160 miles from his campus at Davidson.
Best Case: Stephen Curry goes thermonuclear shooting the ball, averages 30 ppg and leads the Wildcats to the regional finals, running their winning streak to 26 on the way. Davidson shoots Gonzaga out of the gym, somehow figures out how to guard Roy Hibbert in the second round, grinds past Wisconsin in the Sweet 16 and finally succumbs to Kansas in the Elite Eight. Nation appreciates the work of point guard Jason Richards, who leads the country in assists, and the Wildcats’ brute refusal to beat themselves. Bob McKillop’s hair is perfect.
I e-mailed Austin: Scary, right?
Austin e-mailed me: Extremely. I think it’s interesting to think about the fact that this is the “best case” like the shot couldn’t have gone down, you know?
I e-mailed Austin: That is interesting. Because if that shot had been -- what? -- a foot and a half to the right, March 2008 for Davidson would’ve become April 2008, and better than the best-case scenario.
After we hang up, I stand there. The frigid white sunlight shines through the dim blinds; my physical surroundings are completely disconnected from my tears, and the silence is so apathetic, so detatched, it's slightly laughable. What a picture I make, woman in transition. I feel 18/19/20/21/22 all at once, time-less and time-stopped and time-whooshing-by. I pick up the phone again, dial two numbers, leave two voicemails. Morgan. Michael. They were there, so much more within it than I am at this moment, and yet I need them to know that I was in it too. Two that I care so much about, two who are on different parts of the journey, student and alum -- and in a split second (that was actually two hours that was actually a season that was actually four years, how the hell did this happen?), I’ve left one part and crossed to the other.
Read the whole thing.
Which popped up the following headline from The Big Lead: Kobe Survives the Stephen Curry Show.
Which linked to Marcus Thompson’s story, which started with these two sentences:
Warriors guard Stephen Curry had a question for Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.
With Lakers guard Shannon Brown at the line, Curry asked Bryant if he was worried.
Curry. Asked Bryant. If he was worried. During a game, by the way, against the defending NBA champs, in which he had 29 points and nine assists and not one turnover. Just when I feel my interest sort of start to wane ... Rookie of the Year. Cornerstone.
But a small segment of coaches have said that bigger may not be better.
“It takes away from the special nature of it,” said Steve Donahue, who has coached Cornell to the N.C.A.A. tournament for three straight years. “It’s supposed to be an incredible award for a great, great season. If you expand it, it’s not that. Everyone thinks more is better. It’s not.”
Davidson Coach Bob McKillop went a step further.
“Isn’t this whole thing a window into society?” he said. “We’ve diminished so many other things. We’ve diminished test scores. We’ve diminished admission policies. We diminish so much for reasons that are not accentuating excellence and performance. It’s almost too inclusive.”
Probably not a coincidence that these comments come from two smart men who coach smart kids in programs that are more than just preprofessional way stations masquerading as institutions of higher education.
“We know how much they care about us,” his son Steve said in a phone interview from Davidson. “But they really like coming to Davidson and Siena. They enjoy it as much as we do.”
From going to Steve’s Davidson games, the Rossiters befriended a local couple, Bob and Barbara Hoffman, whose house they stayed at on their visits. They met them at the Brick House, a restaurant where the crab cakes are tasty and the elder Rossiter enjoys a few Brick Lights.
“Now that my career is sadly over, I can join him with some Brick Lights and watch my brother play,” Steve Rossiter said.
About 20 minutes prior to the start, mama Curry arrived with garbage bags, scanned our section, and despite having only met a couple times, waived both mom and boys up. At which point she delivered a big hug to my surprised wife, and gave the boys two of the 30 Curry TCC towels. It was a moment that I think said a lot about moms and their common journey with their boys. Both what they hope for them, and what they hope they aspire to be as young men.
The TCC towels.
... an electric evening as one of the city’s favored sons returned home.
Curry, the son of former Charlotte Hornets fan favorite Dell Curry, grew up attending NBA shootarounds and practices, starred in high school here, then did the unthinkable in leading tiny Davidson to within a missed 3-pointer of the 2008 Final Four.
“Pretty much everything I’ve done in my life has been within a 30-mile radius of Charlotte,” Curry said.
Curry arrived wearing a suit and hugged several Bobcats and arena employees as camera crews tagged along. His pregame availability was moved to the interview room to fit the crush of reporters, and he said he bought 105 tickets.
Read this too. Stephen: “I’m just happy to see so many familiar faces.” DavidsonNews.net: The crowd of 19,392 included numerous pockets of Davidson residents and fans decked out in red. Curry’s former Davidson College teammates were there, as were many family and friends from Charlotte. And Curry delivered, both in his performance and by recognizing his fans. He played all 48 minutes of the game. Sorensen: But Davidson never left him. Wildcats’ red and white is much more prevalent than the Bobcats’ colors. Chron: They gave a nine-second standing ovation when Curry was announced before the game. They erupted when he made his first shot. They even cheered his first touch, a routine accepting of an inbounds pass under his own basket. GSoM. Pictures from Tim.
2. “There’s a lot of adrenaline right now.”
3. “Six classes away.”
(Laurie Dennis of DavidsonNews.net.)
After a modest start to his NBA career, Curry has been very hot the past two months. He recorded the first triple-double of his career in a February win over the L.A. Clippers, registering 36 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds. Only five other NBA rookies have ever posted a 35-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist performance -- Michael Jordan, Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, Elgin Baylor and Jason Kidd.
“I've got a lot of confidence right now,” Curry said. “Nothing has really changed with how I’m approaching the game, but I’m getting a whole lot of playing time due to all the injuries we’ve had.”
Warriors.com. AJC blog last night: On a semi-related note, as small as Davidson College is, every Davidson grad in the Atlanta area must have been at the game. He got a noticeable ovation at the beginning of the game. He played all 48 minutes, too. Stephen last night in Atlanta: “It’s going to be fun. Lot of family in town. Lot of Davidson fans are going to be there. My teammates from last year are going to be there. They’re going to be loud, and it’s going to be fun to play in that arena. I worked out there all summer, so it’s going to feel like home.” Corey Maggette last night in Atlanta: “Sitting down and watching him is unbelievable. There is something bright at the end of the tunnel. Even in the darkness, you notice the way Steph is playing. You see flashes of greatness. We’re watching an All-Star forming. No one expected him to be doing what he’s doing. I mean, we saw what he could do in college, but you never know if that is going to transition into the pros. He’s scoring and facilitating. He is a hell of a point guard.” DavidsonNews.net: Keeping track of No. 30. Worth the read: Frank Hughes on SI.com. Stephen talks with Kilgo.
2. Speaking of No. 30: So no appearance for him to watch his former teammates and classmates and roommates here in the conference quarters. That’s too bad. Would’ve been a cool moment for the school. Would’ve been a cool moment for him.
3. Steve Rossiter, Bryant Barr, Will Archambault, Dan Nelms: Steve was a captain, Will was a 1,000-point scorer, Bryant hit those threes in Detroit. Steve and Bryant were on the court when Jason took the shot. That happened. They were a part of it.
CHARLOTTE -- Chris Long scored 15 points, including four clutch free throws in the final minute, as Elon beat Davidson 66-59 on Friday in the first round of the Southern Conference Tournament.
Longs free throws were apart of a 6-0 run to end the game after the Phoenix led 60-59 going into the final minute.
The victory moved Elon (9-22), the sixth seed in the SoCon North, into a Friday quarterfinal matchup against Western Carolina. The Phoenix’s win over Davidson avenged a 99-96 double overtime loss on Feb. 27 after the Wildcats hit two 3-pointers in the final 3 seconds.
Observer: Six days after stunning Elon by hitting two 3-pointers in the final three seconds to steal a double-overtime victory at Elon, the Wildcats couldn’t summon the same escape magic. Burlington: That’s what Elon did, never wavering despite the rippling drama and the weight of history during what became a 66-59 first-round upset victory in Davidson’s backyard at the Southern Conference Tournament for men’s basketball. Winston: Matt Matheny embraced Bob McKillop near midcourt at Bojangles Coliseum yesterday, just moments after the student topped the teacher in the opening game of the Southern Conference Tournament. DavidsonWildcats.com: Elon ended a 15-game losing streak against Davidson, including three games in the SoCon Tourney. McKillop: “This team has a lot of tournament experience, but it doesn't have a lot in the roles they're playing now.” Also in his presser: “Matt Matheny has done a fantastic job all year long, and that doesn’t surprise me.” Video: Matt after the game.
It’s amazing how quiet it is now that Davidson is Davidson again.
With Stephen Curry gone to the NBA, the Wildcats finished 16-14, 11-7 in the Southern Conference. So maybe they’re not really Davidson; even before Curry, this wouldn’t have been a vintage finish under Bob McKillop.
His teams have won the Southern’s automatic bid five times. The Wildcats begin their trek toward another NCAA appearance Friday against the Elon Phoenix, whom they defeated on the road in overtime in their final league game.
There’s no more Steph Curry, but Davidson still is one of college basketball’s best programs. The 2010 Southern Conference tournament is another chance to prove it.
Katz on the SCT: Nobody from the Southern Conference has a player like former Davidson guard Stephen Curry. But at least some of these teams have had the experience of beating a high-level opponent and will go into this tournament with confidence. If the semifinals in Charlotte are Western Carolina-Wofford and Charleston-Appalachian State, the league should have a highly competitive final two days. The Observer points out: Brendan McKillop’s assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.7 is the best in conference.
“Chick-fil-A,” Stephen said last night in Orlando.
His itinerary for Saturday, then, before the Warriors face the Bobcats at 7: shootaround in the morning, tourney game at 2 if Davidson is involved, with a trip to his favorite fast-food spot in between. “No. 1 meal, order of nuggets on the side, honey mustard. And an Arnold Palmer.”
1. Pretty sure that’s a 16point8.blogspot.com exclusive.
2. Someone needs to get the Chick-fil-A folks on the line.
There is one tinge of irony to the weekend. Southern Conference organizers hoped that Curry would stay at Davidson for his senior year and become the star attraction at this weekend's tournament.
Instead, Curry went pro a year early. Yet he's going to end up being in Charlotte anyway.
“I found out this was going to be a possibility in the fall,” Curry said, “when the schedules all came out. My one trip to Charlotte all season comes at tournament time. It's pretty funny. It's going to be great for me, of course, but it's going to be great for a lot of people besides me, too. A weekend like this just shows how big basketball really is in Charlotte, and how well the city can showcase such a great sport so many of us love.”
Cremins: “Is it inconvenient? In a lot of ways, yes it is.” Iamarino: “I would have preferred if the Warriors to come to Charlotte on a different weekend. Guess I didn't have David Stern's ear on that one.” Stephen: “I'm putting the pressure on my Davidson boys. They better win Friday so I can see them in person Saturday.”
And a funny juxtaposition from Larry Brown: “There was nothing about that job that wasn’t appealing. It was just some things that happened that didn’t quite work out.”
One of those sentences is necessarily untrue.
I want to do something similar, talk not just about the Davidson game but also about my journey there, up and back, and try to locate myself, and reach out for contexts, and maybe see what else I can find.
The transformation feels special.
Today’s Curry is a terror, an impossible question for defenses to answer. Pinpoint passes fly from all angles off the pick-and-roll. He can score from anywhere and can do so off-balance. Steph’s lack of speed should keep him from the rim but he’s developed a herky-jerk high dribble that confounds opponents.
Please hose me down if this is hyperbole: At this moment, No. 30 looks like an eventual combination of Reggie Miller and Steve Nash.
“What will he do next?”
From he’s pretty good to he’s better than we thought to oh my what have we here? -- it’s interesting watching people far away from Exit 30 who know nothing about Exit 30 having this conversation about No. 30.
Curry just knows things, inherently, and that’s a quality that can’t be taught.
Don Nelson doesn’t like to play rookies? “I don’t like to play bad rookies,” Nelson told TNT. “I like to play good rookies, and I've got a good one. Steph Curry is going to be a sensational point guard. We love him to death. He’s the perfect rookie to have, and I play him every moment I can.” 27 points in 48 minutes in a win. Says the Windy Citizen: A way better pro than anyone of us expected. Trainer Idan Ravin: “He has only scratched the surface of his ability.” How? From the archives: ... discourse on nature and nurture: exposure to the game at a high level at an early age, shot form somehow bequeathed through bloodlines, the notion of some sort of organic, ongoing basketball osmosis thanks to his NBA dad.
Palmer said that Droney’s future college coach, Davidson’s Bob McKillop, told the Sewickley star that while he was a very good offensive player, he needed to work on his defense if he wanted to play at the college level.
“He’s taken that to heart and he plays some kind of defense,” Palmer said. “We could have him going out there scoring 35 points per game and doing all those sorts of things, but we don’t because what he does for us means so much.”
“I want to guard the other team’s best player,” Droney said. “I’m taking pride in my defense this year and hopefully it will pay off.”
The Bounce: “Everyone has been talking about Tom Droney, this and that, and he averages 23 points per game. There are other guys in the area averaging more, but people don’t understand -- I believe he is the best player in the area.”