Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"I'm not going anywhere anytime soon"

Throughout this season, the national media has called Stephen Curry '10 many things: Dell Curry's son, babyface, Steven, the "ACC reject who found a home at little Davidson." And throughout this season, we have watched as the freshman guard went from dropping 32 points against Michigan to scoring the most points in the NCAA tournament's first round against Maryland (30). Throughout the ride, Curry has been named SoCon Freshman of the Year, SoCon Tournament MVP and a Mid-Major All-American. Quite simply, Curry has done enough to merit being called whatever he wants to be called. But in the end, he just wants to be known as Steph, student and basketball player at Davidson College.

As many people have said, including coach Bob McKillop, Curry might be one of the best players who has ever played for Davidson. As a freshman, he has set records for three-pointers and scoring and is on pace to become the most prolific shooter in Wildcat history. However, Curry did not come to Davidson just to get his number retired. For him, the campus community and the sense of belonging were among the biggest factors in his decision to wear the red and black.

"I knew that we had a great group of guys on this team, and that really helped my decision to come here," Curry said.

Although it is widely known that Curry originally wanted to play for Virginia Tech, his personality meshes with those of his teammates on the court and his classmates in Chambers. While he might be able to shoot three-pointers over seven-foot Maryland centers, Curry has not always felt comfortable when approached by a press that has continually asked him to talk about himself.

"I'm not a conceited guy, and I was worried that some of that attention would go to my head," Curry said. "I have really had to be careful with what I have said this season."

Whether it was during a half-court press or in the media room after the game, Curry's teammates have been there for him all season. Players like Jason Richards '08 and Thomas Sander '08 have helped Curry deal with the constant hype surrounding his actions on the basketball court. They spent most of the season laughing at some writers' suggestions that the team might be jealous.

His teammates knew what the media took a long time to learn, that one of Curry's greatest aspirations is to be a good teammate. Sometimes that manifested itself by deflecting public praise; other times it meant that Curry found an open teammate and set him up to score. We often fail to mention that Curry finished second on the team and thirteenth in the conference in assists.

As Davidson racked up a school-record 29 wins and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the second time in as many years, student attendance and excitement reached new high-water marks for passion and intensity. Far from being aloof and aware of his star status, Curry often seemed as if he wanted to be up in the student section going nuts.

"By far, the best part of this season has been the support from this campus and community," Curry said. "It was incredible to hear about how this campus shut down during the NCAA tournament, and how much everyone is looking forward to next year."

Even though Curry says that he loves being at Davidson, there are still doubters who believe that a major school will come calling and give Curry an offer that he can't refuse. They believe that the admiration of a small town and the joy of playing Xbox with his friends won't be enough to keep Curry away from a big university that plays basketball on TV twice a week.

"I have heard a rumor that I was going to transfer to Virginia Tech or something, and I really want to smash that," Curry said. "I made a decision to be here for four years, and I'm not going anywhere anytime soon."

It is a good thing that Curry believes in us as much as we believe in him.

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