Sonny’s Side Note: Curry’s Cinderella story
He was called too small and too weak. College scouts said that he was just a shooter and couldn’t finish near the rim. He was a six foot, 160 pound senior with no major Division 1 basketball program scholarships in his state of North Carolina. As the son of NBA sharp-shooter Dell Curry, Wardell Stephen Curry II was raised to love the game.
After leading his high school to three playoff appearances, Stephen Curry was still in pursuit of a Division 1 scholarship. There was a small school by the name of Davidson College, which was 20 minutes north of Charlotte. The head coach, Bob McKillop, saw a vision in Curry that no other college basketball program saw: a high basketball IQ and an ability to shoot the ball.
“Wait ’til you see Steph Curry. He is something special,” McKillop said. McKillop was right, and saw his investment grow to succeed more than he could have imagined.
Curry molded himself into a college superstar his sophomore year. Earning the nickname of “Baby-Face Assassin,” he led the Davidson Wildcats into the 2008 NCAA tournament with a record of 26-6 as the 10 seed faced up against 7 seed Gonzaga, with all odds stacked against Davidson. He splashed 40 points en route to Davidson winning its first tournament game since 1969 and came into the second round having to play the two seed, Georgetown. College brackets became even more spoiled as Curry led the Wildcats to a comeback victory against the Final Four favorite, 74-70. This momentum carried Curry and the Wildcats into the third-round to face the third seed, Wisconsin, who gave up 33 points out of the team’s 73 total to Curry alone. The Baby-Face Assassin struck again. He joined an elite company of only three others to have 3o or more points in each of their first four NCAA tournament games. All the underdog fans started to root for Davidson to carry out the improbable run.
It became a David and Goliath story when the Elite Eight rolled around, as the low-seeded Wildcats would have to play Kansas. While the 10-seed Wildcats were playing Kansas, the tournament favorite to win it all, the game came down to the final seconds, but the Wildcats weren’t able to make up a tight score, ending the game 59-57. That was it. Cinderella’s shoe had come off at midnight and Davidson’s shot at a national title was shattered.
Curry elected to forgo his senior year and enter the 2009 N.B.A Draft. He was tagged as a consensus first-team All-American, led Division 1 in scoring in 2009, held the record for Single-season NCAA 3-point field goals and is the all-time leading scorer in Davidson history with 2,635 points.
Stephen Curry doesn’t live in his father’s shadow anymore, as his towering skill has helped him make his own shadow. Some might call Curry’s college career a fluke or his improbable tournament run of 2008 pure luck. I say it was his will, hard work and dedication to the game of basketball that propelled him into the national spotlight.
Success isn’t determined by your DNA. It’s shaped by your perseverance in the face of stacked odds, and Curry has that grit. Cinderella stories aren’t a new concept, but Curry carries his success with a unique grace. He is one of the most well-known players in the NBA because of his poise and determination, and his success story is just beginning.