Thursday, March 15, 2007

Who is Stephen Curry?

That's the question every Division I major conference basketball coach whose team is not in the NCAA Tournament is asking right now after watching the freshman torch the Maryland Terrapins for 30 points in a valiant losing effort this afternon. Unfortunately for the assistant coaches, their bosses are also asking the inevitable followup, "Why is he at Davidson University?"

And it's a pretty good question. Every March, America learns the name of a very good player who escaped its notice all year because he doesn't play in one of the power conferences. Usually, he is a senior who was overlooked by the big names because he wasn't a high school star or he was injured or he was an academic or discipline risk. But Curry is a freshman and was a two-time All-State player at Charlotte Christian in North Carolina, where they do pay attention to basketball. And I don't think too many players with academic issues slip past the admissions office at Davidson.

Here's the best part though. His dad is Dell Curry, one of the best players in Virginia Tech history who had a solid career in the NBA. And yet none of the traditional powers could find a spot for this kid who did a pretty good Mike Bibby impression today. So, all you assistant coaches, in the words of Ricky Ricardo, "You got some 'splainin' to do."

Maryland, to its credit, took care of business in the second half today. Curry had five quick points to start the period, but D.J. Strawberry, with assists from Hayes and Vasquez, kept him in check as the Terps asserted themselves at both ends of the floor. Vasquez did a great job running the offensive show and Bambale Osby had several and-one opportunities in relief of Ibekwe, who was in foul trouble. The Wildcats had little offense other than three-point shots and the pace of the game took the legs out from under their long-range attempts.

Bottom line: excellent adjustment by Gary Willliams and his defense, and good leadership from Strawberry, Vasquez and Osby, but the Terps need to take better care of the ball (22 turnovers) to get to the Sweet 16.

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