Then he moved to a big city stage, then moved to an off-Broadway stage. The son of former NBA player Dell Curry, Steph was a scrawny teenager who stood 6’0 and weighed 160 pounds. Richards: We knew how talented they were. Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry recalls the best memories from his 2008 NCAA Tournament run with Davidson. I did see the play when (Mario) Chalmers hit his shot (to save Kansas in the title game with Memphis), but I stayed away from TV.”. Richards’ game-winning 3-point attempt was off, ending Davidson’s Cinderella run in the Elite Eight. But we didn’t make all the plays we needed to, and I think that really set the tone for the year. But the feeling that we had, was that Steph comes from a tremendous family, and he was excited to come to Davidson. North Carolina, Duke, UCLA. They had Doc Rivers’ son. Championships: 0. While Curry was getting the big headlines, Richards was having a big month himself. We go out to Anaheim to play UCLA, and we jumped out to a 15 or 17-point lead. 7 seed Gonzaga leads No. The game was played in North Carolina, giving Davidson home-court advantage. I spoke with Davidson head coach Bob McKillop, assistant coach Jim Fox, teammates Jason Richards and Brendan McKillop, as well as former Georgetown player and current Denver Nuggets executive, Jon Wallace. But everyone had a part in winning those games, which was just incredible. 3/24/2008 1 I don’t know how I never watched it. Shoot a quick-3, we would come down, and Steph would make one from deep. 3 seed Wisconsin and Davidson are tied 36-36 at halftime in Detroit’s Ford Field. Glory can be fleeting. You think what if I did this on this possession and that possession? Curry was a 3-star recruit coming out of high school and didn’t’ end up pursued by many traditional NCAA basketball powerhouses. Steph’s confidence just grew even more. He’s still the same person. Davidson was down six points in the second half with the Jayhawks seemingly taking charge, when a reserve named Bryant Barr came off the bench and hit three 3-pointers in two minutes. Brendan McKillop: I think for anyone to project for him to have the success he’s had, I don’t think that would be possible. Coach Fox: Oh, it was awesome. You watch him handle himself with the media and the people and the fans. Even as good as Wisconsin was defensively, we were able to get the shots that we want to get on offense, which is just a kind of soothing feeling, and that is that when we were writing our plays, we’re getting the ball where we wanted to. That was the overall goal as a team. Coach Fox: I think what he was able to prove to himself is how good he could be with all those players on that under-19 team. The Jayhawks, free of Davidson at last, jumped into each other’s arms, and soon after headed for San Antonio for the Final Four. Final Fours: 0. Davidson Wildcats. Since then, Steph has grown into a global superstar who captured two NBA MVPs and three championships over the next 10 years. Seeing a guy I knew most of my life, playing for the team I loved, and then being able to be a part of it even though I wasn’t necessarily on the court for those minutes. He hit his first free-throw, and missed the second, leading to an offensive rebound by Davidson. Richards: His game changed significantly from his freshman to sophomore year in terms of what he was able to do on the basketball court. Davidson’s deficit found itself down 46-29 just over two minutes into the second half. He got us in the huddle and just kind of said, “hey, just smile, have fun, because that’s what it’s all about.” I think he kind of lifted a weight off our shoulders at that point to where we started to chip away possession after possession. However, basketball is a game of runs. Dell and Sonia were there. But that play also got better because Stephen played the lead role. He was ready to drive down to talk to these coaches. However, the Jayhawks went on a run of their own and held a six-point lead with just over a minute to go. “He was put on the national stage because of the competition he had,” McKillop said. The 2008 NCAA tournament was the eighth NCAA tournament with a 65-team bracket, prior to the introduction of the 68-team bracket that featured the First Four in 2011. That’s something that you don’t see every day as a freshman coming in at the collegiate level. He had to come in and earn his spot. 2 seed Georgetown leads Davidson 46-29 with 17:52 left. We had it for those two successive weekends.”, But he hasn’t watched the Kansas game. NCAA Tournament. We use the pressure and that kind of invited them into shooting quick 3s. So I knew going into those games, the likelihood of getting on the court was slim to none. A "play-in" game determined which of the two lowest seeds would play in the first round of 64 against a top seed team. Steph’s college coaches and teammates reflect on when he introduced himself to the world. Coach Fox: a lot of people thought Davidson has no shot of winning those games. 10 Davidson by 10 points in the second half in Raleigh. But there was something else going on that spring. The Wildcats charged ahead 49-45. Giannis Antetokounmpo Agrees to Five-Year, $228M Super Max Extension, Josh Richardson and his quickly found comfort with the Mavericks, Grizzlies 123, Wolves 104: Case of the Monday’s. Davidson took over at the beginning of the second half, going on a 24-9 run to open up a 15-point lead. Steph wound up accepting a scholarship close to home, joining the Davidson Wildcats, a school of just 1,700 students at the time, for the 2006-07 season. And, you know, he really never wavered on that commitment. Wallace (played for the Hoyas and had 12 points in the game): We saw how Steph led the comeback the game before against Gonzaga. He averaged 32 points, 3.5 assists and 3.2 steals while shooting 44% from beyond the arc over those magical four games. He is so old he covered Bob Knight when he had dark hair and basketball shorts were actually short.The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NCAA or its member institutions. He drew a foul on it. We thought we had a chance to beat them, just like we did any other team in that tournament. Yeah, it was deep. Thanks to original video provider. Coach McKillop: I remember we went to his house on a midweek afternoon. The pivotal 3 Steph made was at the top of the key. It was more about the run as a team, than that one specific play.”. WIS (3) 56: Final: DAV (10) 73 NOVA (12) 57: Final: KU (1) 72 MSU (5) 74: Final: MEM (1) 92 TEX (2) 82: Final: STAN (3) 62 via Sports Logos.net. Roy Hibbert got into foul trouble that game. This is an oral history of the lead up to Curry’s explosion and the remarkable run Davidson went on in March of 2008. He still thinks the Davidson mania helped him get a shot at the NBA, though a series of knee injuries killed that chance. And then, all of a sudden, before you know it, it was 15 points. Stephen Curry leads No. The Wildcats finished the 2007-08 season 29-7 (20-0 in conference play) and were the No. Being able to get a guy like that, who’s kind of a hometown hero, getting him to come to Davidson was a huge win for us. Few people, especially Davidson fans, will forget where they were the day the last time these two teams met, which was in the 2008 NCAA Tournament Elite … Select One Gonzaga Kansas Kentucky Michigan. Take that shot again, and Jason Richards makes it any day of the week. A week later, Kansas was national champion. Stephen Curry led 10-seed Davidson to the Elite Eight in the 2008 NCAA tournament after scoring 40 points against Gonzaga, 30 against Georgetown, 33 against Wisconsin and 25 against Kansas. But I mean, even if I didn’t watch those games, I could tell you just there’s the thing about Steph is that any moment of time, we knew that he could string multiple baskets together and get us on a roll just because of his knack for scoring. It was a close contest through the first 20 minutes and the game was tied 36-36 going into the break. He’s a better person than he is a basketball player. You have to realize how good UCLA was with Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook and Darren Collison on the roster. So the fact Steph took the nation by storm, it was newspaper articles, people texting, people calling and leaving voice messages, sending emails. 2 seeded Georgetown Hoyas, who had made it to the Final Four the year before. I mean, he’s had a couple of injuries over the past few years. When you see Steph has that look in his eye and continue to just a shot-after-shot, it was only a matter of time that we got back in the game. LeBron James. Richards: From Davidson to where he is now, I’d be lying to you If I said we all thought this was going to happen. Davidson drew a first-round matchup against the seventh-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs. Curry that day: “I don’t want to get caught up in this-is-a-big-atmosphere, and people-are-watching kind of mindset.”. Davidson had endured a shaky start that season, as McKillop loaded up the non-conference schedule. They defeated East Tennessee State. You watch him be Steph Curry, the world superstar. The Wildcats made it to the 2008 NCAA Tournament, where Steph’s All-Word performance introduced him to the world. Coach McKillop: Now we’re in the memory bank, and we’re saying we’re even with Wisconsin; we were down double digits against Gonzaga. Richards: It’s disappointing because we wanted to win the game. Davidson went 29-5 overall in Curry’s freshman year and lost in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament. It was a close game. I was playing by the numbers, doing what I thought was right.”. Davidson Best Tournament Performances. He had led the nation in assists that season, as Robin to Curry’s Batman. I think the one thing that’s great about Steph is how he is such a great person. They’re going to go on their run, we’re going to go on our run, but no matter what, we can’t let the deficit kind of derail us from the way we play Davidson basketball. When he came back to campus and started working out again, and we’ll be replaying one-on-one, I mean, he was pretty much nearly impossible to stop. But it was kind of just a wave of Steph. After a Kansas miss, the Wildcats had 17 seconds left, and one last chance. Coach McKillop obliged and set-up non-conference games against powerhouse programs. Before he became a superstar with the Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry was a little-known basketball player who was trying to make a name for himself during his senior year at Charlotte Christian high school. I mean, we circled him as our top guy, felt he could be somebody that changes our program. The play was to be a high screen to get Curry some space to shoot. I had the experience of going to an alumni luncheon in Charlotte, maybe in October, and boldly proclaim that Steph Curry was going to be one of the greats ever to play basketball at Davidson. Curry played one more season with the Wildcats before becoming the ninth-overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners. But before he was Steph Curry, he led Davidson to a first-round upset of Gonzaga in the 2008 NCAA men's basketball tournament. “He got doubled teamed and flipped the ball back to me with one second left. We played North Carolina, played Duke, played NC State, played UCLA, which really prepared us for the NCAA Tournament down the road. It kind of broke down their rhythm. We knew the only way to compete with them was just to play our game stick, to our principles. These are the essential Steph Curry college basketball stats, moments and best quotes from his career at Davidson. “We would have had another shot at Carolina, which we had lost to by four to begin the season,” Richards said. “So it was something that didn’t wait for March, but March was sort of an exclamation point for what was going on.”, MORE: First televised college basketball game featured Pitt and Fordham in February 1940. The 2008–09 NCAA Division I men's basketball season began on November 10, 2008, and ended with the 2009 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament's championship game on April 6, 2009, at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.The season saw six different teams achieve the AP #1 ranking during the year (just one shy of the NCAA record). Coach Fox: Before Steph came in, we graduated, I think seven seniors or maybe eight seniors, and I think they scored about 95% of the points. He has covered college basketball for 43 years, including 39 Final Fours. We knew he was a special talent. Brendan McKillop: Going into the locker room after that, and just like the range of emotions, you know we tried to understand how great what we had accomplished was, but also, you know, everyone was heartbroken, and we fully expected to win that game. In Sporting News‘ recent oral history breakdown of Curry’s sensational 2008 NCAA tournament, Curry’s former Davidson teammate Thomas Sander said: “I … I think for them, it was probably very deflating. In 2008… NCAA Tournament Scores — Mar 23, 2008. But before the two-time NBA MVP was recognized as the best shooter of all-time, he was a relative unknown going into the 2008 NCAA Tournament. But you can’t just discredit the way Steph played. There was no doubt people were doing that. After those three games and we had just tremendous confidence. UNC (1) 108: Final: ARK (9) 77 TENN (2) 76: Final: BUT (7) 71: OT GTWN (2) 70: Final: DAV (10) 74 OKLA (6) 48: Final: LOU (3) 78 MSST (8) 74: Final: MEM (1) 77 And out of the blue, he gets up, maybe halfway through our presentation, and says, “I want to come to Davidson.” Matt and I drove home, and it was as if we didn’t need our car. © 2020 NCAA | Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. There were rumors that Davidson wouldn't be in the NCAA Tournament at all if it didn't win the Southern Conference Tournament. Everyone on our team had an integral part in their roles and winning those games. We became the darlings of that year, with Steph being our guy, our leader. Believe me; we were realistic; we saw that roster, we watched their tape. So when the shot didn’t go in, I was just thinking about the game. It’s the pinnacle. In March 2008, Stephen Curry and Davidson College—total undergraduate population: 1,674—beat Gonzaga in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. When the Wildcats lost by one point at North Carolina State on Dec. 21, they were 4-6. Obviously I missed it, but I would take it again if I had the opportunity. Watch all of his top shots and plays from the Wildcats' memorable Cinderella run. It was an open look. ... 2008: DAVIDSON. Coach Fox: I love going out to the Bay Area to watch him play. The Wildcats weren’t dead yet. He never forgot where he came from. 40 PTS 14-22 FG 8 … Brendan McKillop: I don’t want to keep saying the word surreal, but it was. And when the Wildcats hit the Sweet 16, the school offered free bus transportation and ticket to any student who wanted to go to Detroit. Here are some of the best fathers and sons in the history of college basketball, including Glenn Robinson II and III, the Curry family and Marques and Kris Johnson. All top-10 teams on the docket. It was pretty awesome on those raised up courts that you see all the time now at NCAA Tournaments. Thomas Sander was fouled with 58 seconds left on the clock. 1 ranks tried to get him to look elsewhere, to de-commit, so to speak, even though he has signed with us. Coach McKillop and coach Fox zeroed in on Steph as their top recruit. Richards: When we started to chip away and make our run, the entire arena started cheering for us. The way that that run happened, we’re even a couple of minutes into the second half. Coach Fox: Our guys were ready for a battle against a good team, against a really well-coached team on an incredible stage. We knew he was going to play in the NBA. Curry was back at Davidson the next season and led the nation in scoring, but the Wildcats could not recapture the same electricity. So it gave us hope. He catches it in full-stride with a new shot clock. Coach McKillop: Three Gonzaga players, I think, went after Andrew Lovedale, our power forward. Coach Fox: Georgetown presented a lot of different challenges. Francisco Alonso was named MVP of the tournament. I actually watched this game from start to finish for the first time at the beginning of the pandemic. They had a lot of abilities, from the talent on their team that we didn’t have. But, with the honor and the integrity that the Curry family always has, they wanted none of that. Let me tell you this, Jason Richards made that shot countless times in practice, that same shot, when we went through the situation in practice, some of it live, some of it simulated. They were a lot taller than us at every position. The Wildcats blow by for an 82-76 win, with 40 points from Curry, 30 in the second half. We knew he was going to be a very important piece to our success at Davidson even when he first stepped foot on campus. “It changed the life of Davidson basketball. We felt as if we had emptied our tank. Matt Matheny and Jim Fox were absolutely spectacular. As a coach, and I’m sure coach McKillop will tell you this, you feel pretty good about your team. Because we knew we were right there, we had terrific senior leadership. Ten years later, the images of that March still warm Davidson. And he can’t off a last shot. Curry that day on the feeling that anything he put up was going in: “I try to have that feeling every time I shoot to ball. Win-Loss: 8-15. He contributed 20 points against Georgetown, 13 assists against Wisconsin. Social media wasn’t a big thing. Plus, you can follow all the games on your desktop with our discreet RealTime Scoreboard.. Also, don't miss Blue Ribbon's analysis of Davidson and all 65 teams. Especially working in college basketball this time of year, it obviously brings back memories, but I don’t sit back here and think what if, because I’d drive myself crazy. The Davidson players wanted to test themselves against the best teams in the nation. Jason was fatigued, so I took him out. It was like we just smacked them in the face. Too bad, Davidson’s fairy tale couldn’t have lasted one week longer – as it did two years earlier for George Mason, as it would two years later for Butler. 10 seed in the Midwest Region. 'March Means More': Remembering Stephen Curry's 2008 NCAA Tournament Run Thomas Duffy @ @TJDhoops. We had maturity. Coach always called it to grab the golden ring and win a big game like those ones. Coach McKillop: My regret on that situation was that I did not remind our guys that if they overplayed, to go back door. We were sitting on a cloud that entire ride home. That’s why we were in the positon we were, the last 10 seconds of the clock, down two.”. Well, now he’s on a Broadway stage. Curry finished the game with 33 points, leading the Wildcats to a 73-56 victory. I think Steph had been going back on defense because he thought they would get the rebound, not realizing Andrew could actually get that board. And for us, on the bench just sitting there in awe of what he was doing. Also, of what Jason Richards was doing, I think he had 13 assists, no turnovers and just the overall team effort. He’s just on another level in there. The official 2008-09 Men's Basketball schedule for the Davidson College Wildcats. Coach Fox: Wisconsin that whole time said, “we shut down this guy, we’re winning the game.” All of a sudden, no matter what they do, no matter how hard they try, they’re unable to do it. It was just really special. I can only imagine what it would be like if we had social media back then.”. The Bucks superstar announced a five-year, supermax extension on Tuesday. That’s what kind of the whole season was, a build-up to March.”. Seven years later, Curry was in his first NBA Finals, beating the superstar who stood and cheered for him that night in Ford Field. I liken him to a great Broadway performer. Davidson. It’s hard to really describe how it felt. And as we’re walking off the court after our first warm-up, this guy is in front of me, and he’s doing flips, I mean legitimate flips, that you see gymnasts do as he’s walking into the locker room. It’s only going to prepare us for what we wanted to do in March. Davidson’s program has stayed solid, but the Wildcats have not won an NCAA Tournament game since. They didn’t want to hear anything about it. Brendan McKillop: I was kind of just trying to enjoy the ride, and I was out of the regular rotation as a freshman. Would Sixers’ Daryl Morey offer multiple first round picks and young players in a blockbuster trade? Stephen Curry scored 25 of his 30 points in the second half and little Davidson upset mighty Georgetown 74-70 on Sunday to reach the NCAA tournament's round of 16. Davidson held a 49-45 lead after Bryant Barr, who remains one of Curry’s closest friends, connected from deep. 3 Wisconsin in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 2008 (Midwest Region). “I don’t think there’s ever been a question in anyone’s mind who was part of that experience of what could have happened. Entirety of 2021 women's tournament to take place in one location, West Virginia climbs in new Power 36 rankings. I kind of watched those games almost as just a fan. He hit the go-ahead bucket with 1:04 to go, on a play coach McKillop remembers fondly. But there has 100% been moments where he was the best basketball player on the planet, which is just mind-blowing to be able to say that. If so, it’s dead. Richards would graduate that spring. Richards has to, from the next zip code. They miss a shot. I was doing the scout for the Kansas game, and I’m watching them beat Villanova by I think 30, so I’m literally scared to death. We had a tough-mindedness that I think is a unique skill for a team. “It’s hard to believe it was 10 years ago, and maybe that speaks about what it has meant to Davidson,” said Bob McKillop, the coach now, as he was then. We knew he would have a long career, but to see him continue to grow and master his craft, it’s fun to watch. That was the 2008 season Calipari and Memphis nearly won the national championship. March 21, 2008. And one other thing about Davidson of 10 years ago. That sounds ancient, but people started getting noticed because we were everywhere. Coach Mckillop: It was Easter Sunday. Curry spent part of the summer playing with Team USA’s U-19 World Championship squad that earned a silver medal, playing alongside the likes of Patrick Beverley, De’Andre Jordan and Michael Beasley. “It all started when his defender tripped and Kansas was kind of in a scramble and running around,” Richards said. We stayed late Friday, just the coaches, to watch Kansas play. 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We had this tremendous sense of peace. Tournament Appearances: 14. Coming in, there was no entitlement. Ranking all of Steph’s teammates: #31 — Glenn Robinson III, Ranking all of Steph’s teammates: #30 — Brandon Rush, Dubs in-depth: NBA executive says Warriors have ‘no shot to make playoffs’. By the time they hit the NCAA Tournament, they had won 22 in a row. We were on TV, we were in the paper. And again, to us, it wasn’t a surprise. Coach McKillop: They were doubling Steph every time he touched the ball in the half-court, so he hadn’t really possessed the ball in roughly six minutes. I think it sped them up a little bit. Featured ... he was a skinny kid at Davidson who shocked the world. That was a big adjustment that we made. Sherron Collins missed on a 3-point attempt during Kansas’ next possession, setting up a wild final possession for the Wildcats. When your best player works the hardest and exudes that kind of confidence. He was ready to get going right away. We were down double digits at half time against Georgetown. Our feeling was that, “man we got to get Steph the ball, if we don’t have him touch the ball on the way up the court, he might not get it back.”. We both understood what he meant to our recruiting. Everyone knew where the ball was going, including the Jayhawks, who double-teamed Curry. NCAA.com broke down the all-time leading scorers for each one. Against Gonzaga, we were down. “I want to say about 1200 of the 1700 went,” McKillop said. I’m a New York guy, so Broadway, to me, is the most important. The one thing we did was that we made a huge adjustment, X’s and O’s wise; we wanted to speed them up a little bit. But when you go back home to his house after the game, he’s the same Steph that was joking in your office 10-15 years ago. Richards: With this quarantine that’s going on, I actually popped in a couple of the old tapes a while ago just to kind of buy some time because there’s not much going on. 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