Stephen Curry, family recall his difficult college recruiting process


Stephen Curry, family recall his difficult college recruiting process

"The underdog mentality and mindset will always be a part of who I am. Humbled beginnings in the game, being overlooked and having to really, on the court, fight for everything."

Stephen Curry arrived in Charlotte for his sixth All-Star selection.

He was home. 

It was a reunion for Curry, who had spent his childhood in the area and throughout his college years when he played for Davidson College about 30 minutes outside of Charlotte.

But, it was not an easy process, getting there. And not only because his mom, Sonya, didn't necessarily want her son to play for the school.

Let's rewind to Curry's sophomore year -- that's when the recruiting process began.

"This is my time," he said in the fourth episode of his Facebook series "Stephen vs The Game."

During his junior year was when he started "getting feelers" from Virginia Tech. He played in front of Roy Williams and Coach K, but the phone wasn't ringing.

"That's where it kind of sunk in, like, 'All right, what's going on?'"

His dad, Dell, mentioned the reason why he wasn't getting recruited by any D-1 schools was his size.

"He was a small guy who didn't pass the eye test," Dell said.

They all complimented him of course, His shooting was there, he was intelligent, but he didn't have the stature they wanted. How would he be able to defend against guards bigger than him in the ACC?

Bob McKillop, the head coach at Davidson, watched the "small" Curry play in high school one day in Las Vegas. And if you can believe it, Curry was awful. He turned the ball over, missed a shot, missed another, and couldn't keep up defensively. But there was something that still stood out about him to McKillop.

"Never once did he stop playing," McKillop said. "Never once did he show the frustration, never once did he get impacted by the demons of failure. And I said to myself, 'This is a young man who transcends time. He lives in the moment.'"

That was the easy part. McKillop still had to meet the parents, and Sonya wasn't going to be easy to convince. 

"I have the reputation of being the tough one in the family, so my interviewing techniques can be a little daunting sometimes," she smiled.

Sonya wanted to hear all the right things. She wanted to make sure McKillop was the coach that would hold Steph accountable.

And he hit all the right notes, according to her.

"He went to leave and I walked him to the door and I said, 'Coach, we'll get him fattened up for you. And he turned around and once again blew me away.'"

He then patted her on the shoulder and told him he would take Steph just the way he was. She laughed and offered to let the coach take him right then and there. She was sold.

That's when both Dell and Sonya knew the coach had the confidence to turn Steph into the best player he was going to be. And most importantly, the eventual two-time MVP felt valued. 

However, there was a bit of a record-scratch moment when he told everyone at school he was committing to Davidson -- it wiped the smile right off of his face when his peers were confused as to which school that was.

Remember those turnovers the coach talked about when watching Curry in high school? They would soon come back to haunt him during his first collegiate start -- all nine of them in the first half. 

"We as a coaching staff said 'Remember Las Vegas,'" McKillon explained. 

They kept Curry in the lineup and he ended with a double-double. That was the beginning of Curry's confidence, both in himself and in the staff.

[RELATED: Curry stops by alma mater, celebrates with students]

What do you expect from a competitor who is told "no?" 

The series showed a clip of when Steph began to bloom into the player we now know and he was right back where it all started, sporting a Davidson uniform over his black sweatshirt singing "Sweet Caroline," and cheering on the team as a fan.

It all came full circle. From the time he was swimming in a red Davidson uniform, to holding his son, Canon, after the Warriors swept the Trail Blazers to head to the NBA Finals.

He was still the same guy, just with a little more facial hair.

Why Mychal Thompson thinks Steph Curry will make 500 3-pointers this year

Why Mychal Thompson thinks Steph Curry will make 500 3-pointers this year

The Warriors' roster turnover this summer has been well-documented, but Mychal Thompson things it will bring out the best in Steph Curry next season.

Curry will have to adjust to life without Kevin Durant next season, after the star signed with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency. The two-time MVP also will miss Klay Thompson -- Mychal's son -- for much of the campaign as the Splash Brother recovers from a torn ACL. Because of that, the elder Thompson thinks Curry has the potential for a record-breaking season in 2019-20.

"Now, they're not going to be as good as they were last year -- and by the way, I predict Steph is going to have 500 3s this year without having to share the ball that much back in the backcourt with Klay," Mychal said Friday on SiriusXM NBA Radio. "So he's going to come back to his MVP form we saw two years ago."

Curry set the NBA's single-season record with 402 made 3-pointers en route to the first unanimous MVP in league history in 2015-16. He did so leading a historic Warriors team that went 73-9, and Klay finished second on Golden State that season with 276 made 3-pointers. 

Klay made 241 -- and attempted 599 -- triples last year, while Curry made 354 and attempted 810. Assuming Thompson returns after the All-Star break, there could be enough touches for Curry to shatter his own record. However, summer acquisition D'Angelo Russell made just seven fewer 3-pointers than Thompson last season. He probably will take fewer shots as the No. 2 option behind Curry to start the season, but Russell's presence probably lowers Curry's record-setting ceiling. 

[RELATED: Steph comments on learning about KD's decision on plane]

Curry unquestionably will have to carry a bigger load for as long as Klay's out next season. But when his son returns, Mychal thinks the Warriors will find themselves on the same level as other Western Conference contenders. 

"[Draymond Green] is motivated to have a great year because his contract year is coming up," the elder Thompson continued.  "So I think [Curry and Green] -- and with the addition of D'Angelo Russell and the other role players that they've signed -- I think they'll be right in the mix. Somewhere between a five [or] six seed until Klay comes back 100 percent, and then they'll be ready to make their move." 

Steph Curry reveals wild prank Warriors vet played on him as rookie

Steph Curry reveals wild prank Warriors vet played on him as rookie

Hazing happens in all walks of life, including the NBA.

Before Steph Curry became a two-time NBA MVP and three-time NBA champion, he was a rookie.

While in Lake Tahoe for the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament last week, he revealed the following story to Chris Simms of NBC Sports on "Unbuttoned":

"I had a vet when I was a rookie -- I had my phone, mind you I'm dating my now wife at the time and I'm going on a road trip so I need my phone obviously -- we had finished practice and we were headed to the airport, and he knew where my phone was.

"He knew I always put it in this little pocket in my backpack. So after practice, I go get in the shower and put my phone in there. I'm kind of late so I'm hustling. He knows after I get out the shower I'm probably not gonna grab my phone.

"Take my phone, locks it in his locker. I get all the way to the airport and realize I don't have my phone. I get off the plane in Oklahoma City, not only did he make me leave my phone at home so I had to go to the store to get another one, he sent me on basically a two-hour errand run to go get video games and snacks.

"This is before Uber or Lyft so I'm in the yellow cab and paying for everything. That's just a headache."

Who was the veteran -- Anthony Tolliver, Corey Maggette, Ronny Turiaf, Mikki Moore or Vladimir Radmanovic? Perhaps it was Devean George?

Unfortunately, Curry did not disclose that information.

We also don't know if it was the Dubs' first or second game in Oklahoma City that season.

[RELATEDCurry comments on finding out about KD's decision on plane]

On Dec. 7, Curry registered 22 points, two assists, four steals and five turnovers in a 104-88 loss (Kevin Durant recorded 28 points, nine rebounds, four assists, three steals and six turnovers).

On Jan. 31, Curry contributed 14 points, five assists and five turnovers in a 112-104 loss (KD racked up 45 points and 11 rebounds).

That likely will remain a mystery, but what we do know is that NBA stars are just like us - pranks and all.

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