After the Wildcats’ improbable run in the 2008 NCAA basketball tournament, Stephen Curry and Davidson became irrevocably connected, intermeshed in such a way that many people can’t reference the school without also associating it with the lanky, 6’3” point guard. Curry’s impact on Davidson, however, far transcends this superficial benefit of increased name recognition. Curry’s return to campus last Thursday couldn’t have made this any clearer.
News of his impending visit spread via an e-mail from none other than beloved coach Bob McKillop, nicknamed the “Silver Fox.” By the following morning, despite only one day’s notice of the event, the Union was inundated with students lining up outside Duke Family Performance Hall (DFPH), anxiously waiting to get a glimpse of Curry. The first students began queuing for the 11:20 a.m. event at 7:30, and by 10:15 the line went up and around all three floors of the union.
Brimming with energy and nearly uncontainable excitement, the auditorium and much of the 900 Room, where a live feed of the event was available to students unbale to fit into the hall, was filled to capacity with students and faculty. Curry’s arrival at DFPH was preceded by his visit to the new basketball practice facility, where he took the first ever shot on the new rims, hitting a three off the glass. After an informal workout with the men’s basketball team and his old coach, he made his way to DFPH, where his entrance on stage brought with it a roar of well-deserved applause from the audience. As Curry strutted on stage with the gleaming Larry O’Brien Trophy in one hand, some students initiated a “M-V-P” chant amidst the frenzy of applause and cheering.
The Q&A began with an introduction from Curry’s former teammate, Steve Rossiter ’10, who lightheartedly noted how honored he was to have set so many screens for Curry during their 2008 run. Coach McKillop reminisced about Curry’s early days, providing insight into what made him realize the guard was going to be special. Although McKillop recalled Curry being less than spectacular when he saw him play in an AAU tournament, even then Curry’s grittiness, determination and prevailing never-give-up mentality suggested a potential for stardom.
By the end of his freshman year at Davidson, Curry’s quick and impressive rise as a national-caliber talent attracted looks from larger, more nationally recognized colleges which had refused to recruit him out of high school. Asked whether he had ever considered transferring, Curry stated emphatically, “Transferring never crossed my mind. This was all meant to be. You support me. My support of Davidson is never going to stop.”
Such a statement is a testament to the impact Davidson has had on Curry, who regards his three years here as some of the best of his life. Curry continued these sentiments during the Q&A, noting that, “There is no place like Davidson. I try to put that into words, but it never quite comes out right.”
“Everyone has their own (college) experience,” he continued, “but Davidson is top-tier. You’re here for a reason.” While on stage, Curry expressed deep gratitude for all those who had helped him get to where he is today, thanking his teachers, classmates, and other faculty on campus.
Curry’s thanks went beyond these words. On a return to Vail Commons for lunch after the event, he made sure to stop to thank many of the staff members who had always served him well. So as excited as the student body was to have its NBA champion back, his return was just as, if not more, appreciated by the staff and faculty that have been here since Curry came to campus as a freshman. All day, professors across campus regaled their students with stories of Curry’s humility.
On stage, Curry hinted at his plan to finish up his degree from Davidson in the “near future.” While Curry may be far removed from life as a student-athlete, his bond with Davidson seems stronger than ever. His return, or, more appropiately, homecoming, was no doubt a special moment for Curry and the Davidson community. Yet Curry refuses to revel in the moment for too long. As if there were any doubt, Curry remarked before leaving the stage, “I’m going to try to represent you guys the best that I can from here on out.”