Ten years ago, the world discovered Stephen Curry.
Few fans outside of North Carolina knew of the skinny guard from Charlotte. Some ACC coaches knew about him, because his dad Dell played for the old Hornets after a stellar career at Virginia Tech.
But none of them – including Roy Williams – thought this beanpole who was 160 pounds soaking wet could play at the ACC level. So Curry signed with Davidson College of the Southern Conference, gaining inches and pounds during his career.
Curry led the SoCon in scoring as a freshman, sophomore and junior, increasing his 20-plus point average each season. Growing to his current height of 6-3, the NBA scouts began taking notice. As a sophomore, he led the Wildcats to their first NCAA tourney win since Lefty Driesell coached them in 1969.
But the magical run came his junior year, when Curry scored 40 points – 30 in the second half – as the 10th-seeded Wildcats upset No. 7 seed Gonzaga in the first round of the Big Dance. Two days later, Curry this time had 25 in the second half as Davidson shocked second-seeded and eighth-ranked Georgetown, a 2007 Final Four team the year before.
After a 17-point upset of third-seeded Wisconsin in the Sweet 16, with Curry scoring 33 points, his Cinderella team faced top-seeded and fourth-ranked Kansas for a trip to the Final Four in San Antonio, where No. 1 North Carolina would be its Saturday semifinal opponent.
Curry had 25 points and set the NCAA single-season record with his 159th three-pointer, but the glass slipper no longer fit, as the Jayhawks escaped 59-57 and went on to beat Carolina and win the national championship.
Now the world knew Stephen Curry, who entered the NBA draft and was the eighth pick in the first round. The player who no big school wanted left after his junior year and, as it turned out, he should have been the No. 1 selection.
We all know what he has done since, unanimous MVP, leading the Golden State Warriors to three straight NBA Finals and two world championships. He is the player most kids try to emulate in their driveways across America, hoisting up three-pointers like Curry does with amazing grace and accuracy.
Ten years ago this week, we got to meet him.