Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Self happy Curry didn’t take last shot

Kansas' Mario Chalmers defends Davidson's Stephen Curry on Sunday, March 30, 2008 in Detroit, Mich.

Kansas' Mario Chalmers defends Davidson's Stephen Curry on Sunday, March 30, 2008 in Detroit, Mich.


The more Stephen Curry dominates the NBA ... the more impressive the fact Kansas University survived Curry’s Davidson Wildcats, 59-57, in an NCAA Tournament Elite Eight game in 2008 in Detroit.

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Curry, who blistered KU for 25 points off 9-of-25 shooting (4-16 from three), brought the ball up court with 16.1 seconds left and his Wildcats trailing by two.

Brandon Rush, who now is Curry’s teammate on the Golden State Warriors, slipped while guarding Curry about 20 feet from the basket with 10 seconds left. Rush received immediate help from Mario Chalmers, a defensive whiz in college who now plays for the Memphis Grizzlies.

Appearing confused, Curry passed to Jason Richards, whose 25-footer over Chalmers and Sherron Collins was long enough, but thudded off the backboard.

The Jayhawks, who collectively breathed a sigh of relief, went on to the Final Four and ultimately won the national title. Davidson’s season was over.

“I’m just glad he didn’t take that last shot,” KU coach Bill Self said of the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player, “because after seeing him play since then, if he could have taken it he would have made it.

“We got lucky. That’s what goes through my mind,” Self added. “He (Curry) didn’t really get a chance to get a look off, fortunately for us, because he’s the best there is of making bad shots. He takes off-balance, crazy stuff that goes in.

“He was by far the best player in the tournament. If he got the shot up, chances are pretty good it would have gone down. Fortunately we defended that pretty well. Although it was a hard shot, the guy (Richards) missed it wide left and the rest is history.”

Self said that in looking back ... “certainly it was a treat to coach against him. What was unique about that Davidson team, everybody thought they were the choir boys. That was without question the most physical team in the tournament. Sasha Kaun was the one who stepped up and won that game for us,” Self added of the current member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who had 13 points and six boards.

Curry returned to Davidson for one more year, his junior year. The Wildcats did not receive an NCAA bid. Curry turned pro and was taken No. 7 overall in the 2009 NBA Draft.

“When people took him that high in the draft, I was like, ‘He’s too frail. Is he going to be able to handle 82 games?’’’ Self said. “He’s become a terrific athlete. He’s tough as nails which is very apparent when you see him play.

“His shooting is unbelievable. He’s in ridiculously great shape, knows how to take advantage of the defense when the defense turns. He’s in perpetual motion. He can get it off the bounce. I’ve never seen a guy lull you to sleep then (throw in a three). It’s amazing watching him play.”

No summer tour coming: KU’s basketball team, which is eligible to take a foreign trip this summer, will bypass a possible trip, instead travel somewhere in the summer of 2017.

“We’re going to take a year off. We’re tired. That’s a lot (in a short period of time),” said Self, whose Jayhawks traveled to South Korea for three weeks last summer for the World University Games.

The Jayhawks were allotted a month of practice before heading to Korea where they won seven games (and an exhibition) and the WUG title.

KU won two exhibitions vs. Canada before heading to Korea.

The Jayhawks competed in the Maui Invitational this past November and will be heading to Honolulu for a game versus Indiana on Friday, Nov. 11 with a game against Duke slated just four days later in New York. KU also will play in Las Vegas next season. The Jayhawks’ last summer tour was a trip to Switzerland in the summer of 2012. The NCAA allows teams to travel overseas once every four years.

Two left: KU has two nonconference games left to play — Tuesday vs. UC Irvine, then a Jan. 30 meeting against John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats.

That’s part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

“It’s great we are going to get some exposure. It’s great we are playing Kentucky,” Self said. “The Kentucky game is not bigger than any conference game. These (challenge) games are basically thrown in the first third of your conference season. I don’t think any coach is excited about that.

“I think we are excited about the exposure it could potentially bring to our league. Every game is going to be played that Saturday and GameDay will operate from one of the places, hopefully ours from that particular day all day long. It’ll be fun, a great challenge. It’s something I think a lot of our fans because of Kentucky’s success especially of late will look at this as the game of the season. It is the nonconference game of the season, but it’s not a conference game.

“I think all coaches would feel if it is in December it’d be perfect.”


Joe Joseph 6 years, 9 months ago

How many other Big XII teams are playing a similar OOC game during conference season?

It will be interesting to see how this team reacts to such a game and the games surrounding the UK game. I think KU is fortunate in that they play at Ames on a Monday and then don't okay UK until Saturday. Also, a bit of luck in that KU doesn't play again until the following Wednesday against KState (which KU should be able to handle with a decent performance).

Joe Joseph 6 years, 9 months ago

So I answered my own question. Big XII v SEC challenge, duh.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 9 months ago

As big a game as KY will be, I am also very thankful we play Big Monday (vs ISU) before the Saturday UK game. No chance Self will come remotely close to allowing the team to overlook ISU. Additionally, the Saturday game gives us 4 good practices to prepare for UK.

UK caught a break with a light game hosting Mizzou on Wednesday evening. At the time their schedule was made up, they probably thought that MU game would be a rough one. Anderson's time is very limited.

Arthur Ankeney 6 years, 9 months ago

I wouldn't count out Kim Anderson yet. I had my doubts but they've got some talented kids there right now. They'll never be KU or UK but I think they'll settle in nicely to a fairly weak basketball conference in the SEC.

KJ Quartermaine 6 years, 9 months ago

Uh, Gary, I realize Steph heated up near the end of that Elite 8 game, but how is 9-of-25 from the field and 4-of-16 from 3-point land "blistering" KU? 25 field goal attempts to get to 25 points is not "blistering" anybody. Compounding everything, he failed to get off the final 3-point attempt. Clearly, that's what the article was about, but it still needed to be pointed out

KJ Quartermaine 6 years, 9 months ago

9-of-25 is well under 40 percent and 4-of-16 is well under 30 percent. That's your definition of "blistering," Gary?

Len Shaffer 6 years, 9 months ago

I'm glad you mentioned that, KJ. I was thinking the same thing. That's one of those things that drives me crazy, and it happens all the time. If he had gone 4 for 7 and scored 11 points, they would have said he had a bad game, yet that's much better for the team than going 9 for 25. It's like when a running back carries the ball 30 times for 115 yards and people say he had a great game, then the next game he carries 14 times for 65 yards and they say he didn't play well. It's like averages mean nothing, it's only the total that counts.

Steph had been tremendous earlier in the tournament, but he definitely did NOT have a blistering game against KU -- and thank God for that.

It's also worth pointing out that Steph is in his seventh year in the NBA and is 27 now, nearing his prime. As incredible as he is now, and as great a shooter as he was then, he was nowhere near the player then that he is now.

All that being said, I was still mighty relieved at the time that he didn't take the shot.

KJ Quartermaine 6 years, 9 months ago

Len, agreed. I was getting ready to make that point as well, as far as the article discussing 2008 Steph like he was 2015 NBA MVP Steph. In '08 Curry was more like a "A New Hope" Luke Skywalker, whereas in 2015, Curry is "Return of the Jedi" –– Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker. The two are not really comparable. Curry was not at the same level as far as "making bad shots" in '08 as he is in '15.

I felt like D-Rose "blistered" KU more-so in the national championship game than Curry did in the Elite 8 game. Once Rose heated up, he was doing more damage than Curry when you compare the two performances

Arthur Ankeney 6 years, 9 months ago

Obviously he's better. But Curry has always had a knack for the big game and the big shot. Even when he was an undersized guy in high school struggling to get recruited to a power conference school. He's a much better athlete now, but he was always a great scorer and big moment player. I'm glad he didn't get the shot off.

James Donnell 6 years, 9 months ago

I agree, Arthur. Curry has gotten better and better but was "scary good" back in 2008. I have watched the replay of that entire game a couple times. As I recall, I don't know that Rush slipped, but actually went for Curry's fake. Lucky Brandon avoided the foul, and Curry didn't go to the line for a probable automatic three free throws.

Mike Riches 6 years, 9 months ago

We were fortunate to catch Curry early in his career, before he blossomed. I'm sure Stanford feels the same way about Wiggins. (Interestingly enough, Stanford has the same number of Sweet Sixteen appearances as Kansas has National Championships, so getting that win was a big deal for that program, though it's certainly not a NC.)

Curry today, in my mind, is the most exciting basketball player in the world. I'm looking forward to their game's the only game of consequence on the NBA schedule tomorrow. (I've got to watch something while KU players are on break!)

RJ King 6 years, 9 months ago

Yes, I agree. And being a Bay Area resident and Warriors fan, I'll point out again (as Self did) Curry's incredible work ethic. It seems unlikely he would have "blossomed" just because of his age and time in the league.

Steph has added defense and passing to his gifted shot to develop into the superstar of today. Plus, he's one of the nicer guys in the league.

Tom Jones 6 years, 9 months ago

Stanford has 6 Sweet Sixteen appearances, which is more than KU has national titles even if you count Helms titles.

Martin Rosenblum 6 years, 9 months ago


Any other info on the game in Vegas? I usually make a couple of trips there each year and would like to be there for that game/games, if it's a tournament. Even info on the month would be nice to know. Last time we played there, I was able to watch us play Arizona and Ohio Univ.

Gary Bedore 6 years, 9 months ago

I think it's gonna be next season's pre-Christmas game, the one during the week of Christmas. I'll let u know though when we find out.

Martin Rosenblum 6 years, 9 months ago

That makes sense Gary. I know the team usually plays an away game during that week so the players go home directly from the venue city rather than all of them going back to Lawrence. That is what just happened with the SDSU game, I understand. Thanks.

Kit Duncan 6 years, 9 months ago

It's a reciprocal trip to play UNLV, who came to KU last January. A date hasn't been announced. Likely after the first couple conference games of the 2016-2017 season.

Brian Mellor 6 years, 9 months ago

It was a good thing, because I rather like Stephen Curry and if he had made that 3 I would have had no choice but to hate him forever.

Bryce Landon 6 years, 9 months ago

And Bill Self would probably be patrolling the sidelines of Gallagher-Iba Arena instead of Allen Fieldhouse.

Rodney Pain 6 years, 9 months ago

What about the definition of blistering do you not understand, Gary? Holding a guy to 9-25 shooting is not getting blisteredc even if he puts up 25 points. 1ppp is mediocre. At his usage rate, we blistered Curry on D. I mean, with Brandon Rush playing for the Warriors, it's no wonder they only have one loss. The one guy that can defend him well enough to keep the ball out of Curry's hands is on his bench. No wonder they're the defending champs. Also, unblock me on twitter.

Joseph Bullock 6 years, 9 months ago

KJ & Len-about that Elite8 game-I was at that game, in Detroit, and up close and personal, and I can tell you this: it isn't always about someone's 'field goal percentage'! Sometimes it's about knowing what they can do, and in watching him, all game, the way he handled the ball, and how fluid he was on the court, I can tell you this: as he brought the ball up the court, I was yelling to trap him, and not let him get that last shot! Great players make big plays, in the biggest moments! I was so relieved when he passed that ball! Think of it this way, a lot of great players, have bad games, but who do you want taking the last shot? Your great player, of course!

KJ Quartermaine 6 years, 9 months ago

Of course I did not want Curry taking the final shot, especially a 3-pointer. My assumption was that Davidson was going for the win, and it appeared that was the case all the way strategically. It still doesn't change the fact that Curry was not 2015 NBA MVP Steph in March of 2008, as evidenced by his 4-of-16 3-pointing shooting in the game. That's a credit to the KU defense as well. Viewing the game in person is a different experience. However, even watching the game on TV, I wanted the ball in anybody's hands but Curry's.

No matter how many MVPs and NBA championships Curry wins, he will never be able to live down not getting off the final shot for chance at the Final Four and perhaps beyond.

KU's '08 title run continues to look progressively better with each passing year. It already looked really good because it was the first and only time all four No. 1 reached the FF. Knocking off Curry, D-Rose, Hansbrough, Lawson. It was quite the run

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