• 63°

College Basketball: Davidson forges on without Curry

Associated Press
DAVIDSON ó Davidson coach Bob McKillop, upset with his team’s defense, halted practice and brought his players together. He then reeled off the names of the three starters from last season no longer on the roster ó mentioning Stephen Curry last.
“We’ve got to be perfect,” McKillop yelled, “We’ve got to be a team.”
Above him was the banner proclaiming “NCAA Tournament Elite 8 2008,” the dominant symbol of a storybook three-year run that ended steps away in a conference room in April when the dynamic Curry announced he was leaving for the NBA.
With Curry taking his limitless range and smooth jump shot across the country to Golden State, a collection of players lacking experience or trying to overcome flaws must be nearly perfect to duplicate the success their superstar and buddy brought to this tiny liberal arts school.
“It’s like having a Broadway show and actors are now being challenged with playing different roles,” McKillop said. “Our leading singer, our leading dancer, our leading dramatic presenter is gone.”
Curry, the skinny, lightly recruited local kid with the NBA pedigree made it feel like the 1960s again for this town 20 miles north of Charlotte. Bringing this Southern Conference school success not seen since Lefty Driesell was pacing the sidelines, Curry led Davidson to a 85-20 mark in three years, including a remarkable run in 2008 that ended a missed 3-pointer shy of the Final Four and perhaps forever changed this school.
“Just being on that stage and being on the map, everybody knows where Davidson is, who they are and what they’re about,” Curry said this week. “It does a lot for the program.”
Only now the leading scorer in school history is gone, leaving McKillop with perhaps the biggest challenge in his 21 seasons here.
Seniors Will Archambault (8.3 points), Bryant Barr (7.1) and Steve Rossiter (6.1) are Davidson’s top three returning scorers. McKillop’s son, Brendan, is expected to become the full-time point guard. A collection of freshmen, led by big man Jake Cohen, are going to have to contribute immediately.
And the schedule isn’t kind. The season opener is Saturday at No. 11 Butler.
“We don’t have the luxury of replacing an NBA first-round pick with another guy who has the potential to be a first-round pick in the NBA,” McKillop said. “The (Bowl Championship Series) schools do have that luxury.
“You look at what Davidson has to face in terms of holding its head above water and you can look at so many other parallel midmajor programs who have fought to do the same thing. It’s not easy.”
McKillop listed Xavier, Gonzaga, Butler, Southern Illinois and Creighton as schools from the lower leagues who have been able to sustain the success Davidson achieved with their baby-faced star, who’s still getting a lot of attention.
“I’ve been watching him online,” Archambault said of Curry. “It’s pretty nice to see one of your friends playing on an NBA team.”
Before the No. 7 overall pick began his pro career, he sent out more than 2,000 postcards to folks in the Davidson community and took out a half-page advertisement in the school newspaper.

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on felony drug, breaking and entering charges

Local

Rep. Amber Baker discusses legislative session during Rowan Democrats breakfast meeting

Local

Thousands of locals, out-of-towners gather for a groovy time at annual Hippie Fest

News

N.C. Zoo ready for expansion if lawmakers OK funding

Education

RSS budgeting for tens of millions in federal COVID-19 relief funding

East Spencer

‘Back in full swing’ for the spring: East Spencer community gathers for food, fun and fellowship at Spring Fest

Local

Rowan native Lingle among those honored with NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame induction

Business

Former pro baseball player, Tar Heel standout Russ Adams finds new career with Trident Insured

Education

Profoundly gifted: Salisbury boy finishing high school, associates degree at 12

Local

Cheerwine Festival will stick to Main Street, stay away from new park in September

Lifestyle

Celebrating Rowan County’s early cabinetmakers

Education

Service Above Self announces youth challenge winners

Business

Economic Development Commission creates search tool for people seeking Rowan County jobs

Columns

Amy-Lynn Albertson: Arts and Ag Farm Tour set for June 5

High School

High school baseball: Mustangs top Falcons on strength of hurlers

Business

Biz Roundup: Application process now open for Rowan Chamber’s 29th Leadership Rowan class

Sports

Keith Mitchell leads McIlroy, Woodland by 2 at Quail Hollow

Nation/World

States scale back vaccine orders as interest in shots wanes

Nation/World

Major US pipeline halts operations after ransomware attack

News

NC budget dance slowed as GOP leaders differ on bottom line

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting

Coronavirus

People receiving first dose of COVID-19 vaccine grows by less than 1%

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools brings Skills Rowan competition back to its roots

Business

Weak jobs report spurs questions about big fed spending