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November 12, 2008

College basketball is back.


For the next six weeks or so, big-time college basketball teams will be gingerly dipping their toes into the pool, playing cupcakes and preparing to dive in come conference play. Then there's March Madness, perhaps the greatest stretch in the annual sports calendar, which looks to be another spectacular finish to the season.


Cinderellas and superstars always show up in March, but do yourself a favor and just recycle last year's tournament darling: Davidson guard Stephen Curry.


Yeah, you know him. He scored 128 points in four NCAA Tournament games last season, and almost had a Final Four ring if not for the phenomenal Kansas Jayhawks.


I covered Kansas last season for the local newspaper, so I got to to know Curry a little bit during the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games in Detroit. His pump-fake three-pointer against Wisconsin was one of the most memorable plays I've witnessed. He scored 33 against Big Ten champs Wisconsin and 25 more against Kansas that weekend. Away from the court, he was a super nice kid, intelligent and charming, the kind of guy you always root for based on first impression. We recently published a piece about his off-court work that makes you like him even more.


The March spotlight is still months away from being occupied, but Stephen Curry will be around in the meantime. He's a junior at Davidson, a preseason All-America now playing point guard so he can work on creating his own shot rather than spotting up. NBA riches await him.


The seasonal Stephen Curry bandwagon filled up in March, and with good reason. But the permanent bandwagon needs passengers.


Do yourself a favor: Follow him all season long. You won't be nearly as surprised when he becomes the NCAA Tournament superstar one more time.


Photo: AP

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