Fowler

Fowler: Stephen Curry fills summer with love, healing

Staff WriterJune 21, 2011 

— For Stephen Curry, this is the summer of getting things fixed for the long term.

There's his right ankle, currently in a fiberglass cast after he sprained it at least nine times during the NBA season. He had surgery May 25 in Charlotte to strengthen it, and the ankle should be totally ready by his next training camp for the Golden State Warriors.

More importantly, there's his future. He will marry Ayesha Alexander on July 30 in Charlotte. The two met in a church youth group when she was 14 and he was 15 and have dated since Curry was a sophomore at Davidson. Curry, 23, has purchased a house in Waxhaw and plans for that to be the young couple's home base.

"There are definitely some big changes going on in my life," Curry said Monday. "It's going to be quite a summer."

So while the NBA grapples with an impending lockout, Curry stays busy.

He, his father Dell and his younger brother Seth were all at the Curry Celebrity Classic on Monday at River Run Golf Club, helping to raise $40,000 in the family's annual charity golf tournament. The money goes to The Ada Jenkins Center, where Curry volunteered as a college student. Much of the money will go toward an afterschool program to help elementary school children in the Lake Norman area.

This week, at Davidson, Stephen Curry will host about 40 elite basketball players for a three-day camp. Most of the players at the invitation-only camp are high school guards from the Southeast.

"These are players on the cusp of getting Division I scholarships," he said. "Not the players who are the most highly recruited nationally, but right at that next level."

That's where Curry was a few years ago - a good high school player at Charlotte Christian who was unsure if he would get a chance to play in Division I. He's trying to help these players make a similar leap, so he's paying out of his pocket for them all to come to work together on their games.

Curry's own game has steadily ascended the past few years - although his NBA team still struggles. The Warriors went 26-56 in Curry's rookie season and 36-46 this season. "If we improve 10 more games again next year, that could be the No.6 playoff seed in the West," Curry said.

That's the optimistic way of looking at it. But Curry also will play for his third coach in three NBA seasons in 2011-12. Mark Jackson, the former NBA point guard, was hired straight out of the broadcast booth to take over the Warriors.

Curry has averaged 18 points and almost six assists in two very consistent NBA seasons that have done nothing but solidify his reputation as one of the finest pure shooters. He ranked among the top 25 in the league last season in points and assists, as well as No.1 in free-throw percentage (93.4) and No.3 in 3-point percentage (44.2).

Still, the Warriors are one of the NBA's afterthoughts. You have to work hard to see Curry on television. "We have some flashes as a team, but we need to win with much more consistency," he said.

I'd love to see Curry come to the Eastern Conference when his contract with the Warriors ends (that likely won't be until at least 2013). The Bobcats - where father Dell, once a Charlotte Hornets star, now works as a television analyst - would be a storybook destination.

All of that is hypothetical. What is a fact, though, is that Stephen Curry keeps getting better.

Stephen Silas worked in Golden State as an assistant before joining the Bobcats midway through last season as the lead assistant coach. He couldn't pass up the chance to work with his father Paul, but one of his greatest regrets in coming to Charlotte was leaving the coaching of Curry to others.

Said Stephen Silas of Curry: "He's going to be an all-star for sure. He's really like the perfect player for a coach. A good, good kid who can play. Great work ethic. Great shooter. And, most importantly, he has the confidence he can be great."

Curry - whose brother Seth is a rising junior at Duke and a strong player - played well in the NBA last season despite the nagging ankle injury. He first had problems during the 2011 World Championships. Curry was a reserve on the U.S. team that won the gold medal. Then he rolled it twice within a few days last October. Toward the end of the season, Curry said, even "simple cuts" would be enough to trigger another sprained ankle.

Curry's cast is wrapped in blue and gold to represent the Warriors' color scheme. He will get into a walking boot Monday and is to stay mostly off his feet for four weeks after that. He has been assured he won't have to wear the walking boot under his tuxedo for his wedding, however.

"It's going to be a huge family wedding," Curry said, "since we both have very big families."

Is Curry stressed about it? Not really, he said. No one knows where the NBA is headed after Thursday's draft, but Curry seems quite certain about where he's going.

sfowler@charlotteobserver.com or 704-358-5140

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