Sorensen: Which Curry is the best shooter? Take your pick

tsorensen@charlotteobserver.comMarch 23, 2013 

  • Sunday’s Game

    Creighton vs. Duke,

    9:40 p.m. (TBS)

— On Duke’s first possession against Albany Friday, Seth Curry moved to the top of the key. Two quick passes and Curry is open. He shoots as if it’s what he’s meant to do, as if he’s in the driveway of his parents’ Charlotte home, as if there’s nothing but blue sky and time. Of course the ball goes in.

Dell Curry never played point guard in his 16-season NBA career, the 10 most fruitful with the Charlotte Hornets. But he passed his shot down to his sons.

Stephen Curry, a star guard for the Golden State Warriors, scored 54 points last month against the New York Knicks.

Seth, a senior guard, averages 17 points.

Who’s the best shooter in the family?

“I always got my money on me,” says Seth.

Seth, 22, says this from a locker room at Wells Fargo Center, where at about 9:40 p.m. Sunday, the Blue Devils will play Creighton. Winner advances to the Sweet 16.

Seth’s game is more subtle than his brother’s. His moves – change of direction, pump fakes, unexpected pull-up jumpers – seem to come from a different time.

“Effective and efficient,” Stephen Curry says after Golden State’s Saturday shootaround about his brother’s game. “He plays good defense, plays Coach K ball, and they run those J.J. Redick plays for him.”

Redick is a former Duke star with great range.

“I have to be crafty,” says Seth. “I’m not the fastest guy and I don’t jump the highest.”

At 6-foot-2, he’s a 1.5 inches shorter than his brother and 3 inches shorter than his dad.

Stephen is a better ballhandler. Seth moves without the ball the way Dell did, like a wide receiver finding holes in a zone defense.

Styles and height might differ, but Stephen and Seth’s shot comes from the same place.

Says Dell: “I never said, ‘This is how to shoot.’ ”

They learned by watching and asking questions. They went to Hornets’ practices – the ball always bouncing – to workouts and to Dell’s camps.

Stephen’s shot needed more work than Seth’s; he started it too low.

Have the sons surpassed the father. Who’s the family’s best shooter?

“I used to be,” Dell says.

Dell, 48, talks Saturday in Philadelphia. He’s taken a break from his job as color commentator for Charlotte Bobcat telecasts. He and his wife, Sonya, followed Stephen in 2008 when the Davidson Wildcats advanced to within a basket of the Final Four. Last season, they watched Seth and Duke lose in the first round. They can’t miss the final NCAA tournament.

Seth is off to a great start. He hit his first five shots against Albany and scored 26 points on only 14 field goal attempts.

“He’s probably going to be an NBA player for a reason,” says Albany guard Jacob Iati. “He’s really good.”

I didn’t ask the Currys about Seth’s NBA future. The NCAA tournament doesn’t require validation from the NBA. Appreciate the tournament for what it is and the stars for who they are.

Also, Seth’s answer would have been three to seven words.

“That would be the hard part, getting him to talk,” Dell says.

How would you describe Seth?

“He’s very quiet, not emotional on the floor, not a guy who talks trash,” says Duke guard Quinn Cook, who rooms with Curry on the road. “Everything he does he leads by his actions. He’s a silent assassin.”

Says Dell: “Seth will watch sports on TV 24/7. If I come down in the family room and say hi, he’ll say hi. But if I start talking, he’ll leave.”

True, Seth says.

Seth, 22, is courteous. But he’s quietly courteous.

“That’s a good way to put it,” Stephen says.

Stephen, 25, is not quiet, especially when Duke is playing. Whether in a group or alone, you’ll hear him.

Incidentally, who’s the best shooter in the family?

“Seth will say he is,” says Stephen. “I’m still the best shooter.”

Like players on every team everywhere, the Blue Devils have shooting contests. Cook says Curry wins them.

“I almost had him once,” Cook says.

Ryan Kelly, who is 6-11 but hits 48 percent of his 3-pointers, says the contests usually come down to him and Curry.

Is it accurate to say you win half the contests?

“It’s accurate to me,” Kelly says.

Seth can’t shoot, or practice, as often as he’d like. He missed Duke’s preseason with an injury to his right shin and has participated in only 25 percent of team practices.

“As far as Seth’s performance, I think it’s one of the more incredible things I’ve seen as a coach in 38 years,” says Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. “I feel bad for him as far as what could have been. But he’s had a sensational year and has never complained.”

Krzyzewski says he wishes he had recruited Seth and Stephen out of Charlotte Christian. Few did. They were too small. Or something. Stephen was 6-foot, 145 as a senior, says Dell, and Seth wasn’t much bigger.

Did the lack of interest anger you?

“Of course,” says Dell. “One coach in particular.”

Dell won’t name the coach. But I recall that both he and Sonya came out of Virginia Tech.

Seth began his college career at Liberty, where he led freshman nationally in scoring. So the trajectory he took was not as straight as his jump shot. But who can argue the result?

He’s in Philadelphia and could play a starring role in one of the greatest shows in sports.

Speaking of show, last spring Seth, Stephen and Dell played H-O-R-S-E at the Curry home. Stephen says he won, which he says proves he is the family’s best shooter.

What does it take to win a Curry family game of H-O-R-S-E?

“A long time,” Seth says.

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