ATLANTA If you still believe that all Seth Curry wants to do is launch three-pointers, you havent seen him play lately. Curry has become a far more complete offensive player.
In a game full of great athletes Tuesday night, Duke senior guard Seth Curry made the biggest impression of all. And he did it without jumping or at least without jumping much.
Im not saying he has hang time, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski joked in the wee hours Wednesday morning after Currys 23 points had keyed No. 9 Dukes 75-68 win over No.3 Kentucky in the Georgia Dome. I wont go that far.
But if you still believe that all Curry wants to do is launch three-pointers, you havent seen him play lately. Curry has become a far more complete offensive player.
Time and again, when Kentucky overplayed him for the outside shot Tuesday night, Curry took the ball and drove into the jaws of the Wildcat defense. And he rarely got his shot blocked, often managing to get the overeager Wildcats off their feet before actually shooting.
Said Coach K of Curry: One thing hes added to his game hes not just a shooter, hes a scorer. Hes got the little herky-jerky moves where he keeps a good balance. ... Hes just got a way of making a guy commit. And really, not many people can do that.
Curry has long labored in the long shadow of older brother Stephen, whose career at Davidson was a fairytale and who has now become an NBA star at Golden State. Before that shadow came the one cast by his father, Dell, an NBA player for 16 years and the patriarch of Charlottes unofficial first family of basketball.
But this may be the season Seth fully emerges, as a senior leader for a Duke team that actually plays some good defense (unlike last years lose-to-Lehigh version) and has a chance to return to the Georgia Dome for the Final Four in April.
While Curry is rarely going to dazzle you with his athleticism, he has learned to compensate with craftiness and confidence. When Kentucky made its run to cut a 14-point lead to three with 3:29 to go, Duke went to Curry. He drew a foul and calmly made two free throws.
Me personally, I want to have the ball in my hands as much as possible to go up there and knock them down, Curry said. Then he drove for a layup in heavy traffic on the Blue Devils next possession and the lead was preserved.
Seth was terrific, Coach K said as the two sat side by side at an interview podium postgame. He was the difference-maker. ... Im proud of you, Seth. Im glad you came to Duke.
Curry began his career at Liberty, where he averaged 20.2 points in a single season. I saw him play that year in person, and he really was just a shooter. But he transferred to Duke (sitting out the NCAA title season of 2009-10) and has steadily improved, enough so that he looks like a first-team All-ACC player to me this season.
It is also instructive that Curry has barely practiced with Duke the past two months because of a painful injury to his right shin. A less mature player would have let his conditioning slide during that time.
Curry didnt. I think I did a good job of trying to stay sharp during limited practice time, Curry said. He was able to play 34 minutes against Kentucky without making a turnover. Only nine of his 23 points came from beyond the arc the rest were a mixture of free throws, mid-range jumpers and drives.
Simply put, he was the difference against Kentucky. It was the sort of game that will give Curry a jolt of confidence, as he tries to make his last season in college an unforgettable one.