Sports


Curry has a shot at Pistol Pete

THURSDAY, JAN. 15, 2009

The record has stood since 1970. When Lionel Simmons was making his assault on 3,000 points in 1990, I remember him saying he knew he “wasn’t going to catch Pistol Pete.”

The L-Train finished his career at La Salle with 3,217 points, more than 400 points from Pete Maravich’s record of 3,667. Well, there is finally a challenger for the record. But the challenge comes with three big ifs.

If Davidson junior Stephen Curry comes back for his senior season, can average approximately 30 points per game and gets enough games, he has a real chance.

Curry’s NBA plans will be announced after the season. He has played a lot of point guard this season to get ready for the NBA. Anybody who does not think he can play in the NBA is confused. He can, now or some time in the future.

But Curry may want to continue the college experience. Anybody who followed Davidson’s journey last season knows what joy it brought to the team and its followers. That feeling is not something you can take with you to the NBA.

Curry has 2,127 points. He scored 730 points as a freshman (21.5 average), 931 as a sophomore (25.9 average) and 466 in 16 games this season (29.1 average). He played 34 games his first season and 36 last season.

Let’s assume 35 games this season and next. Remember Davidson gets extra games because it probably will win the Southern Conference tournament and play a game or two or more in the NCAA tournament.

Now, do the math – 19 more games this season and 35 next season. That’s 54 games times 30 points or 1,620 points. Add 1,650 to 2,127 and the number is 3,777 – or 110 more points than Pete.

I will make no comparisons to Pete because nobody who has played college basketball can (or ever will) compare to Pistol as a flat-out scorer. Consider Maravich scored all those points in just 83 games; Curry has already played 86.

Pistol played with no 3-point shot or shot clock. He averaged 44.2 points for his career.

Still, Pistol played in a much more wide-open era where defense was often a rumor, coaches did not control games like they do now, and any shot he took was a good shot in the eyes of his coach, his father Press Maravich.

What Curry is doing in this era is amazing in its own way. Every team wants to stop him. The really good teams on Davidson’s schedule throw wave after wave of defenders at him. Still, he scores and, more important, helps his team win, something Pete could not do at LSU.

Davidson is 13-3 after going 29-7 last season and 29-5 in 2006-07.

Speaking of shooting

There are six teams shooting 50 percent or better from the field. Led by Utah State (52.0 percent), the teams, which include Arizona State, BYU, Wake Forest, Syracuse and Kentucky, are a combined 84-10.

Why is Wake unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the poll of record (mine)? The Demon Deacons are shooting 51.0 percent (fourth nationally) and holding teams to 36.3 percent shooting (sixth nationally). A gap of 10 percentage points is terrific. A gap of 15 points is national-championship material.



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