Stephen Curry, family recall his difficult college recruiting process


"The underdog mentality and mindset will always be a part of who I am. Humbled beginnings in the game, being overlooked and having to really, on the court, fight for everything."

Stephen Curry arrived in Charlotte for his sixth All-Star selection.

He was home. 

It was a reunion for Curry, who had spent his childhood in the area and throughout his college years when he played for Davidson College about 30 minutes outside of Charlotte.

But, it was not an easy process, getting there. And not only because his mom, Sonya, didn't necessarily want her son to play for the school.

Let's rewind to Curry's sophomore year -- that's when the recruiting process began.

"This is my time," he said in the fourth episode of his Facebook series "Stephen vs The Game."

During his junior year was when he started "getting feelers" from Virginia Tech. He played in front of Roy Williams and Coach K, but the phone wasn't ringing.

"That's where it kind of sunk in, like, 'All right, what's going on?'"

His dad, Dell, mentioned the reason why he wasn't getting recruited by any D-1 schools was his size.

"He was a small guy who didn't pass the eye test," Dell said.

They all complimented him of course, His shooting was there, he was intelligent, but he didn't have the stature they wanted. How would he be able to defend against guards bigger than him in the ACC?

Bob McKillop, the head coach at Davidson, watched the "small" Curry play in high school one day in Las Vegas. And if you can believe it, Curry was awful. He turned the ball over, missed a shot, missed another, and couldn't keep up defensively. But there was something that still stood out about him to McKillop.

"Never once did he stop playing," McKillop said. "Never once did he show the frustration, never once did he get impacted by the demons of failure. And I said to myself, 'This is a young man who transcends time. He lives in the moment.'"

That was the easy part. McKillop still had to meet the parents, and Sonya wasn't going to be easy to convince. 

"I have the reputation of being the tough one in the family, so my interviewing techniques can be a little daunting sometimes," she smiled.

Sonya wanted to hear all the right things. She wanted to make sure McKillop was the coach that would hold Steph accountable.

And he hit all the right notes, according to her.

"He went to leave and I walked him to the door and I said, 'Coach, we'll get him fattened up for you. And he turned around and once again blew me away.'"

He then patted her on the shoulder and told him he would take Steph just the way he was. She laughed and offered to let the coach take him right then and there. She was sold.

That's when both Dell and Sonya knew the coach had the confidence to turn Steph into the best player he was going to be. And most importantly, the eventual two-time MVP felt valued. 

However, there was a bit of a record-scratch moment when he told everyone at school he was committing to Davidson -- it wiped the smile right off of his face when his peers were confused as to which school that was.

Remember those turnovers the coach talked about when watching Curry in high school? They would soon come back to haunt him during his first collegiate start -- all nine of them in the first half. 

"We as a coaching staff said 'Remember Las Vegas,'" McKillon explained. 

They kept Curry in the lineup and he ended with a double-double. That was the beginning of Curry's confidence, both in himself and in the staff.

[RELATED: Curry stops by alma mater, celebrates with students]

What do you expect from a competitor who is told "no?" 

The series showed a clip of when Steph began to bloom into the player we now know and he was right back where it all started, sporting a Davidson uniform over his black sweatshirt singing "Sweet Caroline," and cheering on the team as a fan.

It all came full circle. From the time he was swimming in a red Davidson uniform, to holding his son, Canon, after the Warriors swept the Trail Blazers to head to the NBA Finals.

He was still the same guy, just with a little more facial hair.

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