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Stephen Curry Almost Joined The Duke Blue Devils During His Time At Davidson University: “F**k 'Em. I'm Staying At Davidson.’”

Stephen Curry Almost Joined The Duke Blue Devils During His Time At Davidson University: “F**k 'Em. I'm Staying At Davidson.’”

Stephen Curry is one of the best point guards in the history of the NBA. His career is legendary to look back on, but it didn't always start out like that. Curry was a relatively unheralded prospect when he was searching for colleges to go play at. Davidson University (where Curry recently got his jersey retired) gave Curry a chance, and he soon started dominating in NCAA Division 1 Basketball.

Before Curry got a guaranteed scholarship spot at Davidson, he was eyeing playing for the Duke Blue Devils in the state he called home (North Carolina). Duke usually goes overboard in terms of stacking their roster with 5-star recruits, so it is always a challenge to get a spot there.

Curry was offered to join the squad as a walk-on as all the spots on the team had been filled by the time. However, Curry took a chance on himself and said no to the opportunity to be a walk-on at Duke to be a scholarship athlete at Davidson. Dell Curry discussed this story on The Rex Chapman Show. 

"When Steph was in high school, he was going into his senior year and he wanted to go to an ACC school — he wanted to go to Duke," Chapman said, and Dell agreed. "And I knew Johnny Dawkins a little better than you did at the time, because I was with [agent] David Falk and Johnny was also with David Falk. I remember you said, 'Steph would like to go there!' Johnny and Coach K won't like that I'm telling this, but so what... I called Johnny one day and I said, 'Look, Dell's son, Stephen, he's [good]...' And he said, 'Yeah, yeah, I know. Let me get back with you.' 

"This was just to be a walk-on. This was just to be a walk-on! He got back with me the next day and he said, 'We're full up this year, maybe next year though.' So, Stephen signed with Davidson."(h/t Basketball News)

Curry made a fantastic decision, averaging 21.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.8 steals while shooting 46.3% from the field, 40.8% from three, and 85.5% from the free-throw line. His performances got Duke to show interest once again, but Curry held all the power in the situation now. 

"Well, Stephen blows up, of course. At the end of that year, everybody in the country wanted Stephen," Chapman said. "They saw that he was at Davidson and thought, 'No way he stays at Davidson.' And when I say everybody, I mean everybody — Kentucky, Tennessee, Duke, everyone wanted Stephen to come. And I had people calling me [asking], 'Can you put me in touch with Dell?'

"I called you and I said, 'Hey, there are two or three schools that are really interested in having Stephen.' And you said, 'Let me get back with you.' A day went by... You called me and you said, 'He told me, 'Dad, if they didn't want me then, I don't want them now. F*** 'em. I'm staying at Davidson.' I got goosebumps, and I almost started to cry! That's exactly the answer I hoped I would get!"

Declining all those top schools is a big risk for many players, as sometimes exposure at that level is enough to boost your credibility and draft stock. NBA scouts would feel more comfortable drafting someone from Duke or Kentucky than someone from Davidson. However, Curry's talent was so elite that nobody could ignore him even though he was in a small school.

Dell Curry elaborated on why Steph chose Davidson, and their coach Bob McKillop was a massive factor. Coach McKillop earned Steph's trust by telling him that he would recruit Steph just as the player he is, whereas other schools always looked for more flash or focused on what Steph couldn't do as compared to what he could do.

The academic focus at Davidson was another reason, but pettiness drove him the most. Steph wanted to be on a team that would be scheduled to play against the big teams in Carolina like Duke, UNC, and NC State to prove to them what they missed on. He did precisely that and recently had his jersey retired by Davidson University after he finally graduated.