- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 23, 2008

RALEIGH, N.C. — Legend has it that William “Billy the Kid” Bonney earned his nickname for his deceptively youthful appearance.

“Yeah, I think I’ve heard that,” said Davidson guard Stephen Curry, who doesn’t own a razor but is the deadliest sharpshooter in the Midwest Region of the NCAA tournament, in which his 10th-seeded Wildcats (27-6) will face second-seeded Georgetown (28-5) today for the right to advance to the Sweet 16. “I do enjoy it when I hear people say that I don’t look like much.”

Liberally listed at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, the wispy sophomore wouldn’t make anyone’s all-airport team. He is college basketball’s anti-Joey Dorsey, all game and no frame. But perhaps Curry was weighed while holding two season’s worth of Southern Conference hardware.

The fact is there isn’t a major conference coach in the country, much less one in the ACC-crazed region around his native Charlotte, N.C., who won’t admit his staff didn’t whiff on Curry.

“Yep, we all missed out on Stephen [pronounced Stef-en],” North Carolina’s Roy Williams said. “Here’s a kid right under all our noses who can shoot it silly, and he doesn’t get a single ACC offer.”

Curry did get one half-hearted offer from Virginia Tech, the alma mater of his famous father, Wardell Stephen Curry. The Hokies’ Seth Greenberg didn’t have a scholarship available for the 5-11 senior from Charlotte Christian two years ago.

But he offered Curry the option to walk on last season and sit behind seniors Zabian Dowdell and Jamon Gordon before taking one of their scholarship slots this season.

“Steph always talked about wanting to go to Virginia Tech, but he just didn’t feel like they really wanted him,” said Dell Curry, the longtime NBA 3-point specialist who now works for the Charlotte Bobcats. “I think he still has a chip on his shoulder from all the schools that said he was too small.”

Curry stood 6-1 by the time he reported to Davidson to play for coach Bob McKillop.

He then scored 32 points in his second college game against Michigan, put up 30 in Davidson’s season-ending loss to Maryland in the first round of the NCAA tournament and finished just behind Kevin Durant among freshman scorers while setting an NCAA freshman record for 3-pointers (122).

Adding two more inches and considerably more defensive attention this season, he finished fifth in the nation in scoring (25.5 points) while leading the Wildcats to a 23-0 record in the Southern Conference, including the tournament, and an active NCAA-best 23-game winning streak.

“He has a sense of poise that is unparalleled I think for a 20-year-old,” McKillop said. “He has a great basketball IQ. And he’s physically gifted. He has an ability to change speeds very, very quickly. He has great feet.”

And one of the quickest and most sublime shooting strokes the college game has seen in some time.

In Davidson’s first-round victory over Gonzaga, Curry dropped 40 points on a defense designed to contain him.

The Bulldogs tried a matchup zone, man-to-man, triangle-and-two and even a box-and-one against Curry, all to no avail as he connected on eight of 10 3-point attempts to lead the Wildcats to an 82-76 comeback victory.

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