Nowadays, Stephen Curry is one of the best players in the NBA, widely regarded as the best shooter of all time and a global icon. But way before Curry became a unique phenomenon, revolutionizing how the game is played with this deep-shot-making ability, his roots at Davidson University showed signs of potential greatness. Before becoming an NBA superstar, Steph was already a rockstar in the NCAA world. So much, so opposing coaches came up with tactics never seen before in order to stop him.
Back in 2008, Stephen Curry was the face of college basketball, taking Davidson University to the Elite 8 in his sophomore season, averaging 30+ points during March Madness. To the surprise of many, Curry would decide to stay at college for his junior year and build his game even more. This meant trouble for the opposition.
Curry was the best point guard in the nation, averaging 29 & 6 and leading his team to another great season. Teams and coaches were struggling to figure out how to stop this guy, which led to one of the weirdest strategies and games you will ever see.
The full-game double team failed experiment
Davidson was the heavy favorite in an early season, November matchup with a pretty weaker opponent in Loyola Maryland. Davidson would take care of the job, winning in convincing fashing 78-48. Pretty standard stuff. Nothing that would really catch the attention of fans and the media. Expect Stephen Curry finished the game with 0 points. The most prolific scorer in the whole NCAA was held scoreless, and his team still won by 30. What happened? The answer will shock you.
The game made waves in the headlines the next day and remained relevant for many years, as fans often bring up that game. Apparently, Loyola Maryland double-teamed Curry for the whole game, making him stand in the corner while his team played 4 on 3. It sounds pretty ridiculous, and you could be convinced it is just a made-up story considering there was no footage to back it up. At least not up to a few months ago.
A YouTube channel by the name of hoopsvision68 made an effort to contact the coaching staff of Davidson and find the archive footage of the game, giving us a broad perspective on this story. This truly proved that this was one of the weirdest basketball games in history.
Bad execution or wrong strategy?
Double-teams are something we often see in basketball, especially with the biggest stars in the NBA. Stephen Curry is one of those players, as his shooting ability sometimes purely demands two players checking him. But there is a difference in face guarding a guy while the rest of the team assembles in a Box-In-One, and blindly checking a guy with two players, leaving the rest of your defense in a constant handicap.
Two Loyola players were simply tasked with watching Curry and only him, completely ignoring what was happening on the other side of the court. No matter if Curry was in the corner, his own half or out of bounds. Curry simply accepted that he would sit in the corner the whole game without being involved, while his teammates had open shots for the entire game.
Davidson would take advantage of the situation, and feast on the open shots, hitting 14 three-pointers on 52%. After all, guarding 3 versus 4 is an extremely challenging task. Everyone was puzzled by the decision of Loyolya’s head coach Jimmy Patsos to implement this strategy and stick with it through the end, despite it not working.
In the end, Curry would finish the game with 0 points (0-3 FG), 3 rebounds, and 3 assists, but in a 30-point win. So what was the point? Who knows, but it was evident Curry showed some maturity at that age, letting his team do the work and outsmarting Loyola’s mind games. That is why he went on the be the 7th pick and become one of the best players in the history of the NBA.