Sunday, May 03, 2009

Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: Currys hold no ill will toward Tech

RADFORD -- They might be the only ones here who don't wonder about it anymore, who don't regret it, who don't wish it could have turned out differently.

Twenty minutes. That's how long it would have taken for Stephen and Seth Curry to get from here, the gym at Radford High School, to Blacksburg, where their father, Dell, starred at Virginia Tech.

But that short trip might as well be 1,000 miles. As Hokies fans well know, the two basketball stars weren't offered scholarships to Tech out of high school. They blossomed elsewhere, despite deep area roots that brought them back to the New River Valley on Saturday.

It seems like such a sad tale, such a missed opportunity.

Unless you ask the players themselves.

"It's been talked about a lot, but I think everything happens for a reason," said Stephen, in town to support fund-raising efforts for the Dana Palmer Scholarship. "Maybe we wouldn't be the players we are now if we'd been at Virginia Tech, in their system. It's a different situation. You've just got to take the opportunities that you have.

"I know people are going to be mad just because of what we've done so far, but you can't really tell what would have happened if we'd been at Virginia Tech."

All Stephen Curry has done is mold himself into a projected NBA lottery pick. The NCAA scoring leader at Davidson last season -- and the unforgettable story of the 2008 NCAA tournament -- announced two weeks ago that he would forgo his senior year and follow his father into the NBA. predicts the sweet-shooting guard will be selected among the top-10 picks in the draft.

Meanwhile, Seth Curry also has enjoyed a busy offseason. After leading the nation's freshmen in scoring last season at Liberty, he announced he's transferring to Duke. He'll be eligible to play for the Blue Devils as a third-year sophomore in 2010-11.

You can't say the Hokies didn't try this time, though. Curry said he spoke to Tech coach Seth Greenberg several times while weighing his transfer options but ultimately couldn't pass on the chance to play for Duke.

"He tried to recruit me pretty hard," Seth Curry said. "It just didn't work out this time, either. I definitely considered it. It wasn't like I was not considering it just because they didn't recruit me and Stephen the first time."

What happened the "first time" has been debated endlessly on message boards and in the press. Even the Wall Street Journal chimed in with a recent piece about the snub the Curry boys got from their father's alma mater coming out of high school.

But Seth Curry understands that it would have been hard to project all the brothers have accomplished since high school.

"Yeah, definitely," he said. "We didn't get on the AAU circuit too much. We were kind of undersized a little bit. I mean, I understand it. No hard feelings."

The Currys remain a strong part of the New River Valley community. Dell, who competed in Saturday's celebrity basketball game, has returned every year to support the scholarship in honor of Palmer, a beloved former Bobcats football player and Montgomery County Sheriff's deputy who died of cancer at age 31 in 2001. Dell's wife, Sonya Adams Curry, was a star basketball and volleyball player at Radford High who played volleyball at Virginia Tech.

Seeing them all together here Saturday -- Seth and Stephen watched the game in the stands with their mother -- it was easy to picture them 20 minutes down the road at Cassell Coliseum, carrying on a Curry tradition. But there's no bitterness among the boys.

"Not at all," Stephen Curry said. "There was for about a couple days after I figured out I wasn't going to go there. Since then, I've been fine with my decision to go to Davidson, and I know Seth's the same way with Liberty and now Duke. We'll just take what we have in front of us."

There's plenty there. Seth, who finished school at Liberty on Friday, will leave for Colorado next month to try out for the under-19 national team. Stephen will head to Chicago for intense training before the draft.

There is no sad tale here. Just one whale of a success story.

Actually, make that two.

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