Why Sports Need More Stories Like That of Davidson

Paul McGuillicuddyAnalyst IMarch 29, 2008

Call it improbable. Call it Cinderella-like. Call it over when they play #1 seed Kansas tomorrow. The NCAA tournament and sports in general need more stories like that of the Davidson Wildcats.

In an era where on-court posturing and post-dunk celebrations have risen above the primary focus of the game: to win, Davidson’s approach is refreshing.

Rather than looking like a collection of athletically-gifted individuals who feel entitled their time in the spotlight, the Wildcats possess an unassuming air as they methodically make their way through Midwest Regional.

So energizing is the Davidson game plan that CBS has chosen to illustrate the intricacies of the Wildcat half-court sets and the efforts to stymie them as those by Michael Flowers and the Wisconsin Badgers.

Instead of displaying feats of athletic prowess CBS was forced to outline the number of screens set for Stephen Curry by his Wildcat teammates.

Subsequently, CBS introduced to viewers the ‘deny’ statistic graphic.

While Flowers attempted to slow down the Wildcat sophomore, CBS kept track of the actual number of passes the Badger defender prevented Curry from receiving.

It was an invitation to appreciate the artistry of basketball.

All too frequently viewers are led to believe that the game consists only of points scored, assists, and rebounds, while missing the efforts to set screens, come off screens, and defend screens.

In the end Flowers would earn player-of-the game honors for the Badgers – not so much for his 12 points but for his tireless efforts to keep up with Curry.

Curry, of course, also garnered player-of-the-game honors.

On the surface Curry dropped 33 points, on six-for-eleven shooting from behind the arc. To stop one’s assessment of his labors there would do a disservice to the gangly-looking sophomore.

Curry shows the innate ability to let the game come to him - something that cannot be measured.

He is a shooter in the truest sense of the word. While other players can make shots, defenses must adjust to Curry or expect the consequences.

The son of former NBA great, Del Curry, displayed a variety of shots: curl off a screen, flair off a screen, dribble and step back, the pull-up jumper, drive in traffic and finish the layup, and the change of speed in transition for a reverse layup.

But Curry is more than a scorer. He is a teammate whose contribution to the common good is his ability to score.

Curry also quietly plucked three rebounds, made four steals, and handed out four assists including one where he threaded the needle and led a teammate into the open for a layup.

Not wanting to draw attention to himself Curry limited his reaction to all of his exploits to a mere smile, an occasional fist pump, or a pointing to the heavens.

Curry and teammates have shown that “the whole can equal more than the sum of the parts.” When a group comes together and commits to a goal, nothing else can seem to matter.

While so many other athletes continue to draw attention to themselves through frivolous antics, the Davidson Wildcats have shown that a team can still draw attention to itself by playing a game to the best of their ability.