Monday, March 24, 2008

World, meet Davidson

By Will Bryan '08

Davidson is a college, not a university, located in North Carolina right outside of Charlotte. This school is home to 1,700 students with academic profiles comparable to the Ivy League schools of the north. Davidson students earn liberal arts degrees where they study music, history, english, Classics, math and science to cultivate a well-rounded academic experience. There is no such thing as a business, journalism, marketing or accounting major at Davidson. All of the athletes are held to the same academic standards as everyone else at Davidson and the basketball team is not given special tutors or study sessions to give them any edge.

Davidson takes pride in its basketball program. Davidson students own the national mark for highest percentage of a student body that attends basketball games throughout a season. The Davidson community has embraced the basketball program often with memories of the Elite 8 runs of Lefty Driesell when he coached Davidson in the 1960's.

Davidson's "song," Sweet Caroline, was started last year by a marketing assistant who knew how much students like to sing along at campus parties. After playing it during a conference home game, the crowd continued the chorus a cappella during an opponent's free throw and he missed. The song has been a staple of Davidson games ever since.

Davidson's Stephen Curry continues to be one of the best players in the country that people don't know that much about. He is the son of former NBA star Dell Curry and his name is pronounced Steff-in...not Steve-in or Steph-awwnn. He chose Davidson after being passed over from ACC schools for being too small. He has subsequently grown into the nation's leader in three-pointers and a second-team All-American. Curry will not be leaving Davidson this spring for the NBA. And it's not because he wouldn't be that high of a draft pick. If Davidson won the national championship, Curry would still stay.

Davidson point guard Jason Richards was a preseason nominee for the Bob Cousy Award for the best point guard in the country. He did not make it as a finalist in one of the worst errors by an awarding body in college basketball this season. Richards leads the nation in assists this season after finishing second last year, and has been the team leader on and off the court for the Sweet 16-bound Wildcats. Jason is not the son of Richard, so please stop calling him Jason Richardson. He plays for the Bobcats down the road.

Davidson scheduled one of the nation's toughest out-of-conference schedules as they took on UCLA, North Carolina and Duke. After dropping those games by an average of seven points, the Wildcats went on to lose games against WMU, Charlotte and N.C. State. Davidson was written off a small-time program trying to bite off more than they could chew. The national public saw six losses and thought the scheduling move was a failure because Davidson played itself out of the at-large picture. But the Wildcats haven't lost since their 1-point falter at N.C. State. They gained the confidence to play against Kevin Love and Tyler Hansbrough. Against Gonzaga's Heytfelt and Georgetown's Hibbert, they showed no fear. Those games directly link to Davidson's success in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

So that's us. That's Davidson. We've had to tell our story over and over again to the next big-time program that's come in front of us. But we kind of like it when everyone writes us off. We like it when the Southern Conference gets so sick and tired of us winning all the time. We like it when people taunt Stephen Curry by saying he's too young or Jason Richards by saying he's too slow. We like our odds from our 6-7ish frontline against your 7-0 frontline. We like it when you know you are going to beat us. We like that you have no idea what we are made of. We have the types of souls that don't quit when down 17 to a team from last year's Final Four. We always believe. Heck, we are David. Just give us a few more rocks for that slingshot, we have a few more giants to kill.


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