Stephen Curry can’t help but smile when asked about the NCAA Tournament.
It was five years ago when Curry burst onto the national scene, leading No. 10-seeded Davidson on a magical run to the Elite Eight where it fell to eventual national-champion Kansas.
“We didn’t beat Kansas to make the Final Four, but the run we had was pretty special,” Curry said. “It’s hard to believe it was five years ago.”
After getting bounced from the field as a No. 13 seed in Curry’s freshman year, Davidson returned in 2008 on a 22-game winning streak. Curry scored 40 points as the Wildcats opened with an 82-76 win against a Gonzaga team that featured three future NBA players -- Robert Sacre, Jeremy Pargo and Austin Daye.
A 74-70 win to knock out Roy Hibbert and No. 2-seeded Georgetown followed behind 30 points from Curry in the second round. In the Sweet 16, he became the fourth player in NCAA Tournament history to score 30-plus in their first four tournament games when he went for 33 against Wisconsin. The Badgers featured Marcus Landry, the brother of Warriors teammate Carl Landry.
“Every game we played was something I’ll remember forever,” Curry said. “I keep in touch with all my teammates and all that stuff and relive those moments a lot.”
Despite eventually losing 59-57 to the Jayhawks and Warriors teammate Brandon Rush, Curry became the first player to win Most Outstanding Player of his regional and not advance to the Final Four since Juwan Howard for Michigan in 1994.
Curry is one of several Warriors with a lengthy NCAA Tournament resume.
Of the 12 players on the roster who played college ball, only Klay Thompson (Washington State) never participated in March Madness. The other 11 won at least one tournament game and only Landry (Purdue) didn’t make multiple trips to the dance.
Rush was the only player to win it all, but Jarrett Jack (Georgia Tech, 2004), Richard Jefferson (Arizona, 2001) and Draymond Green (Michigan State, 2010) all had runner-up finishes. When the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, Warriors coach Mark Jackson helped lead St. John’s to the Final Four, where it lost to eventual runner-up Georgetown.
Green, who registered triple-doubles in Michigan State’s openers in 2011 and 2012, ranks tops on the Warriors in appearances (4) and wins (11). He’s also the only player who made multiple trips to the Final Four (2009, 2010).
Curry’s 31.6 ppg average in five games was far-and-away the highest, but Harrison Barnes (17.5 ppg) scored in double figures all eight of his career games, while leading North Carolina to back-to-back Elite Eights in 2011 and 2012.
Like Green, David Lee (Florida) went to the tournament four times, but his luck wasn’t as good. The Gators lost to a lower seed each season, including two opening-round losses as a No. 5 seed to Manhattan (2004) and Creighton (2002). Lee’s only wins came against No. 15-seeded Sam Houston State (2003) and No. 13-seeded Ohio (2005).
Festus Ezeli (Vanderbilt) can relate to Lee’s NCAA struggles. The No. 4-seeded Commodores lost at buzzer to No. 13-seeded Murray State in San Jose in 2010, then to No. 12-seeded Richmond as a No. 5 the following year.
Kent Bazemore scored four points as No. 11-seeded Old Dominion upset No. 6 Notre Dame in 2010, but the Monarchs lost the following round to a Baylor team that featured former Warrior Ekpe Udoh. When Old Dominion returned to the field the following year as nine-seed, it was Butler’s first victim as the Bulldogs returned to their second straight championship game.
Golden State’s roster includes a combined 37 years of NCAA experience and 30 of those teams made the NCAA Tournament. In 75 total games, those team compiled a 48-27 tournament record, including 10 upset wins and 14 upset losses.
Barnes, Curry, Green, Jefferson, Lee and Rush’s schools are all a part of this year’s field ranging from a No. 1 seed (Kansas) to a No. 14 (Davidson). Curry said he still follows Davidson religiously and also has an additional rooting interest with his brother, Seth, playing for Duke.
“This a big month for me as a basketball fan to watch my brother play and chase the Final Four and for Davidson to make some noise in the tournament as well,” he said