Davidson won't make graduation exception to honor Steph Curry

ByC.L. Brown ESPN logo
Friday, December 4, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Davidsondoes not make exceptions to its rules for honoring former athletes. Not even for favorite son Stephen Curry.

The school retires onlythe jerseys of players who graduated. And Curry, the most recognized and accomplished player in school history, has not completed his degree requirements after going to the NBA a year early in 2009.

So arguably the new face of the league, whose profile only increased after leading the Golden State Warriors to the 2015 NBA title, will not be formally recognized on his former campus until he finishes his courses.

"I knew what I signed up for when I went to Davidson," Curry said. "I made a promise to coach [Bob] McKillop and my family that when I left school back in '09 that that would be accomplished -- and it will be soon. Hopefully sooner than later."

McKillop called Curry "the biggest catalyst for Davidson basketball that Davidson College has ever had." Despite Curry's popularity, Davidson athletic director Jim Murphy said there hasn't been any movement to make an exception and allow him the recognition.

"It's one of those things where, I'm not even sure who would make that decision to be honest with you, just because it's never come up before," Murphy said. "I assume it would be the board of trustees."

Murphy said a similar debate has happened in the past at Davidson surrounding a Hall of Fame candidacy. Mike Maloy, another former basketball standout, left school a year early in 1970 to play in the ABA. Entrance into the school's Hall of Fame also requires the inductee have graduated. Maloy, who still holds the school record for rebounding, has not been inducted.

"There has not been an exemption for it, to my understanding, for anyone," said Murphy, a 1978 Davidson graduate who has served his current role since 1995. "The policy itself speaks a lot to what Davidson is all about. It'd be an interesting discussion, but it hasn't been started yet."

Myriad obstacles have hindered Curry's process. Davidson does not offer classes in the summer, when it might have been easier for him to take his remaining courses.

That was before the Warriors were making deep playoff runs. Now it's virtually impossible for him to undertake another major time constraint during the summer.

Regardless of how far Golden State goes in the playoffs this season, he'll spend the rest of the summer at Team USA training camp as it prepares for a run at a gold medal in the Rio Summer Olympics.

"It's still a priority for sure; obviously there's a lot going on right now," Curry said. "Taking advantage of my career right now on the court in the NBA, it's only a very short window, so you want to give all the attention and effort. But to be able to finish out that part of my life, whenever it does happen, will be huge."

Curry said he's short just a couple of classes and he's "researched a plan of attack of how to get it done."

Until then, Curry's jersey will continue to be seen in Davidson's Belk Arena only by fans who wear replicas. And in the Davidson locker room, where the team keeps a "Steph Curry locker" open, complete with his old Wildcats jersey hanging up.

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