Family ties: Curry's summer routine paying off for Duke
He’ll play in the arena where his father regularly works against the team that his older brother elevated to a basket shy of the Final Four.
Yet Seth Curry clearly is filling his own spotlight in a Duke uniform.
Heading into Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena with the No. 1 Blue Devils to play Davidson tonight (7 p.m., ESPN2), Curry is the reigning ACC player of the week who now is one of Duke’s captains.
Like his father, Dell, the Charlotte Bobcats television analyst who played 17 NBA seasons, and brother, Stephen, now with the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, Seth Curry is adept at perimeter shooting.
Now a fifth-year senior with Duke, he has grown into a more complete player who is one of the ACC’s best.
That was the plan this past summer when Seth lived with Stephen Curry at his suburban Charlotte home so they could work out together. Seth Curry admitted getting worn down late last season, so strength and conditioning became a major focus of their joint workouts.
“The workout we were doing was high intensity non-stop action,” said Stephen Curry, a Davidson All-American guard before the Warriors made him a first-round pick. “Trying to work out without stopping. That helps on condition and mental toughness. With the minutes he was going to have to play, he needed that.”
Seth Curry, the ACC’s third-best scorer at 17.1 points per game this season, said his summer work with his NBA brother was a big help.
“Just being able to push each other is a great benefit,” Seth said. “We talk basketball all the time. It’s great to be able to learn from that.”
With Stephen Curry recovering from an ankle injury over the summer, the brothers weren’t able to play any 1-on-1.
“I was disappointed,” Seth Curry said, admitting that beating his older brother isn’t something that happens regularly.
Still, Seth Curry is playing his best stretch of basketball as a collegian this season. He scored 31 points in Saturday’s 90-77 win over Santa Clara to establish his Duke career best.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski called his play “spectacular.”
Seth Curry’s improved strength is allowing him to score in more ways. In addition to his prolific 3-point shooting, Curry regularly is getting points in the lane.
“Scoring in the paint has made me a lot better,” Seth Curry said. “I can shoot the ball. If you can do that, it makes you hard to guard because you can add another element. I think I’m handling the ball better off the dribble.”
Curry has made 50 percent of his shots overall, including 41.9 percent of his 3-point attempts.
Stephen Curry watches as many Duke games as he can either on television or online. Tonight, when the Warriors are prepping for their 10:30 p.m. game with the Los Angeles Clippers, Stephen Curry will steal some looks at his brother’s game against his alma mater on his iPad.
He enjoys watching his little brother, who started his career at Liberty before transferring in 2009, make Duke one of the teams in the running for a national championship this season.
“Now it’s his shot,” Stephen Curry said. “He’s a threat being able to shoot it like he can.”
Still, things aren’t easy for Seth. He’s dealing with a lower leg condition that popped up in the offseason and got worse when practice began. He and Duke’s training staff are managing it to allow him to play all season.
“Coach (Krzyzewski) has done a good job of allowing me to rest and letting the guys understand my situation,” Seth Curry said. “The guys on the team could see me not practicing 90 percent of the time and be upset about it. Coach has done a good job of handling it. I’m figuring out a routine to let me be at my best in games.”
Curry said he probably will shut things down for a couple of months once the season ends. But for now, the situation is going well.
“It’s actually gotten a little bit better,” Curry said. “We figured it would be worse throughout the season or at best stay the same. But (with) doing some of the treatment things, it’s actually gotten better.”
With ACC play approaching this weekend, Krzyzewski decided it was time to elevate Curry’s status in the Blue Devils' locker room.
On Tuesday, Krzyzewski announced that Curry was named one of the team’s captains. He joins seniors Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly, who were named captains in the preseason.
“Our three seniors have really been the leaders of our team,” Krzyzewski said. “From the spring, Ryan and Mason were named co-captains, but Seth has been one of the leaders since then.
"It seems only natural that all three of them should be tri-captains. It is an honor, and we are really happy to make it official.”
Seth Curry appreciates the validation.
“It’s a great honor,” he said. “I’ve been trying to lead all year and do my part to help the captains. It’s great to have a label next to my name as a captain and join with the seniors.”
The captaincy and his status with the top-ranked Blue Devils are examples of how the already confident Seth Curry has elevated his competitive nature.
“Being who I am with my family, I kind of have a target on my back no matter where I’m at,” Seth Curry said. “Coming here, it’s magnified even more. That Duke name puts a target on your back more.
"Having that competitive mentality to not have a bad day no matter who we are playing is the biggest thing I’ve learned.”