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OAKLAND — Because he coached Stephen Curry in college, Bob McKillop knows just how much the Warriors guard has grown up over the years.
But the thing he most admires about Curry’s game remains unchanged.
“The joy that is inside of his heart shows up every time he’s on the court,” McKillop said after visiting Curry before Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
“That’s why he captivates not just the nation. He captivates the world.”
A player’s makeup means plenty to McKillop, who was recently announced with TV analysts Bill Raftery and Doris Burke as winners of the 2017 Lapchick Character Award.
McKillop is 533-328 as Davidson’s coach over the past 28 seasons. He ranks sixth among active NCAA men’s basketball coaches for longest stint at his current school.
With Curry leading the way, Davidson reached the NCAA tournament Midwest Regional Championship game in 2008. Along the way, the Wildcats beat Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin.
Curry and McKillop remain close, and the coach has been to at least one Finals game in each of the past three seasons. Back home, McKillop said he holds up Curry as an example to his current players all the time.
“He’s a model of excellence for any coach,” he said. “He’s got glamorous statistics in areas that coaches love — deflections, loose-ball recoveries, screens set, fouls drawn, layups made.”
Oh, and smiles widened.
“He’s so endearing,” McKillop said. “And it’s not just a look. It’s the way he lives his life.”