Seth Curry to Duke

Posted by nvr1983 on March 29th, 2009

When we mentioned that Liberty freshman star Seth Curry was transferring we listed our choices for his potential destination. We thought that Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina State made the most sense if he wanted to stay close to home and in the ACC like his coach suggested he wanted to do.



It turns out that we were wrong. ESPN just reported that Seth Curry has decided to go to Duke. We thought that they had too many stars and that he would want to avoid a program like Duke or UNC that would be loaded with talent. Seth must have watched the Villanova massacre and decided that he could help out Coach K more than we originially expected. Could this transfer be the thing that turns Duke back into the Duke of 1991-2002? With John Wall reportedly visting Durham this week, we may soon have our answer.

Update: Apparently, Duke did such a great job hosting Seth that he didn’t even bother checking out many of the other schools on his list.

nvr1983 (1397 Posts)

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16 responses to “Seth Curry to Duke”

  1. Josh says:

    I’m not sure if the transfer can turn duke back singlehandedly, but its a major boost to the team and ensures that if John Wall was to come to duke (A LONG SHOT), then his leaving after one-year would be mitigated by Curry’s arrival.

    (And yes, I’m sure that Seth’s decision was helped by the Nova game and duke’s need of guards).

  2. nvr1983 says:

    Any thoughts about going back to Duke for a graduate degree now?

    I agree that if this is all Coach K does it won’t turn the program around, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. At the very least, it should reinvigorate Duke fans and the people around the program, who as you are well aware, were probably quite depressed after what happened in Boston on Thursday night.

  3. rtmsf says:

    Frankly, I don’t think Seth Curry will help the program all that much. Best case – he’s another JJ and that’ll get you to the Sweet 16.

    What Duke needs are some more Luol Dengs, Jason Williams, Shane Battiers, Elton Brands. Whether they’re 1-and-done, K needs to get over that fact. If Duke manages to get John Wall, then we’re talking. But another shooting guard who can’t carry a team all the way to the final weekend – not sure how that’s different than now.

  4. Tyler says:

    I don’t think the reaction to this (or, at least, I don’t think it should be) is going to be that Seth Curry is coming in to be the savior/leader in 2010-11 (and beyond) once he’s eligible. I think the thinking should be that Curry, along with Josh Hairston (5 star PF according to Rivals), Andre Dawkins (4 star SG), and Tyler Thornton (4 star PG) will make for a good group entering the program that year (and with Duke still in the running on a few other top 25 recruits, it could be an even better group). In theory, that team will have Elliot Williams, Ryan Kelly, Mason and Miles Plumlee, Nolan Smith, and possibly Singler (depending on how long he decides to stay, although I’m not holding my breath that he’ll be there two more years) as well.

  5. David says:

    Unless Seth Curry becomes a big man in the next couple years, Duke will not be “Duke”. The Blue Devils have never lacked perimeter talent, but there hasn’t been a bona fide post player in Durham since Shelden Williams.

  6. Josh says:

    nvr i didn’t apply….i’m going to law school in one of two places that doesnt have D1 sports, so not happening there.

    @rtmsf, that’s a false statement there. Duke’s championship teams have always had a mix of stars in different positions. The 01 team had a big three of Battier, Williams, and Dunleavy. Several other role players were key contributors in areas such as inside (Nate James for half the season while Boozer was out, and Boozer for the rest of the season) and outside.

    The point is that the current duke team was weak this year since it had a big 3 and no 4th scoring option. In 2010-2011, Wall will be irrelevant (Wall will be in the NBA by then). The point is for Duke in 2010-2011 to say…replace a Scheyer with Seth Curry perhaps (should be an improvement, but depends on D), replace Singler with one of Ryan Kelly, Josh Hairston, Mason or Miles Plumlee, and replace Henderson with one of Harrison Barnes, Andre Dawkins, etc.

    That’s seemingly the worst case scenario. But in reality, it’s hard to see that many of these extra pieces going bad…more likely that multiple of each position play a role, maybe both Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee help inside (and outside), Seth Curry and Dawkins help out shooting from outside and driving a little, Elliot Williams and Harrison Barnes driving and slashing, and Nolan Smith and Tyler Thornton playing the point. I doubt that all of these positions will be as deep as I just outlined, but saying that a shooter who’s a proven great talent won’t help duke at all because at best he’s another JJ, is just ridiculous.

    And of course this is ignoring how well certain players might develop like Miles Plumlee, or god forbid Olek Czyz (Who knows, i could be crazy). And the above is assuming Kyle Singler leaves after next year…but who knows, if he stays then there’s even more pieces there. To say we need more 1 and done playres…when 3 of those players weren’t 1 and done (Battier was all 4 years, Brand 2 years, Jay Will graduated in 3, and the fourth, Deng, only left cuz he needed the money) is just stupid. To say they need more of those same superstar type of players is just like saying “Oh Duke needs superstar talent at every position to get better…kind of silly”

    On its own, Seth Curry wouldn’t be enough I’d think, but in addition its a nice boost that could help the other pieces in turning Duke’s fortunes around.

  7. mike says:

    Regardless of how good the kid might be, I hope he got called for that carry in the picture? Just saying

  8. rtmsf says:

    Josh, I’m still trying to figure out what my “false statement” was. I’ve been watching Duke basketball very closely for a long time, and there’s absolutely one thing that is true. Duke will always get a high seed in the NCAA Tourney due to their homecourt advantage and Coach K’s ability to get the most from his players regardless of talent level (notable exceptions are about once a decade). The difference between Duke with a high seed in years like the last five and Duke as a high seed in years like from 86-94 and 98-04 comes down to one thing. TALENT. More specifically, high-level NBA talent.

    Seriously, you’re going to go Nate James on me? Might as well bring out Chris Carrawell and Alaa Abdelnaby while you’re at it. Those guys are fine players, but they’re not the kinds of players that go to F4s and win titles for Coach K. Now let me quote myself: “What Duke needs are some more Luol Dengs, Jason Williams, Shane Battiers, Elton Brands. Whether they’re 1-and-done, K needs to get over that fact.” I didn’t say any of those players WERE 1-and-dones. What I said is that he needs players who COULD be 1-and-dones. Players with the NBA-level talent to be 1-and-dones – like all of the above players, every one of whom could have been a lottery pick after his freshman year. You completely misinterpreted that statement.

    Seth Curry is a fine player, and to say he could turn into another JJ Redick is probably overshooting his talent level somewhat. I was being generous there. My point remains that with JJ as the leader and their primary scoring option of the Blue Devils, Duke was never a serious F4 threat. You may disagree with that, but it was plain to see in both 2005 and 2006, just as it was the last three years with some of the other lead players on that team. There simply isn’t enough legit NBA talent on that roster, and Coach K only goes deep into March when he has those players.

    The only way that Coach K gets out of this problem is if he recruits more players like John Wall. Some will leave after one year, but some won’t. Look at Brandon Rush as an example of a player who could have gone earlier but didn’t – they stuck around and won national titles. K was doing this when he was really rolling – the BBBA class of 1997, Maggette in 1998, the J-Will/Dunleavy/Boozer class of 1999, Duhon in 2000, the Luol Deng/She-Will/JJ class of 2003, even Shaun Livingston in 2004. I don’t presume to know how legit some of the players you named will turn out to be, but I can assure you of one thing. If you’re depending on players like Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and their ilk to get Duke back to F4s anytime soon, you’re going to be severely disappointed, as you have been for the last five years now (since Duke’s last true instantly NBA-ready stud left campus).

    So… UChicago and where?

  9. Josh says:

    You count Duhon in 2000? And Boozer went in the 2nd round and didn’t play close to that.

    What your false statement is is that you’re saying that Duke NEEDS NBA-type players from the start to be a championship team. Sure it helps to have those guys. But you dont know WHO those guys are, outside maybe 5-10 players who are being recruited per year as one and dones (for the record, when Singler was recruited he was thought to be one of these players). You don’t KNOW who these guys are.

    Mind you, i can’t find recruiting rankings for Below 2002, but lets say Shelden Williams was ranked outside of the top 10 of his class by the scouts. Josh Mcroberts was ranked #2 overall (and best PF) in his class. Yeah, you love to get the top guys up there….but you DONT know which guys will mature from these recruits and which won’t. Granted, the coaches should try and figure that out before they recruit people, which I think most coaches do…but saying oh, Duke won’t be good till it recruits NBA level talent is silly when you can’t tell which recruits except for those at the absolute top are going to be NBA level talent. And even some of those (Mcroberts much?) are busts.

    (And incidentally, Curry’s 20ppg was similar to his brother’s, and if he matures like his brother he has fringe NBA potential, so there. And yes i’m just being contrary with this paretheses.)

    Mind you, I still hold to the bit above, which is about how Duke since 2004 has…you know, lacked multiple options of scoring like you see on a Nova team. I’m not saying Duke should be like Nova or MSU, but that’s been a key weakness in the team that people don’t mention (We’re never really deep) and Curry’s transfer is a big help. Adding a SG who averages 20ppg in D1 is GOING to help, no matter who you are. To say otherwise just reeks of obstinate duke-hating. No offense.

  10. rtmsf says:

    Yeah, Duhon was the HS POY in 2000. He was a bit of a bust during his time at Duke, but he did end up making the L and is still playing. He’s a marginal choice, admittedly. Point is that he’s still NBA talent. As for Boozer, despite where he went in the draft, it was clear to me at least that he was an NBA-level talent.

    McBob, on the other hand, never was a major NBA talent, and that includes when I saw him play in HS.

    It’s not a false statement. Look at Duke’s history. Duke does NEED those NBA-type players. Without them, you have the last five years, or the Bonehead Bros. years of 1995-97.

    I don’t have time to go through all the classes now, but there were players in each of those classes that were pretty much can’t miss prospects – same as Battier, Brand, J-Will, etc. – and K wasn’t getting them. If you can’t see this correlation, then you’re just hoping.

    It won’t help when the bottom line is to go to the F4. It will help the overall production of the team (i.e., winning the ACC, or winning 30 games). At Duke, you need to go to F4s or it’s an unsuccessful season. Sorry, but that’s just how it is given what K has built there. This has NOTHING to do with Duke-hating (you use that as a crutch way too much). It has everything to do with K’s recruiting choices, and how it affects his bottom line in Durham.

  11. Josh says:

    See you and I are not going to agree on this. But i think that for example if Gerald Henderson was to stay for next year (I’d say he leaves most likely, but lets say he stays) and one of Kelly/MP2 (Duke’s incoming PFs) proves to be a decent player in the rotation (Say replacing Thomas/Zoubek) that Duke is a F4 contender.

    Williams and Smith will only develop further (E-Will’s development throughout the year was amazing, and Smith looked lost mid-year until the concussion), and Duke essentially only loses one decently important player (Dave McClure, defensive specialist).

    That team would be in my opinion an F4 contender (For sure if they had a 4th scoring option in one of Smith/Williams or the Freshmen….and definitely so if they had 5 scoring options as opposed to the 3 of this year). Now you can claim that G would be your NBA ready talent you’re talking about, but the point is that Duke does NOT need such additional talent to succeed if things come together.

    (OBVIOUSLY, if Wall was to come we’d be a F4 contender, but if G was to stay i think we’d be one anyhow. But we appear to disagree on this. I fail to see how Duke and K, more than say Izzo at MSU or Nova this year need that superstar talent to make the F4 or win it all (and really, no one on those teams, not even reynolds, strikes me as NBA-ready talent.) )

  12. rtmsf says:

    Josh the issue isn’t MSU or Nova as particularly Izzo has shown he can get lesser talented teams to the F4.

    The issue is the teams that K gets there. Every one of his F4 teams had an elite lottery type player leading the way.

    Think about what differs between the last 5 yrs vs 98-04 or the dark days of the mid 90s vs 86-94.

    GH is now at that level but he also sometimes disappears. You got at the other major issue which is balance. Obviously duke needs inside threats and defense. If those players are coming then they’re halfway there. Add Wall or another elite playmaker and you’re all the way there.

    Final pt is that we got accused of being biased in favor of Duke on the modern bracket post. Lol.

  13. Todd says:

    Coach K is a vain glorious narcissist. I am sorry, but the man is upset about college basketball being dominated by one and done stars, so he has decided to “do it his way” to show just how much of a genius he is. I think he is a great coach but this bull headed refusal to seriously recruit top end, one and done talent, reminds me of Bobby Knight and his ilk, old school coaches who cannot keep up with the modern trends of the game. Relying on three guards, and two forwards to win basketball games will get you to the dance, but you cannot win 7 in a row against quality teams without someone who is competent in the paint and getting someone who is competent in the paint means that they might jump to the NBA before their four years are done.

    Also, Izzo is a good enough coach that he can take and average big man, toughen him up, and teach him to shoot free throws, which is all his system needs. Personally I think Izzo is a better coach that K, but K is a better recruiter, which is why Izzo can do more with less. (only team to 5 F4s since 1999)

  14. John says:

    rtmsf and Todd,

    I just have to say this, and maybe the game has changed a bit since then, but look at the ’91 team, please. You keep talking about all the final four teams K has had, but you’re only really referring to the 2001 team. Back in 91 no one thought Hurley would be a pro, not a good pro anyway. Too short, too weak, too slow, yada yada. Hurley is to this day, the best college point I have ever seen. His stats back that up. Would he have been great in the L? Maybe. Doubtful. Laetner was an awful pro, in relation to his college career, but was one of the best college players ever, and no coach that was around during that time would disagree. Grant Hill was amazing, (and carried Duke literally on his back in the 94 season, and just for grins look up that roster and then tell me coach has to recruit NBA talent to make it to a Final Four, or a championship game for that matter) but he was a freshman in 91. Then comes the support players; Billy McCaffrey (who I slight by calling a support player, really, he was that good), Thomas Hill, Brian Davis, Antonio Lang. None of those guys ever came close to an NBA career. The only point I’m trying to make is that (and this is for Todd) Coach K is not a narcissist, nor is he “doing it his way” for any given purpose other than simply doing it his way. He is the coach. He has always stated and never been shy about it, that he recruits college players, not pros. Believe it or not, K’s coaching goes so far beyond basketball, he likes coaching kids that he can actually coach. Kids that have to work at it and will work at it. Kids that will stay at Duke for 4 years because they love it there and are willing to hold off on the money to enjoy the experience, to get an education, to be young and have fun, and to learn from someone who all agree is a masterful teacher.

    If you grew up wanting to be a teacher, and you got that chance, would you go all out for the kid that walks into your classroom and says, “I just have to be here ‘cuz the NBA has a(sic) age requirement.”. Coach K wants to build relationships with his kids, it’s plain to see, and he wants kids that want to build relationships with their team mates. He wants to teach kids about the value of working really hard to accomplish something so they can go out in life knowing they have at least that skill, the ability to leave it all on the floor, or cubicle, or courtroom, or ER, or NBA front office, or Burger King, wherever.

    The sad thing to me is that college basketball is what it is today. These are KIDS and have the option to go play basketball somewhere where the coaches will love them, quite literally, and only want them to succeed. A place where they can meet chicks, got to parties, learn a few things about the bigger world, and have things like parent’s days and banquets where the entire community comes out in your honor. Or just go make millions and realize 6 months down the line that they left high school and got a job. Not a bad job, obviously, but a job nonetheless. I realize I’m getting awfully poetic about all of this, believe me. You would probably think I was 60 years old and a drunk old washed-up college basketball coach. The fact is I’m 33 years old, and am very involved in Duke ball, and frankly, armchair coaches kind of piss me off. It’s not as easy as it all seems. Morally and ethically especially. It goes so much farther than just getting back to recruiting a certain type of player. Coach K has been successful when he gets a group of players together that understand him and what he’s trying to convey. When they say “the kid bought into the program”, that’s what I’m talking about. Josh McRoberts is probably the best example of a guy who didn’t. He never left it on the floor, ever. He wanted to dunk on people so he could be a lottery pick. Most of the time he pinned himself and looked like a jackass. But you know what, that wasn’t because he was incapable of dominating, he just never tried hard enough. Those times he pinned himself on the rim so elegantly demonstrated that fact. Just an inch away, but he wouldn’t reach for it.

    Coach K recruits kids he likes, kids he thinks will play with all of their heart, kids he thinks will help their team mates, regardless if they will ever be pro or not. And every once in a while (3 times in thirty years) everything comes together perfectly, where you have the talent and the kids that will bring it every game. And I have no doubt it will again. I can already hear the arguments…. get a grip, 1) this is a business not a daycare. 2) We’re not talking about winning it all, but how about a final 4. 3) The game is not the same as it was in 91, or 94. 4) Yes, you sound drunk and sappy and like a homer.


    1) Yes, it is a business. One that I guarantee that other than watching on your tv you contribute nothing to. The kids get very little at all, but yet bust their asses every day more than anyone on a message board ever has. Guaranteed. That was harsh, I know, but seriously, remember that what you’re talking about is group of very young people doing all the work to try to make everyone happy in this biz. I want a final four, boo who, why doesn’t K recruit big timers, boo who, I could recruit better, boo who. Who gives a shit what coach does? Did you see what those kids did this year?

    2) The goal is to win it all. Period. It doesn’t matter if the first round gets you, or the final four. The disappointment of not getting close at all and getting so close that you can feel it but don’t make it all the way are one and the same.

    3) The game is definitely not the same. The talent level and athleticism, as in any sport, continues to evolve at an every upward high-speed pace. This year’s team lacked that athleticism at many positions and that is the one thing that will need to be addressed for sure moving forward. You don’t need to have freakish athletes like Gerald at every spot, but you need it. This year’s team was just a little too slow.

    4) I am sappy, and a homer, and sometimes I’m drunk, but I for one think the way that coach “does it” is the only way it should be done.

  15. rtmsf says:

    John, appreciate the thoughtful response. Let me be clear about a few things here.

    First, I agree with many of your points and qualifications. The game has changed considerably since the late 80s/early 90s. It definitely is also a business. And Coach K has a tendency to recruit players who he thinks will make for a good “fit” at Duke (McBob and Maggette are notable exceptions).

    But I disagree wholeheartedly with your assessment of that 91 Duke team, which I too remember quite well. When I’m talking about elite NBA-ready talent, I’m talking about players who performed at a high level in college who scouts pretty much all agreed will be lottery picks when they come out of school. Note that I am not talking about how these players performed in the NBA – we all know that the pro game is considerably different, and due to myriad factors, a player’s individual progression after age 21-22 can flourish or halt. I’m only talking about elite talent at the college level.

    Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner and Grant Hill were ALL considered eventual lottery picks in 1991. And guess what – they all were lottery picks when they left Duke. Laettner #3 in 92, Hurley #7 in 93 and Hill #3 in 94. You’ll be VERY hard pressed to find many college teams that had that much elite NBA-level talent in the history of the game that got to play together for several years. AND they were all four-year players, which meant the experience and wisdom they had on the court was immeasurable. Throw in Brian Davis, Thomas Hill, Antonio Lang as second rounders and are you really trying to make the argument that the 91 Duke team was somehow less talented than its other Duke peers? That team was sick! Incredibly, the 92 team was even better as the experience and knowledge of how to win took hold.

    The 94 team was weaker than the others, but Grant Hill was off-the-charts good at that point, capable of playing ‘point forward’ and he literally carried that team to the finals (where they lost to the best team that year). The 99 team was absolutely loaded (moreso than the 2001 team), although the 2001 team was certainly excellent also, and the 2004 team was carried by Luol Deng (another elite talent whose clutch play in the E8 ensured Duke would move on).

    My point remains. Whether you want to argue that K has ‘changed’ his recruiting strategy or not, the fact of the matter is that he has proven that he wins in March only when he has elite NBA-level talent. Now, that’s not a dig, the same is true for most coaches in the profession. But he simply has not had those kinds of players the last five years, and it’s absolutely not surprising to me that Duke hasn’t been a serious threat in March. The lack of balance in terms of where the remaining talent lies is also an issue (ie, no inside threats). Did you think #1 seed Duke was coming out of that region in 2006? I sure didn’t. How about 2008 or 2009? I didn’t then either. And it wasn’t because I have some hatred or bias against Duke – it was just apparent that their record and seeding were inflated based on their available talent on the floor.

    As I told Josh yesterday, two things need to happen. First, K absolutely needs to get 1-2 players like Roy or Calipari or Self is getting: game changers who can become major contributors during their freshman years… John Wall would be an excellent start. He also needs to get a couple of decent post men – they don’t have to be all-americans, but if he’d had Samardo Samuels or Greg Monroe this season, Duke might still be playing. Without that balance, they’re going to continue to flame out in the Sweet 16 or worse, and guys like Zoubek and Olek aren’t going to get it done.

    I’ll leave it to you to determine if K’s ‘seeming’ strategy of going after mostly 3 and 4-yr players who are 100% committed to becoming and staying Blue Devils is working. In looking at his coaching history at Duke and the makeup of the teams he took to the greatest heights, well, I’m not sure there’s much of an argument there.

  16. John says:

    Well, I for one can’t argue with your points. Every team that wins a championship has NBA level talent on their squad. That’s why they win, because their players are good. That’s not an argument, or even a point, it’s simply redundant. The game has changed, in a very negative way, and coach refuses to change with it. I applaud him for that. Coach will do what he does, and people will pick him apart for it, or they’ll win it all and people will say I told you so, but as a life-long Chicago Cubs and Duke fan, I really could care less if Duke ever wins a championship again because there’s always next year, and I’ll be there regardless.

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