Duke basketball: Mike Krzyzewski did not want Steph Curry on Blue Devils

Former Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski and Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)
Former Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski and Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports) /

Steph Curry wanted to play for the Duke basketball program but the Blue Devils said no. 

Every single person has a decision, personally or professionally, that they regret. Something that probably could have changed the course of their life each time they look back on it. Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke basketball program are not immune to that either.

A bombshell “what if” hit the basketball world on Wednesday as Rex Chapman, a former Kentucky Wildcat, spilled the beans that Stephen Curry wanted to play for the Blue Devils when Dell Curry, Steph’s father and Chapman’s teammate with the Charlotte Hornets, appeared on his podcast.

Steph Curry, a four-time NBA Champion, was a senior in high school when Chapman contacted Johnny Dawkins, an assistant coach for the Blue Devils at the time, to ask if the scrawny kid from North Carolina could play at Duke.

“When Steph was in high school, he was going into his senior year and he wanted to go to an ACC school — he wanted to go to Duke,” Chapman said.

“And I knew Johnny Dawkins a little better than [Dell] did at the time, because I was with [agent] David Falk and Johnny was also with David Falk. I remember [Dell] said, ‘Steph would like to go there!”

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“I called Johnny one day and I said, ‘Look, Dell’s [Curry] son, Stephen, he’s [good]…’ And he said, ‘Yeah, yeah, I know. Let me get back with you.’

Duke already had Greg Paulus on its roster and its 2006 recruiting class boasted a four-star guard from Chicago, Jon Scheyer.

However, Curry was not looking for a scholarship to Duke, all Rex Chapman was asking for is if he could walk-on with the storied program.

“He got back with me the next day and he said, ‘We’re full up this year, maybe next year though.’ So, Stephen signed with Davidson,” Chapman recalled what Dawkins said to him.

Duke basketball not done with pursuit of future NBA Hall of Famer

Steph Curry went on to average 21.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.6 threes, 2.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game while shooting 46.3-percent from the field and 40.8-percent from 3-point range as every school in the country was hoping he would transfer after his freshman year.

Including Duke.

“Well, Stephen blows up, of course. At the end of that year, everybody in the country wanted Stephen,” Chapman continued.

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“And when I say everybody, I mean everybody — Kentucky, Tennessee, Duke, — everyone wanted Stephen to come.”

“He told me, ‘Dad, if they didn’t want me then, I don’t want them now. F*** ’em. I’m staying at Davidson’, Chapman said of what Dell Curry told him Steph’s response was to finding out that many high major programs wanted him after his freshman season.

Well, that certainly isn’t the best look for Mike Krzyzewski, Johnny Dawkins, and the rest of the Duke basketball program. But you really can’t blame anyone since no one thought that a 6-foot-2, 165 pound player from Charlotte Christian High School would become the best shooter in basketball history.

However, Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils would not let another Curry get away from their grasp as Duke landed a commitment from Seth Curry, Steph’s younger brother, after his one standout season at Liberty and played three years with the Blue Devils.

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