Making the Jump

West Virginia's newest basketball signee handled the pressure of playing for a new school well – a factor that could bode well for his jump to West Virginia this fall.

"We were concerned with how the team would handle it," Stratford High School Mitch Hornsby said of Curry's transfer to his school prior to his senior season. "He came in with a good reputation, and everyone knew he was a Division I player since he had signed with UTEP. But it wasn't an issue at all. He wants to fit in, and he'll take a back seat if that's what is best for the team."

Curry didn't do that as a senior, because his coach and teammates quickly realized the level of talent that he possesses. He quickly became the focal point of the offense.

"I'm not going to lie about that," Hornsby said with a laugh. "There was not a whole lot of Xs and Os.involved. We just gave the ball to Darrious a lot and let him create. We used him at the three spot a lot, and we tried to switch sides with him at the two sometimes. We moved him around to try to hide him from defenses, but of course that was tough to do. We ran a motion style offense, and brought him off screens and ran some two man games with him."

Curry adapted to that well, but also made sure that he fit in with Stratford's existing players, who had talent in their own right. He didn't try to force his way into the spotlight, and that probably helped his play as much as anything.

"It was tough for him to be a leader since he just played for us for one year," Hornsby said. "He's not a vocal leader, and just lets his game speak for itself. So it was tough for him to assume a leadership. But we had a great group of kids, and they handled it all very well."

While Hornsby believes that Curry is the best player he has coached in his 20 years on the job, he's also realistic about his readiness for the college level.

"I think the physical development is the biggest thing that has to happen for him," Hornsby said. "But I think that's true of just about everyone that makes that jump to the elite level of college, no matter what program you come from. Mentally, I think he will be fine. He is a great kid with a good head on his shoulders. It's an adjustment for anybody, but I think he will be fine with it. It will come with time."

While he made it clear that he thinks Curry has those improvements to make (he also lists ballhandling and defense as other areas for improvement), Hornsby also has praise for his star player both on and off the court.

"He's possibly best three-point shooter I have ever coached, and I've been doing this for 20 years. What makes him dangerous is that he can stop and pop or go to the rim and dunk on you. He'll set you up with outside shooting and then put it on the floor. I know I'm biased, but I think he is going to be a heck of a player."


  • When Curry received his release from UTEP, he was contacted by Texas, Central Florida and Auburn before signing with WVU. Former UTEP coach Tony Barbee left the Miners for Auburn, but apparently did not have an open scholarship to offer his former signee.

  • Noting that he is "longer than he is tall", Hornsby thinks that Curry can develop into a good defender in Huggins's system. Again, strength will be the immediate concern, but Curry's footwork and willingness to work should be strong factors in his potential as a defender.

  • Darrious' younger brother Damion is a rising senior at Stratford High School. He is a guard that could entertain some lower-level scholarship offers.

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