Skyler on Sports: Curry, USC basketball teams thrive early in their seasons
This week’s edition of “Skyler on Sports” is all about basketball. Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors surpassed Ray Allen’s career mark in 3-pointers to officially end the debate of who is the greatest shooter of all time. Meanwhile, the men’s and women’s basketball teams at USC both opened their seasons hotter than ever, with both teams registering 40-point blowouts.
Steph Curry proves he’s the greatest shooter in NBA history
Even if we all already knew, point guard Stephen Curry is the greatest shooter in NBA history. He became the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-point shots by making the 3,359th 3-pointer of his career Friday. Curry did it at 33 years old, five years earlier than when Allen drained the final 3-pointer of his career at 38 years old.
Curry also hit one of the most iconic shots in NBA history during this game. He saw a fan pointing at him, and he was so confident his shot would go in that he made time to turn around and point back at the fan, essentially saying, “this one’s for you,” all before his shot swished through the net.
NBA circles are already calling the picture of Curry pointing at a fan one of the most iconic in NBA history. The greatest shooter of all-time shot 9 of 17 from downtown on the night.
Curry is in a league of his own when it comes to 3-point shooting, as he single-handedly revolutionized the game — for better or worse in the opinion of some — to include 3-point shots as a regular part of a player’s repertoire. For context, Curry has 36 games with at least 9 3-pointers while the next five closest players have combined for 34 total.
This list includes other NBA stars such as guards James Harden, Damian Lillard and Klay Thompson. Some other honorable mentions for the greatest-shooter title are Allen and shooting guard Reggie Miller who both made their marks on the league with their long-range shooting. But when you consider the level of greatness on this list and that Curry surpassed them all when it comes to hot 3-point shooting streaks, it’s clear that Curry is the greatest shooter in NBA history.
Men’s basketball proves they can go even further this year
USC began its season hotter than the Southern California sun, as they put an absolute beatdown on California State University, Northridge in a 40-point blowout victory Nov. 9. at the Galen Center.
The Trojans are coming off an Elite Eight appearance last year in the and look to improve on that this year. There is a giant Evan Mobley-sized hole in the roster, but other scoring options are showing up. Guard Boogie Ellis showed off his scoring prowess, forward Isaiah Mobley beat most of his season averages from last year while showing off improvement in his scoring from all over the floor, and guard Drew Peterson looks like a potential X-factor with a smooth mid-range jumper that led to 14 points on opening night. The Trojans seem to have retained and maybe even built upon their stellar chemistry from last year.
USC also held CSUN to just 32.8% shooting and outrebounded them 40-25 with a promising frontcourt of Mobley and forward Chevez Goodwin. If USC can keep this defensive solidity up and the three-headed monster of Ellis, Mobley and Peterson continues to perform throughout the season, then there’s no reason to doubt that this team can go further than last year’s and maybe all the way. USC has always been a football school, but after the success of last year and the promise of this year, it looks as though the men’s basketball team could be the most exciting men’s team on campus.
Women’s basketball shows its dominance under new Head Coach
When Head Coach Lindsay Gottlieb came over to USC from her role as an assistant coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, one of only 15 women to hold such a position in NBA history, it became clear that women’s basketball was about to reach a new level of competitiveness. However, I’m not sure anyone could have predicted that they would reach the level of giving out a 40-point beatdown in their season debut against Hawaii. They also got a gritty road win over the weekend against Virginia.
Graduate student forward Jordan Sanders led the way with 17 points on 5 of 10 shooting. She also couldn’t miss from 3-point range, as she went 3 of 3 from deep. Freshman guard/forward Rayah Marshall went 5 of 10 from the field in her debut for the Trojans while scoring 15 points. After beating Virginia on Sunday behind 13 from Sanders and 16 from Marshall on 8-of-14 shooting, it seems clear that the team has greatly improved from last year.
The main reason for this newfound success is that they have Gottlieb at the helm to create a winning culture for a team filled with talent. Once junior forward Alissa Pili finds her groove, this team should be nearly unstoppable and ready to compete for a spot in the NCAA tournament, where they’ll have a chance to prove themselves amongst the highest level of competition.
Women’s basketball’s success only further enhances the notion that USC may be a basketball school this year, and there’s a lot of excitement around both programs at the moment.
Skyler Trepel is a graduate student providing updates on the general sports happenings with an emphasis on professional and collegiate football and basketball. His column “Skyler on Sports,” runs every other Tuesday.