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#1 Dell Curry | 10 Greatest VT Players of All Time

#1 Dell Curry | 10 Greatest VT Players of All Time

WARDELL STEPHEN “DELL” CURRY | 6’5 GUARD | 1982-86

CAREER NUMBERS:

  • Points: 2389 (2nd)
  • Scoring Average: 18.9 (7th)
  • Field Goals Made: 1021 (1st by 150)
  • Assists: 407 (5th)
  • Steals: 295 (1st)

OF NOTE:

  • Virginia Tech’s ACC Legend: 2007-08
  • NBA 6th Man of the Year: 1993-94
  • First Round Pick (15th Overall) of the Utah Jazz: 1986 NBA Draft
  • Basketball News First Team All-American: 1986
  • AP Second Team All-American: 1986
  • Metro Conference Player of the Year: 1986
  • First Team All-Metro Conference: 1986
  • Became the first Hokie to have his jersey retired: March 1, 1986
  • Drafted in the 14th Round of the MLB Draft by the Baltimore Orioles: 1985
  • First Team All-Metro Conference: 1985
  • First Team All-Metro Conference: 1984
  • McDonald’s All-American: 1982 (only Hokie to achieve this)
  • Went to Fort Defiance High School in Virginia

WHY HE’S THE GREATEST:

Dell Curry was Tech’s star during their greatest four year run in school history.  And all he did after that was go on to score over 12,000 points in the NBA over 16 seasons, making him the greatest Hokie ever in the NBA, too.   His jersey is still sold in the bookstore.

But forget the NBA, Curry was an absolute star at Virginia Tech.  He was easily the greatest shooter in the history of the program.  Once he stepped inside half court, he was in range.  His 2389 points ranks second on the all time list, just 95 points behind Bimbo Coles.  Keep this in mind, though – there was no three-point line when Dell played.  He only played in a couple of games that included a three-point line as the NCAA experimented with the rule.  If memory serves me correctly, Dell hit just four three-pointers in his limited experience with the experimental line.  Anyone that ever saw him play would tell you many of his 1021 field goals were behind the current three-point line (heck, behind the NBA line).  Dell would easily be #1 on the VT scoring list had there been a three-point field goal (Curry hit over 1,200 three-pointers in his NBA ceareer).

Dell wasn’t all gun though on offense.  He was also a great passer.  Dell completed his career averaging 3.2 assists per game.  In fact, Coach Moir felt Dell didn’t shoot enough at times.  Curry worked to get his talented teammates like Perry and Al Young, and Bobby Beecher involved.

Dell also sits atop the steals list.  While he certainly wasn’t a great defender, and wasn’t asked to put out a lot of effort on defense, he had quick hands that could create turnovers.  He was allowed to gamble on defense.  Curry’s 89 steals as a sophomore stood as the VT single season record until Jamon Gordon broke it in 2007.  Dell added 80 blocked shots with those long arms for good measure.

If Dell’s basketball exploits weren’t enough, Curry also went 6-1 with a 3.81 ERA after his junior year for the Hokie baseball team.  Dell was a star pitcher with pro potential and a 90+ fastball coming out of high school.  He was unable to play his first two years, but was a star on the bump for the Hokies in 1985.  This led to the Baltimore Orioles taking Dell in the 14th Round.  But Dell stuck with basketball.

While Dell was certainly no slouch his first three years, averaging 14.5, 19.3, and 18.2 ppg, it all came together his senior year.  Dell averaged 24.1 points per game (6th best ever by a Hokie for a season) and led the team in assists and steals with 113 and 79 respectively.  That led to Curry being named a Second Team AP All-American, and a First Team member by Basketball News.

Curry had his jersey and #30 retired on March 1, 1986 before his final home game in the Cassell.  He was the first Hokie to be so honored.

GREATEST GAME: #16 VT 76, #2 memphis state 72 – Feb. 1, 1986

In one of the most odd scheduling botches ever, the Hokies had to play the undefeated #2 memphis state tigers twice in the same week.  After getting bombarded in Memphis on Monday 83-61, Tech didn’t have to wait long for another crack.  The Hokies trailed 46-35 at the half, but Dell’s 28 points (10/19 shooting) and 9 rebounds helped lead Tech to the upset, giving memphis state their first loss of the season in 21 games, and costing the tigers the #1 spot in the polls (#1 unc had lost earlier that week).  It is remembered as one of the most intense and lively games in the history of the Cassell.  Dell stated in an article in 2007 that this game was the highlight of his career.

TEAM RECORD: 87-42 (32-19 in the Metro)

The Metro Conference was a great basketball conference in the early to mid 1980s.  Five of the eight teams that were in it back then are now in BCS conferences (VT, south carolina, florida state, cincinnati, and louisville).  Three Metro teams made the Final Four while Dell Curry was at Tech – louisville twice, including winning the 1986 National Championship, and memphis state in 1985, though they later vacated that appearance due to an ineligible player (one of two times the now memphis tigers have vacated Final Four appearances).  memphis state was a top 5 team in three of those four years.

And the Hokies were no slouch during this time.  Tech won at least 20 games each of Dell’s four years.  They made the NIT his first two seasons, reaching the semi-finals at Madison Square Garden in 1984 before losing to michigan by three.  In Dell’s last two years, Tech made the ncaa tournament as an at-large team, but lost in the first round both times.

The 87 wins is still a record at VT over a four year span, equaled by the recently departed senior class.  But Dell’s Hokie team accomplished that feat with just 42 losses, while the recent Hokies had 50.

The Hokies could play with anyone in the country back then.  Dell’s freshman year Tech knocked off #1 memphis state at the Cassell 69-56, then took down the #2 tigers three years later in the game mentioned above.

VT knocked off perennial power louisville three times while Dell was at Tech.  The Hokies were consistently ranked his senior season, reaching as high as #15 in the polls.

These Hokie teams, with Perry Young (5th on the scoring list and 10th in rebounds and assists),  Bobby Beecher (Metro Freshman of the Year in 1983, 9th in rebounds, and 3rd in blocks), Al Young (6th in steals), and Roy Brow (#1 in blocks), could easily stake claim to the title of greatest Hokie era ever.  They may not have put together the greatest season ever at VT, but over Dell’s years the team was always a team that could contend with anyone.

SUMMARY:

When you think of Virginia Tech basketball, you think of Dell Curry.  Even today his name is synonymous with Hokie basketball.  It doesn’t hurt that his sons have become stars, although it has been painful to some that it has been at places other than Blacksburg.

Dell did not put VT on the map.  Tech was already a pretty good basketball school back then and had been to the ncaa tournament in 1979 and 1980 under Dale Solomon.  But Curry took Tech to another level.  He was a McDonald’s All-American, Tech’s first and still only such player.  Dell was a First Round NBA Draft Pick who had a distinguished NBA career.  Curry was, and still is, the greatest star Tech has ever seen.

Curry was a leader, too.  His teammates loved him and followed him.  They gave everything they had for Dell.  Dell was a great shooter, great leader, and wears the crown as the Greatest Virginia Tech Player of All Time.

PAST ENTRIES:

This post was written by:

- who has written 1198 posts on Tech Hoops.

Niemo is a member of the VT Class of '98. While not a professional journalist by any stretch, Niemo analyzes and breaks down every minute of Hokie hoop action. He also researches topics of interest such as Hokie recruits, program revenue, statistical data on the team, previews VT opponents, and discusses his favorite bourbons/Scotches. In addition to his passion for Hokie hoops, Niemo has attended 126 straight VT football home games (every game since '94), eclipsing the 100 mark in September of '09 and recently attended his 20th consecutive VT/uva game. During the final home basketball game of his senior year, he was brought onto the court and was awarded 2 passes to the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament in Philly during a timeout for being a "Super Fan" during his time at VT. The Hokie Bird made the award on behalf of Athletic Director Jim Weaver. Niemo was known to be in the front row of every home game with his familiar red afro hairdo.

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  • Jeff Ayersman

    How do you leave the “Boomer Bomber” off of the list?? Bob Ayersman was 6th in the nation his sophomore year with 26.5 ppg. Averaged over 20 ppg and 8 rpg for his career!!
    Sincerely,
    Jeff Ayersman

    • Niemo

      Jeff,
      He was right there. He was definitely in my top 12. One of the things that hurt his was scoring was so much higher back then, but as you state, he was still near the top even for back then. And technically you have 13 on your team, so he’d make the all time team if you looked at it that way. Does that make you feel any better?

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