When you think Davidson Basketball, you probably think Steph Curry, which is exactly why Kellan Grady chose the small North Carolina school over Creighton, Northwestern, Rhode Island, Richmond, Xavier, and others back in 2017. Over four years at Davidson, Grady worked relentlessly on his shot, finishing his senior season with a career-best 38.2% from three, knocking down 58 treys on 152 attempts. As a (black-and-red) Wildcat, he hit 240 threes, and had four or more in 21 games. With an extra year of eligibility thanks to the NCAA, Grady will bring his sharp-shooting skills to Kentucky, a program that desperately needs them, in hopes of improving his draft stock enough to join Curry in the NBA.
Yesterday, Grady met the Kentucky media on Zoom and talked about how he models his game after Curry, a two-time MVP and seven-time All-Star.
“Steph has been kind of a role model for me and my favorite player since he was at Davidson when he starred in the NCAA Tournament,” Grady said. “I had the privilege to work out with Steph a couple camps when I was at his camp a few summers ago. Beyond his amazing ability on the court, the way he’s dedicated to the game and how he works, it’s definitely inspired me to work with detail and precision when I’m working on my game.”
Curry is known for knocking down threes, but his scoring ability extends to the basket. Matt McKillop, Davidson’s associate head coach, said Grady is also a versatile scorer, particularly off screens. When you look at analytics, almost 20% of Grady’s scoring is off screens, with a points per possession of 1.014.
“I think the best things that Kellan does to get shots at the basket are the way he uses screens and the way he cuts,” McKillop said in an interview earlier this week. “He’s very capable of making difficult things look easy.”
Grady said he learned that, in part, from Curry.
“His shooting ability, his confidence is something that’s arguably the best in the NBA. His ability to score at all three levels, make floaters, make shots in the midrange, his in-between game, his court vision, I think we all know I could keep going. With Steph and things I pay attention to, it’s more of the little things. How he comes off screens, how he moves without the ball, things I did a lot at Davidson that I was able to improve on by watching guys like Steph.”
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Grady has always been a good shooter, making seven threes in his collegiate debut vs. Charleston Southern in 2017, and finishing his freshman season 73-196 (37.2%) from behind the arc, yet he’s continued to tweak his shot over the years, incorporating notes from Curry and other NBA stars.
“Along with typical spot shooting and getting reps up off the catch, I mentioned Steph, I’ve studied players with how they move off the ball and how they use screens, it’s something I’ve worked on a lot. Having proper footwork and your body square coming off screens, trying to improve the quickness of my release. Shooting off handoffs was something I did this year and had success with. I think if you’re a threat from beyond the 3-point line, not just off the catch but if people have to chase you around and get ready for your shot, or you’re a threat coming off handoffs, it makes you more difficult on a defense.”
“I think it became more consistent,” McKillop said of Grady’s three-point shot. “Just little tweaks, like balance or timing or being able to plant his left foot first or being able to plant his right foot first. I think he kind of just added a little bit year after year after year to be able to do things just a little bit better.”
If John Calipari is serious about retooling Kentucky’s offense, having a shooter with Grady’s experience, work ethic, and versatility is a good start.