One of the oldest tricks of a woman to get the attention of that desired man is with “the way to a man´s heart is through the stomach” approach and that is the same also for a professional basketball player who has battled for 35 minutes on the floor hitting jumpers, getting into passing lanes, diving into the fourth row or going coast to coast. If it´s a Quantez Robertson, Jordan Taylor, Brad Wanamaker or Brandyn Curry on the road, all depart the floor after 40 minutes soaked in sweat and win or lose are already thinking what will be served on the bus? Usually it´s pre ordered pizza´s or will the club make a pit stop at the local Mcdonalds or Burger King. For a guy like North Carolina native Brandyn Curry who is a 24 year old 187cm point guard from Huntersville and playing his second professional season, he became used to the shorter road trips in Holland last season and the longer ones in Germany this season with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven and knows what to expect on the post-game menu. However last season what he surely didn´t expect was getting an ear full of something out of his food closet from high school something he figured had been long buried in time just as the music from J-Kwon. Back in high school a totally innocent daily ration of cheese cake evolved into a total fascination of having fans shout it at his high school games. And just when the personable American thought that this nickname had forever been forgotten and would at tops be mentioned at the 10 year high school reunion, he actually had to hear about it last season first with an interview before an Eurochallenge clash against the Fraport Skyliners and then from the same guy a very energetic play by play guy who had done his homework and didn´t refrain from yelling Brandyn “Mr cheese cake” Curry for three every time he hit from the parking lot. In terms of his production in that unforgettable Eurochallenge game in Frankfurt, he couldn´t complain as he hit for 27 points nailing seven three pointers and in the return game notched 26 points having the number of the Fraport Skyliners, but in the end the cheese cake name must have had a sweet sour effect, because the rookie lost both games with Den Bosch. Despite the tasty cheese cake from high school being years removed from his diet, he did have the audacity to give it a try in Holland last season as it is a specialty. “The cheese cake is good in Holland, but actually I am not a big fan. That was a practical joke in high school and somehow the nickname stuck. I just liked the cheese cake at school and ate it not being a fan of it. A chant was started at games and there were signs, but it didn´t follow me to Harvard”, smiled Brandyn Curry. In Bremerhaven he actually has stayed true to his own name and traded in the local favorite crabs for the famous German dish Curry Wurst. “To be completely honest I haven’t even had the crabs yet! I am not a huge seafood fan and I especially don’t like raw seafood. I made the mistake of ordering the seafood platter at one of the restaurants in the city only to have to send it back because there was no way I could eat so much uncooked seafood. The best food I have discovered here is the Curry Wurst. They have it every home game in the buffet after the game”, expressed Brandyn Curry.
This season Curry has made the jump to one of the top professional leagues in Europe the Beko BBL in Germany playing for the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven, but before he became a professional, he started to make history at Harvard University, which is known for it´s academics and less for sports, but the American made a name for himself in both departments. Curry arrived on the campus of Harvard in the fall of 2009 and would play four years with American Kyle Casey who nearly made the Phoenix Suns and now is in the D-League with Bakersfield and played his freshman season with future NBA player Jeremy Lin. In his first season Curry played 29 games averaging 7.3ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.2apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 48.9%, 3PT: 43.1%, FT: 81.5%. Just having Jeremy Lin around helped him in his first season at the guard position and he knew that Lin would be going places. “I knew that he belonged in the NBA. He is such a hard working player and he came to work each day. I never saw a guy with his mentality of not taking any days off. The way his career has gone hasn´t surprised me at all. I am very happy for him and it couldn´t have happened to a better person”, added Brandyn Curry. In his second season at Harvard, Curry made a big jump in his playmaking averaging 5,9apg while playing 30 games averaging9.3ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.3spg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 73.3%. In his third season he led the Crimson to the Ivy league title while playing 31 games averaging 7.9ppg, 2.0rpg, 4.9apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 28.8%, FT: 75.9%. However then came a big turning point his college career as he had to sit out the 2012-2013 season on account of the intro to congress cheating scandal. Despite the experience being rough, it made him a stronger and better person. “That was actually one of the best years for me. It was a real eye opener for me. I was removed from college athletics and got a full time job. That was the first time that I didn´t belong to a team. I learned so much about myself and having that year away from Harvard is actually the reason why I am a professional player today. I read a lot in this time, did research about my body, took up yoga and learned about diet. I learned that you can´t take anything for granted from this experience. If you don´t take care of your body and get hurt, you can´t perform and are useless. You have to always be ready to perform. I really appreciate where I am today and continue not to take anything for granted and just continue to work hard each day”, stressed Brandyn Curry. He came back his senior year and despite having a tough injury early in the season, he rebounded and played 23 games averaging 9.3ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.8apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 37.8%, FT: 58.5%. After sitting out the 2012-2103 season and having the injury, all his hard work and effort was rewarded with the 2014 Ivy league title his second at Harvard. Curry was thankful that his head coach at Harvard Tommy Amaker had groomed and prepared him for a professional career that he was going to embark on. “He was a father figure to me. I learned from him how to get through adversity and to come to work prepared each day. Being able to play for him was the best experience. I have grown as a player and person with his guidance. He taught me to always be in attack mode on the court and in times when I had lost confidence he always was able to get my spirits up by showing me a video or showing me an article”, said Brandyn Curry.
The rookie season of Curry found him trekking over the Atlantic Ocean to first league team Den Bosch in Holland. There he joined a team that had many established Dutch players with sharp shooter Arvin Slagter and allrounder Kees Akerboom and inherited a team where the expectations were as high as could be as they had won the Dutch title in 2012 and finished 1 and 2 the following years with a final and semi-final playoff run. The club and fans knew it was time for hardware again as the team had two rookie Americans with Chris Denson and Curry needing to supply much scoring power. It turned to be a fabulous rookie season for Curry as he played 33 games averaging 14.9ppg, 4.1rpg, Assists-2(5.0apg), 2.0spg, FGP: 58.9%, 3PT: 37.8%, FT: 83.7%; EuroChallenge: 12 games: 16.2ppg, 5.3rpg, 2.9apg, Steals-5(1.8spg), FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 40.6%, FT: 72.7%. He reached the cup final, but got the league title back to Den Bosch even if it wasn´t easy having to go 5 hard fought games against Groningen. Having had that extra experience in the Eurochallenge really helped Curry and Den Bosch grow into a championship caliber team. “I think after the second round of the Eurochallenge is when I knew this team was a championship team. Even though we went 1-5 we easily could have gone 5-1 with how close the games were. Playing Fraport, Saratov and Tartu made us raise our level of play and we showed that as long as we played our game we were capable of anything. After that we knew we should be Dutch champions if we could maintain that level of play”, stressed Brandyn Curry. After going 1/14 in games three and four, Curry didn´t surrender, but came out with an MVP performance in game 5 netting 26 points and possibly remembering some advice Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker had given him when he was in stressful times. “Those 13 misses were probably the best misses I’ve ever had and I could have easily been 10-14 instead but sometimes you just don’t get that bounce. I knew I was due for a good shooting game eventually. On top of that my teammates and coach had tremendous confidence in me so that helped a lot. They told me to keep shooting and coach Jones told me before the opening tip to not even think about the misses. I just went out there and played without thinking too much which is when I’m at my best”, said Brandyn Curry. After securing the 2015 Dutch title at home, the celebration was pandemonium as it went from the arena to the city. Curry was loved by the home crowd and was more than pleased about how he took on the professional basketball shark tank in Europe as a rookie. “I think my first season went about as well as anyone’s first year can go. It started of rocky and I certainly had my ups and downs but this was without a doubt my best year of basketball I’ve ever played. I feel like I grew so much this year thanks in large part to my teammates and coach but also the competition. Playing the Euro Challenge was a great experience for me getting to match up with so many top level guards. It only made me better and helped me to raise the level of my game”, stated Brandyn Curry.
During the summer of 2015, Curry had to decide what the next step would be for his professional career. He proved in Eurochallenge play that he could compete with anyone at a high level and especially against German teams like Frankfurt where he had 27 and 26 points or 26 points against ratiopharm Ulm, he knew that the Beko BBL was a league that he could move to if given an opportunity. Playing against top point guard Justin Cobbs of the Fraport Skyliners also proved to him that he belonged on the Beko BBL stage. “Those games especially is where I think everything stared to click for me. Matching up with Cobbs was great for me. I had to play at my best and those two performances in particular gave me a lot of confidence moving forward into the rest of my season. It definitely showed me that I can play with anyone and I am indeed on the right path to becoming a top point guard in Europe”, warned Brandyn Curry. Early in the summer of 2015, he had made a choice and decided to sign with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven a team in northern Germany. He was one of the first signings of the season so he didn´t really know what to expect, but the team got very strong hauling in well-known guys like ex NBA player Tyrus Thomas, experienced Kyle Fogg, Beko BBL all-rounder Larry Gordon who had led the BBL in rebounding two years before and keeping ex NBA point guard Jerry Smith. When Curry arrived in training camp, he knew that he wouldn´t be the star like in Den Bosch, but here one of many who had to find their role and pick with each other´s egos. On top of having to fight for minutes, the season also turned the wrong way instead of going down a winning street, the team went down losers lane losing seven of the first eight games stinking up the home arena more than the left over fish at Natusch restaurant in Bremerhaven. Five of the eight games were close affairs and the club just couldn´t score points consistently. “Its certainly been frustrating because we definitely feel like one we have one of the more talented teams in the league but just haven’t been able to put it all together”, stated Brandyn Curry. When a club has experience, then getting by in crunch time is a standard thing, but the crunch time blues has been seasonal as they have lost six close games and two in OT. “We could easily have a winning record and be in a much higher standing in the league had we found a way to win those close games. Especially since we were leading going into the 4th in all six of those games and they were against some of the top teams in the league. Some of it we felt was poor execution on offense and we have fixed that by adding some new plays. Those tough losses have just been lessons for us to learn from”, warned Brandyn Curry. The club let go of ex Fraport Skyliner head coach Muli Katzurin earlier in the season and it wasn´t easy playing for the hard edge coach from Israel. “Playing for Coach Muli was certainly an adjustment. I have never played for a coach quite like him so it took a bit to get used to all the yelling and getting taken out of the game if I messed up. He was much different in that sense compared to coach Amaker at Harvard and coach Jones from Den Bosch. They were both more of “player coaches” as people like to describe it. But even though it was a different style I still liked playing for coach Muli. Thanks to him I realized how much better of a player I could be on the defensive end and now I focus on that more than ever”, said Brandyn Curry. Even with assistant Chris Harris behind the bench, the club hasn´t got much better than with Katzurin, but they did string together back to back wins against BG Goettingen and medi Bayreuth and last weekend gave a spirited performance against the Telekom Baskets Bonn at home winning 87-72. “The victory last week was most definitely a confidence booster. Bonn is a euro cup team that is very talented and we feel like we gave one away early in the season when we had the lead with 2 minutes to go in the fourth at their place. So to get the victory against them at home was a huge win for us and hopefully we can use it to build momentum as we continue to work each week. We have big games coming up against two of the best teams in the league in the Skyliners and Berlin. As long as we play together and with confidence we can beat anyone”, warned Brandyn Curry.
Currently Curry has played 16 games averaging 17 minutes per game, 4,6ppg,1,8rpg and 2,4apg. With the Beko BBL rule of only 6 imports allowed during each game he even has had to sit out four games this season. The American knew that he wouldn´t average the 30 minutes he did in Holland last season, but surely didn´t expect the challenge that he accepted to be coupled with much less output than what he was used to last season. “This season has been really difficult for me personally. Without the doubt the most challenging one I have ever gone through. But it’s definitely been a huge learning experience for me. The BBL is one of the best leagues in the world and I’ve gone against some of the best guards in Europe this year. The biggest takeaway for me this year is that I see the high level I can get to as a player and I am not that far away from it. Just have to keep working everyday”, added Brandyn Curry. One could say with all the talent that Curry has around him each day, just being a sponge and soaking it all up has been refreshing and needful for him, but learning how to balance his play with the fewer minutes has been very helpful. “Because I am not getting that many minutes that I have been able to really improve my game. Since I am not playing as much, I have been working way harder during the week than I normally would if I was playing a lot like I was last year. I get to go against three very good guards every day in Jerry, Fogg, and Zo. Also, I have been getting a lot of good work in with our assistant coach JP and been in the gym/weight room a lot on my own. Coach Chris has helped me identity some things I need to work on and I am doing my best to work on them. I know the work I am putting in will pay off big time even if it´s not this year”, warned Brandyn Curry. Even if he isn´t logging 30 minutes like last season, he enjoys being a type of parasite learning from the best with Kyle Fogg and Jerry Smith in practice and games. “I have learned a ton from both of them. It´s definitely made me a better player going against two of the best guards in the league. From Jerry the biggest thing I have learned is to always be in attack mode on both ends and just play your game no matter what else is going. It doesn´t matter who we are playing, who the coach is or what the circumstances are he is going to be aggressive all game because that is how he plays. From Fogg it´s been to just be consistent in the daily grind and to not waste any time in the day. I have been around a lot of successful people especially at Harvard and I have seen few people with the work ethic and discipline he has on and off the court. He is a true testament that hard work over time pays off. Both of them have raised my level tremendously this year”, stated Brandyn Curry. His stats may be down, but his shooting accuracy isn´t. He has taken only taken 64 shots being 14/30 from the two point range at 46,7% and 13/34 from down town at 38,2%. The American definitely has learned how to manage shot selection this season. “I just know that my role in our team is not to be a main scorer so I have to be smart with the shots I do take and realize that I’m not going to have the ball in my hands a majority of the game like I am used to. That is just an aspect of being part of a team. Everyone is going to have different roles and whether you like it or not you’re going to have to do your job. I work on my shot everyday so I am ready when I do get them”, warned Brandyn Curry. It might not be the easiest season for the American, but he has kept a good head on his shoulder, learning from experienced players and just mastering the growing pains. This weekend, Curry will return back to a one game stomping ground the Fraport arena where last season he netted 27 points in a Eurochallenge game. He won´t equal the 34 minutes he logged that night, but he will return in a new role as a spark plug from the bench and wait for that opportunity to make a big shot and just try to help his team win in any way. If he showers quickly after the game win or lose, he won´t find any cheese cake or crabs in the arena, but could settle for a Frankfurt style Curry Wurst and leave Frankfurt with a spicy after taste in his mouth for the long bus ride back to Bremerhaven. One thing is for sure, even if 6 time NBA champion, 6 time NBA MVP and 19 time NBA allstar Kareem Abdul Jabbar had the unbelievable audacity to claim that Dirk Nowitzki didn´t have a dominant career, the big man won´t be able to claim that Brandyn Curry is a one trick pony eating cheese cake, because that habit was retired back in high school.