Ask Wesley Matthews about Stephen Curry, and the first thing you're likely to hear has nothing to do with basketball whatsoever.
"Steph still owes me some money!" said Matthews. "Nah, I'm just playing. He paid me."
Good thing, not that Matthews would have a hard time finding Curry. After all, both guards, who face off tonight as the Trail Blazers host the Warriors, share similar back-stories and, to a certain extent, have followed similar paths. Both are sons of former NBA players and both of their mothers were standout college athletes. And both were expected to follow in their fathers' collegiate footsteps, though neither did (Matthews because he felt Wisconsin offered a scholarship only because they had to and Curry because Virginia Tech wanted him to walk on).
So it makes some sense that they became fast friends when they first met way back when Matthews was still at Marquette and Curry at Davidson.
"Wes I've known since my sophomore year in college," said Curry. "We met at CP3's camp in Winston-Salem. Kinda bonded there then pretty much worked out the whole summer before our rookies years. We go way back."
"We just hit it off right there," said Matthews. "Just competing against each other, just watching each other play. We've kept in contact throughout the years, every once in a while a 'good game' here and there."
The two forged such a close bond that they eventually ended up living together in Washington, D.C. during the summer of 2009 while both were preparing for the NBA Draft. It helped that they both had the same agent, but a shared upbringing that resulted in a shared sense of humor helped the two share the same roof while both doggedly prepared for their collective jump to the professional ranks.
"He's a funny guy. He's real laid back," said Curry. "Me and him are kind of like the type to just sit back and have some dry humor every once in a while. He's a real family guy and fun to hang around. You'll have some fun with him."
It was toward the end of their time in D.C. that their paths diverged. Their stories were similar and both spent countless hours traveling around the country participating in pre-draft workouts, it was Curry who was taken by the Warriors with the seventh pick, while Matthews went undrafted, having to earn his way into the NBA via free agency.
"I was surprised he didn't get drafted," said Curry. "I saw how much work he put into the whole draft process and his talent. The draft went by and he wasn't picked, but I knew that he was going to Utah and did something with it."
While Curry might have been surprised that his friend and former roommate didn't have his name called by David Stern or Adam Silver during the 2009 Draft, he wasn't at all taken aback by the success Matthews has had since, be it with the Jazz or Trail Blazers.
"I'm not surprised at all," said Curry of Matthews' success. "I think for guys who don't know his story, who don't know behind the scenes what he puts into the game, it's kind of a surprise. "But he had an opportunity to go be a starter. With a lot of things adding up he's definitely come out and played well all year. That's why he's here now. I'm proud of him and happy for him. It's only the beginning."
We here in Portland would hope so. And considering their similarities and shared experiences, you can probably take Curry's word for it.