By Aaron Beard
AP Basketball Writer
There are some familiar NBA names lighting up college basketball courts this season.
Curry, Hardaway, Hawkins, Howard, Mason and Robinson.
Below the sons of six former NBA players who are having strong seasons this year. And there are often shades of their fathers’ games in their play, whether it’s their knack for scoring in bunches, knocking down 3-pointers, playing with a tough-nosed style or wearing the same jersey number.
Seth Curry, Duke
This family is known for the ability to shoot the 3, starting with Dell Curry during 16 NBA seasons starting during the late 1980s. Next came son Stephen’s rise from Davidson to the Golden State Warriors. Now there’s Stephen’s younger brother Seth, a 6-foot-2 senior for the Blue Devils. He has been the top outside threat to complement Mason Plumlee inside. Curry has rarely practiced this year due to persistent pain in his right shin, but he’s averaging about 17 points and shooting nearly 44 percent from 3-point range entering the week. Maryland coach Mark Turgeon put it simply after Curry scored 25 against his Terrapins earlier this month: “Seth Curry is a winner and he makes big shots.”
Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan
The 6-6 junior guard and son of the former NBA all-star has been part of the Wolverines’ 1-2 punch playing alongside sophomore guard Trey Burke. Hardaway is second on the team in scoring (15 points) and shooting about 40 percent from 3-point range. He’s also been one of Michigan’s top defenders and scored his 1,000th career point this season. He’s reached double figures in 20 of 26 games this year, highlighted by a 23-point performance with six 3-pointers against Ohio State.
Corey Hawkins, UC Davis
The son of former NBA guard Hersey Hawkins entered the week averaging 20.5 points and 5.7 rebounds. Hawkins was also shooting about 47 percent from the field and 40 percent from behind the arc. The 6-3 sophomore is an Arizona State transfer and had a school-record 40 points at Hawaii in January to follow in his high-scoring father’s footsteps at Bradley, where Hersey Hawkins is the school’s all-time leading scorer and ranks seventh in Division I history with 3,008 career points. In Hersey’s senior year, he averaged 36.3 points and scored 63 in a game. “One thing he always told me is be able to get into the lane and finish around the bigs,” Corey Hawkins said. “… Not being that tall, you have to find ways to finish in the paint. He helped me a lot with that.”
Juwan Howard Jr., Detroit
The 6-6 sophomore is the son of the former Michigan ‘’Fab Five’’ member who played in the NBA nearly two decades. Juwan Jr. transferred from Western Michigan and sat out the Titans’ NCAA tournament appearance last year, but he’s started nearly every game and averaged about 9 points and 3.6 rebounds this season heading into Tuesday’s game against Loyola of Chicago. He’s also shooting 39 percent from 3-point range and 82 percent from the foul line in a supporting role behind high-scoring guard Ray McCallum Jr. as Detroit tries to return to the NCAAs.
Antoine Mason, Niagara
The son of former NBA all-star Anthony Mason has been the top threat for the Purple Eagles, averaging a team-high 18.9 points while playing 36 minutes per game entering the week. The 6-3 redshirt sophomore recently returned from a four-game absence due to an ankle injury, but has scored in double figures in 31 straight games. Mason wears the same number (14) and carries the same nickname (‘’Mase’’) as his father. Coach Joe Mihalich said Mason has a ‘’fearlessness’’ and is ‘’an incredible competitor.’’ Sound familiar? ‘’I was sensitive to the pressures that a kid would feel when your dad’s an NBA player,’’ Mihalich said. “I said to his dad, ‘Listen, I’m trying hard not to compare him to you. I don’t want him to feel that pressure.’ His dad was cool. He was like, ‘Nah, go ahead, you can do that.’ And it was a good thing to do because it does help young Mase respond. It motivates him.”
Glenn Robinson III, Michigan
Hardaway isn’t the only Wolverine on the list. This 6-6 freshman forward is the son of the Purdue All-American and former NBA all-star known as ‘’Big Dog.’’ Robinson is fourth on the team, averaging about 11 points on 57 percent shooting to go along with 5.5 rebounds as an every-game starter. Robinson matched his season-high with 21 points on 6-for-6 shooting while pulling down 10 rebounds in a win against Penn State on Feb. 17. He had managed just six points in the previous two games, but said his confidence never wavered. “A lot of people know I like to cut to the basket,’’ Robinson said. ‘’They kind of sag off me and those open shots weren’t there, but I’ve got to keep adjusting to that and keep working on it at practice.”