Had Seth Curry had smiled anymore, he might have owed royalties to the Mona Lisa.
With a towel hung across his neck and a General Electric powered grin across his face, Curry stood outside his corner locker and soaked in Duke's come-from-behind 79-73 win over North Carolina.
The wait was over.
"It was for more than what I thought it would be," Curry said of his first tilt between college basketball's bitterest rivals. "The atmosphere was crazy. ... I was looking around before the game and I was like, 'This is what I dreamed about growing up.'"
On the biggest regular-season stage in college basketball, Seth Curry had his signature performance. The sophomore scored 22 points, including 18 in the second half as the Blue Devils rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit, handed out six assists and grabbed five rebounds.
And smiled, and smiled, and smiled.
Curry sat out all of last season after transferring from Liberty, yet the skilled shooting guard did everything but suit up for the Devils. He was praised by his teammates for his work ethic in practice, extolled for his offense, and embraced as a teammate.
Yet he could only watch as Duke clubbed North Carolina by 32 in Cameron last season, a pivotal win as the team coalesced into a March lion. He could only serve as cheerleader in chief when they reached the Final Four, and he could only swap high fives with his teammates as they cut down the nets Indianapolis.
Even as the 2011 season broke at Midnight Madness, Curry was again the man in the wings as the championship team was awarded up its rings. Krzyzewski railed against the NCAA's prohibition against transfer students receiving rings, calling the rule "totally wrong," and "archaic", but Curry nonetheless was an outsider for another night.
To add injury to insult, Curry caught an inadvertent elbow from Nolan Smith in the opening practice-slash-red-bull-infused pep rally and missed most of the scrimmages while getting eight stitches.