The main ingredient that hooked me into watching basketball was the accurate long-range shooter. Those players always came with the adjective "deadly" in print and in radio and TV commentary.

There wasn't much college basketball to be found on TV in the 1950s and into the '60s, but if Indiana was on the Big Ten Game of the Week with Jimmy Rayl, you wanted to see those soaring jumpers that were majestic even in black and white.

As grand as was Edgerton's championship in 1960, my favorite actual title game in the one-class days was Marshall 74, Cloquet 73 in 1963, a shootout featuring deadly shooters Terry Porter and Whitey Johnson for Marshall and Mike Forrest and Dave "Mouse'' Meisner for Cloquet.

What made the long-range shooter mesmerizing was coaches were very selective in allowing players to shoot from 20 feet or more. Now we have the opposite. Even the "blacksmiths," as we called them, have the green light to damage rims.

Amid the hail of threes from NBA teams, the great shooters can become lost among teammates throwing the ball in the general direction (yes, Josh Okogie, we're talking about you).

On a late night early this month, I ran across an NBA game. Five seconds later, Steph Curry was dribbling, and then instantly a 30-foot shot was away and dead center.

I kept watching Steph that night, and whenever possible since.

Steph has kept making unearthly shots, off one foot or two, squared up or tilted, against defenders convinced they had him covered or that he was too deep to shoot.

In the 10 games from April 6 through Friday night, Curry averaged 38.5 points, taking 14 threes per night and making 49%. He's had one clunker, a 2-for-14 on threes, in this run. He will be at Target Center on Thursday night.

I sent texts to a few exceptional shooters with a Minnesota connection and asked: "Have you been watching Steph?"

One who had been was Blake Hoffarber, the excellent Gophers shooter from 2007 to 2011, and author of two legendary, last-instant moments: The two-handed toss from his rear end that sent Hopkins into a second overtime vs. Eastview and soon a state championship on March 19, 2005, and the lefthanded flip after a full-court heave that buzzer-beat Indiana for the Gophers in the 2008 Big Ten tournament.

As it turns out, Hoffarber's interest in Curry goes beyond watching "the greatest shooter of all time" on this historic roll at age 33.

"We were together in a weeklong camp for two years,'' Hoffarber said. "It was sponsored by the NBA Players Association for invited high school players.

"Neither of us was being recruited then by major conferences. We were there as shooters, and we spent a lot of time together doing that in a back gym.

"The only reason Steph wasn't being pursued by Duke, Carolina, Kentucky was because he was just a scrawny kid. He was a great shooter even then, although more of a form shooter … not the creative guy he became in the NBA.

"He's still not the biggest guy, so he shoots fadeaways, sideways, off one foot, two feet. The most amazing thing is he's starting to shoot before the ball gets to him. Great release, but unbelievable anticipation.

"The three-point craziness you see now … I think that's Steph. With what he did to make the Warriors the NBA power; in my opinion, he single-handedly changed the NBA, and now the rest of basketball."

Hoffarber, 33 on Tuesday, played one season of pro ball in Marseilles, France. He's now a senior vice president for the Marsh & McLennan Agency.

Jordan (Rossman) and Blake live in Wayzata and have daughters Tate, 2½ and Wren, one month. Jordan, from Minnetonka, was on the dance team at Wisconsin.

"Less basketball, many dance recitals in your future, young dad," a reporter suggested.

Blake Hoffarber, shooter himself, huge admirer of the greatest ever Steph, conceded that point.