January 4, 2007

National player of the year?

Kevin Durant came to Texas with high expectations, and the freshman has actually played up to the lofty goals and exceeded them in the eyes of many around the country. Durant has performed at such a high level that his name is now being mentioned as a candidate for the college basketball player of the year.

Being mentioned on a short list for the player of the year award is rare for a freshman, but winning the Naismith or Wooden award as a freshman is certainly a tough task. While the popular thought is a freshman can't take home the player of the year, Durant has proved that he is not the ordinary rookie and has performed at a level with which only a few can compete.

Durant enters Big 12 play in the top 10 of the NCAA scoring list at 21.5 points and he's on the cusp of being in the top 10 in rebounding at 10.3 per game. Throw in 2.1 blocked shots, 1.7 assists and 1.6 steals to go with 47 percent shooting from the field and 83 percent from the free throw line in 31 minutes per game and the raw numbers can't be matched by any player in a major conference.

While Durant has the numbers to back up the attention he has received as a candidate, it's his play against top competition that really elevates the 6-foot-9 small forward. Durant has played his best basketball in the Longhorns' five games against NCAA Tournament probable teams.

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