Durant reached his breaking point once with Brown’s military-like demands, while executing a drill at the age of thirteen where he was required to stand for an hour, frozen in the proper shooting form. He’d finally had enough and stormed out. Two hours later, he was back. KD often took naps at the center. Other kids made fun of him because he ostracized himself in the cocoon of the game, always carrying a ball that often left the dirty remnants of his pursuits stained on his white t-shirts. But he could care less.
“Basketball became my priority,” Durant told The San Antonio Express News. “I didn’t let anything get in the way of that.” As member of the P.G. Jaguars, Durant, along with Beasely and former UNC-Charlotte power forward Chris Braswell, collected numerous AAU national championships. He also spent some time with the D.C. Blue Devils AAU program, playing alongside another talented neighbor, a jet quick, diminutive point guard named Ty Lawson.
Between his freshman and sophomore years of high school, Durant grew six inches, sprouting to 6′7″. After ripping through his first two seasons at National Christian Academy in Fort Washington, Maryland, he arrived at the esteemed Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia. During his first action at Oak Hill, the summer before his junior year, the 15-year-old Durant was matched up against 18-year-old Josh Smith, a few months shy of Smith’s selection by the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the NBA draft. “Kevin didn’t back down at all,” Oak Hill coach Steve Smith told the San Antonio Express News. “He held his own.”
Durant averaged 20 points and nine rebounds as a junior at Oak Hill and then returned to Maryland to play his final prep season at Montrose Christian. Smith was not shy about stating that Durant would one day be better than Rod Strickland, Jerry Stackhouse, Josh Smith, Carmelo Anthony and all of the other prep school greats who’d worn the Oak Hill uniform.
As a senior at Montrose in 2006, Durant took MVP honors at the prestigious McDonald’s and Jordan Brand All-American games. But it was at the University of Texas where his legend began to formally coalesce. He scored 37 points four separate times, blazed for 30 points or more on twenty occasions, and became the FIRST FRESHMAN EVER to win the coveted Naismith and Wooden Awards.
After his signature college performance, a 37-point, 23-rebound masterpiece against Bobby Knight’s Texas Tech team, Durant was not satisfied as he sat at his locker after the victory. “I can play better,” he told the media. The king of enthusiastic and bombastic hyperbole, Dick Vitale, described him as, “…the most prolific offensive skilled big perimeter player ever.” And Durant makes a compelling case, every time he steps foot on the court, to validate those ballyhooed remarks.