June 25, 2007

Before they were stars: Kevin Durant

Once upon a time they were just kids.

They weren't yet stooping to get through doorways or hitting jumpers from everywhere. They weren't yet identified as future millionaires.

But they already possessed the type of talent and desire that would allow them eventually to realize their dreams.

As part of its NBA Draft coverage, Rivals.com has ventured to find the stories behind the stories. We have talked to the high school coaches of potential draft picks to ask where these players came from and what separated them from the rest of the crop.

Don't be surprised if you find some common traits in each of these prospects.

Kevin Durant, F, Texas
High school: Rockville (Md.) Montrose Christian Coach: Stu Vetter
When was the first time you thought Kevin could be a pro? Kevin had all the things you look for in a player that's going to play for a long time. He had the size. The thing that Kevin has is basketball skills. It's not just the size. Kevin would be an outstanding player if he was 6-feet tall. He can shoot the ball. He can handle the ball. He can do all the things a guard can do. You put that with the height and the desire to be good and you have the makings of a great player. I saw him as a young player. Going from his sophomore year to junior year, he started to excel and grow and do the things to become a great player. At Montrose, he was one of the hardest-working players that we had.

What is your favorite game memory of him? Watching him every day in practice was even better. You see things in practice not a lot of things people get to see. Certainly one of the games would be against Oak Hill in his final game as a senior. We beat Oak Hill and they were No. 1 in the country and they had won 59 in a row. It was one of those games that you remember for a long time. We were down 16 in the fourth quarter. We came back and he was part of our comeback. We tipped it in at the buzzer.

How often to you keep in touch with him? We still talk. He was at the school recently. He came by to talk to some people. We keep in touch just like we do with all our players.

What is your draft prediction? My feeling is whoever doesn't draft him No. 1 may regret it for a long time. Greg Oden is a great player. Players like him don't come along too often. To me, Kevin Durant is a sure pick at No. 1.


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