|Already the best...|
Further, it's not as though the competition for this honor is easily surpassed. TJ Ford gave Texas two elite seasons and propelled the team to the Final Four. Ford, for his part, was the national player of the year at the end of his sophomore season. I've no doubt that had he returned for his junior campaign, the Horns would have won the national championship.
But here we are - again, only fourteen games in - and Durant is already the best. Whether he leads Texas deep into the tournament or not, it's becoming increasingly apparent that this is the best basketball player Texas has ever had, and may ever have. Durant, already, as a freshman, is seventh in the nation in scoring (22.6 points per game) and fifth in rebounding (10.6). He's so well-rounded that he defies classification. He's neither a forward nor a guard, though he excels both around the rim and on the perimeter. His defense, a liability when he arrived on the Forty Acres, has improved dramatically.
His performance has been so good, so quickly, the only remaining questions about Kevin Durant are whether he'll be drafted #1 or #2 overall and how far he can lead Texas in the NCAA tournament. KD has been so good that the relatively undersized Longhorns rank 18th nationally in rebound margin. That's directly because of what Durant brings to each and every game - both as a scoring threat and as an inside presence. Doubts about his strength and interior presence are ridiculous - there's just nothing he can't do, and do well.
After last season's Rose Bowl, I admitted that I was astounded to say that Vince Young had surpassed TJ Ford on my list as all-time favorite Texas Longhorn. Well, Kevin Durant's not in that conversation yet, but I'm equally astounded to say that Kevin Durant has surpassed TJ Ford as the best Texas Longhorn to ever play hoops at the school.
I don't think there's any way around it: he's the best Texas Longhorn basketball player ever.
In all likelihood, it's one and done at Texas for Kevin. Heaps of money await him whenever he declares for the professional ranks. Take this time, then, to enjoy his time here. Appreciate each game, each thunderous dunk, each eye-popping three pointer from twenty-five feet. We're witnessing something incredibly special. Something - like Vince Young - we may never see again.