Sources Confirm Durant Departure

I'm finally at a point where I can talk about what I was told by three different people I talked to on Sunday. I'll try my best to qualify everything to the greatest extent that I can, but I'm not in a position to talk about everything (or everyone) that came up.

I'll note, too, that I don't have legions of people whispering this stuff in my ear. I don't spend much of my time talking to sources well-connected to UT or professional athletes. But I did spend a lot of time on Sunday digging for this, because I care about the outcome.

Durant Is Going Pro

Which you already guessed by now. I was able to get confirmation that the Draft Express note that was filed on Friday is accurate, that Durant has made up his mind, and that he intends to hold a press conference on Tuesday of this week.

The timing of the announcement is a bit hard to figure, and Gerry Hamilton of Orangebloods noted that he hasn't heard anything about a presser on Tuesday. So, who knows? My source may have been wrong and an announcement may be a little farther in the future. [UPDATE, 2:30 p.m.: Gerry just posted a note confirming that he's now heard that there will be a press conference on Tuesday or Wednesday.]

What we do know is that there are some people who say they are "100% sure" that Durant has made the decision to enter the draft. And not as in "test the waters." As in: gone.

Why?

I think the most interesting thing I learned on Sunday was that there were two factors more than any others that made Durant decide to go pro. First, all the notes from Gerry Hamilton saying that the decision was a "family one" were accurate. Durant ultimately sat down with his parents and, upon gauging their feelings, felt like turning pro to take care of his parents was the right thing to do. And that doing it now was more prudent than doing it in a year.

I was told that KD's desire to stay in Austin was very, very real, and that the only thing which kept him from coming back was a desire to set up his parents for retirement now, without any risk of  something going wrong.

The second thing I was told from a different source caught me by surprise. It appears as though the recent injury to Shaun Livingston in which he dislocated his knee influenced the family's thinking. Durant and Livingston are similarly built players, and watching that gruesome, potentially career-ending injury gave the family the jitters. While the decision to turn pro was about the family, the family's feelings appear to have been influenced by Livingston's injury.

So it goes.

DJ Augustin

I was told that Texas fans need not worry about Augustin leaving, though we shouldn't discount the possibility. Apparently, Augustin already knows which agent he will use when he decides to go pro - Houston-based agent John Hamilton (who also reps LSU's Glen Davis). There was no suggestion that DJ has signed with Hamilton, only that when he does decide to go pro down the road, Hamilton is going to be his agent. (Don't ask me how this guy knows this.)

Dogus Balbay

Perhaps the most interesting part of my conversations on Sunday surrounded the last person I talked to, who moved through some other information on Durant before switching topics to Balbay. I was told that there's not nearly enough hype surrounding his commitment to Texas and he doesn't understand why. In his eyes, he's a huge pickup for Texas and will be a tremendous boost to our backcourt.

Coincidentally, Gerry Hamilton filed a note today on Balbay as well, letting us know that Balbay is expected to sign during the spring period, but that the process is on hold until TOEFL scores can be graded. Six to eight weeks, according to Gerry.

A Couple Quick Hits

--"You guys dodged a bullet with Kentucky. Barnes may not be a tactical genius, but he's got the wheels greased down there. Hold on to him tight."

--"I watched a lot of Texas games because of Durant, and the player who just killed you guys, but who I think is going to be a really strong player in three years is Justin Mason. Watch how he develops; I wish he had two more inches, but he's a strong player. Probably a fringe draft prospect, but he'll be a very good college player by the time he's done."

--"Do you really call him Bad Connor and Good Connor? That's hilarious."

And that's it. KD's outta here, DJ's supposedly coming back, and it's time to get pumped for Balbay.

--PB--

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