Kevin Durant Hooked

Kevin Durant is the No. 2 player in the country and he made it official where he's headed. The Maryland native and Oak Hill Academy forward is looking to help Texas win its first-ever national title.

Texas was one of the first ones in and the last one standing for Kevin Durant.

Back when Durant took the court without a rep, prior to his rapid ascent to's No. 2 player in the nation, Longhorns assistant Russell Springmann was calling his high school coach.

Three years later, Durant has committed to Texas.

``The coaching staff really set themselves apart and I felt most comfortable with them," Durant said. "I just felt it was the best fit for me."

``It's going to shock the world," added Durant's father, Wayne Pratt.

Those claiming to be in-the-know had the 6-foot-8 ½, 200-pound Durant pegged to follow his Oak Hill Academy and D.C. Blue Devils teammate, Tywon Lawson, to Chapel Hill. Others figured he'd land in Storrs, Conn., and become the "next" Rudy Gay.

Here's what one so-called media "insider" speculated recently: "The word on the street is that when 6'10 Kevin Durant from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA gets back from playing in the NIKE Junior World Basketball Tournament in Douai, France, a verbal commitment to North Carolina over Connecticut and Texas is imminent."

Admittedly, Durant was close to pulling the trigger for the Tar Heels soon after his official visit to UNC. However, Durant, who almost didn't even take an official visit to Texas, went to Austin and was blown away.

``Everybody thought I was going to North Carolina, but it wasn't just about going somewhere with great tradition," Durant said. "It was about me picking a school that fits me."

``They (Texas) were the first ones to show him interest and he never forgot that," added Taras Brown, Durant's coach and trainer since he was 8 years old. "He's a loyal kid and he said that they have been with him the entire time when other schools came and went."

``I thought it was the perfect fit," Pratt said. "Russell Springmann is one of the best recruiters in the business. He did everything by the books and did it the right way."

However, Springmann, who grew up near Durant's hometown in Maryland, was far from the lone selling point. The rail-thin Durant, whose biggest weakness is his strength, was enamored by the success of UT's strength coach, Todd Wright. He also felt comfortable with the rest of the coaching staff, including head man Rick Barnes, and also wanted a chance to bring a national title to a school in search of its first crown.

``I saw that they haven't won a national title," Durant said. "If I come in, work hard and listen to Coach Barnes and the coaching staff, I feel I can help them win a national title."

``The strength coach was a big part of my decision," he added. "He showed me the facilities, the program and what he's been able to do for former players. He impressed me more than the other strength coaches."

The skilled Durant, who averaged 20.6 points and nine rebounds per game as a junior at Oak Hill this past season, didn't make the decision with a news conference. That's not his style. He called all three of the coaching staffs and will do a handful or so interviews via the phone.

``He's down to earth," Brown said. ``He takes compliments and criticism the same way. He's very humble and part of that is because of his youthfulness."

Durant is 16. He doesn't turn 17 until Sept. 29.

Texas realizes that despite Durant saying all the right things about wanting to play college basketball, unless the NBA implements an age limit rule prior to next year's draft, there's a strong possibility that Durant's official to Austin is the last time the staff sees him on campus.

However, regardless of what happens, the Longhorns have hauled in arguably their highest-rated recruit in the history of the program.

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