Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill
He has not even begun to fill out an athletic and lively body. Has size 18 shoes, the perimeter touch of a small guard, loads of untapped potential and has shown consistent improvement. The strength of this kid is he is a 6-9 perimeter forward with a legit face up game who is going to wind up being a combo forward on the college level. We're talking about a guy who is just a pup, relatively speaking.
Weakness is his weakness. He's got a thin rail-type body and it prevents him from doing much on the inside. At his size you're going to want him to be a better rebounder -- you're going to want him to do some things on the blocks and he's not at that stage yet. If he's going to be a perimeter player, he'll need be better off the bounce going to the basket and he's not there yet. This summer Vernon Macklin really knocked him off his game in Augusta and he did it because he brought it to him physically and Kevin wasn't ready for that.
My signature Kevin Durant performance isn't from this summer, rather it was probably at the Slam Dunk to the Beach last winter, which was the second time I had seen him. Basically you have a sophomore with that kind of size, stepping out making threes and most of the people in the building hadn't heard of him. So all of a sudden the lights go on in everyone's head at the same time that this kid is a pretty good prospect -- and Steve Robinson was sitting in the stands and you can guess at that moment in December North Carolina's interest was peaked.
I think in college, when you put a 6-9 guy on the floor you're going to expect him to help out on the glass. I think Kevin long term in the NBA it'll be a different story, but that kind of size requires a commitment to rebounding on the college level and that comes with strength. And with strength he'll get more confidence in his body and what he can do.
No. 7 -- Why rank a guy so high despite some deficiencies in his game? Because potential and upside are so imporant and he's in the process of realizing it and he's clearly getting better and better. As he gets stronger he'll be able to more diversify his game.
This is a big year for Kevin Durant. He'll be in the national spotlight at Oak Hill Academy now and will have a whole set of different expectations this year than last year. People will want to see improvement and growth physically and in his game. So this is an important year for him. As for his NBA stock two years from now? It's a concern for colleges and a bright spot for him. Any time you have someone with the tools that he has, he's a risk to go. It's safe to say anyone that has seen him play doesn't expect him to be a four-year college player. It'd be a pretty big upset if Durant ends up playing four years of college basketball.