NBA Finals: Texas coach Rick Barnes said OKC Thunder's Kevin Durant would be world's best

by Jason Kersey Published: June 14, 2012

When Kevin Durant was preparing to enter the 2007 NBA Draft, his college coach, Texas' Rick Barnes, made a bold prediction.

He said Durant would be the best player in the world by the time he was 25.

Today, Durant is 23 and already is in that conversation.

“That's my fault, because I underestimated him,” Barnes said.

Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder are preparing for Thursday's Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. The Thunder won Game 1 105-94, with Durant scoring 36 points.

Barnes answered several questions about Durant on the Big 12 coaches' teleconference Thursday morning.

The Texas coach reflected on the pre-draft criticism Durant received about his perceived lack of strength.

“I always keep thinking back about people saying he couldn't bench press 185 pounds,” Barnes said.

“I said, ‘I don't know how many times he can bench press 185, but one thing I do know he will do and can do: he can put that world championship trophy over the top of his head.”

Barnes also coached Thunder reserve Royal Ivey and Heat reserve Dexter Pittman when they were Longhorns.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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