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Jenni Carlson: Thunder's Kevin Durant is working hard this summer

by Jenni Carlson Modified: July 1, 2009 at 4:53 am •  Published: July 1, 2009

Wanda Pratt wants her son to take a vacation this summer.

Doesn't have to be long.

"I just want him to take two days, three days and just relax," she said.

She knows, after all, how hard he works. The hours are long, and the stress is high. The summer is supposed to be his down time, but he's still waking early and going hard and showing no signs of slowing down.

Kevin Durant doesn't intend to either.

The Thunder superstar is lifting weights a couple of hours every day. Ditto for getting in the gym. He's also taking a summer school class in child, adolescent and adult health at Texas, where he played college basketball, and has a 20-page paper due soon.

This week, he is working the morning and afternoon sessions of his three-day youth basketball camp at Heritage Hall before going to the Thunder's practice facility for workouts.

In a few weeks, he is heading to the USA Basketball national team minicamp.

Hardly sounds like summer vacation.

"It's long days," Durant conceded Tuesday while taking a break from his camp, "but I'm glad I'm doing it. You don't see results overnight. I know if I continue to work hard, it's going to show."

Much has been made in recent days of the players who the Thunder drafted last week, and with the free-agent market now open, much will be made in coming days if the Thunder make any trades or acquire any veterans. But the truth is, none of those players would have any more impact on the team next season than an improved Kevin Durant would.

Barring some unexpected blockbuster trade, nothing is more important for the Thunder this summer than the team's best player getting even better.

Durant is committed to doing just that.

He returned to Austin last month, and for two hours a day, he entrusts himself to the strength and conditioning coaches at Texas. They push him through weights and agility and drills of all kinds.

by Jenni Carlson
Reporter and Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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