Thunder players supporting Durant, new shoeKevin Durant has been honored by his peers with a form of respect rarely seen throughout the NBA — his signature shoe on the feet of his teammates. Forward Jeff Green wore Durant’s Nike KD 1 in Friday’s game against Toronto, and guards Russell Westbrook, Chuck Atkins and Damien Wilkins, along with forward D.J. White have also worn the shoe in practice in recent days. "They asked me for them, so I gave them to the them,” Durant said. "It’s a good honor because they could be wearing anybody’s shoes, but they decided to support me, so it feels good. Hopefully, they continue to wear them.” Said Green: "I’m just trying to support my teammate and be a good teammate. And they’re comfortable.”
IT FIGURESAnother sign that Durant has turned into one of the NBA’s big-time players — an action figure. McFarlane SportsPicks, the leading manufacturer of plastic figures depicting pro sports’ top players, released its Durant piece this week. Durant is featured in a white Thunder home uniform with a basketball in his hands. The figure is in the $9.99-$11.99 price range and can be found in the toy department at retail stores. Some figures are already in Oklahoma City.
MENSAH-BONSU NEARLY JOINED THUNDERBefore joining Toronto earlier this month, forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu nearly signed a contract with the Thunder, according to ESPN.com. Mensah-Bonsu, 6-foot-10, 240 pounds, was waived by San Antonio before the completion of a 10-day contract and immediately signed with Toronto. The George Washington product called it a "toss-up” between the Raptors and the Thunder, citing his close ties to forwards Durant and Green, who share Washington D.C. connections.
BROOKS ON GRAHAMThunder coach Scott Brooks complimented former Oklahoma State forward Joey Graham, now in his fourth season with the Raptors, on the way he plays and how he’s continued to develop. "I think he plays hard,” Brooks said. "Watching him on tape and watching him throughout the year live, he competes every time down the court and I like that in him. It seems like he’s improved his outside jump shot the last couple of years. So he’s improved, and that’s what you want to do. They’re doing a good job with him. Every year he’s gotten better.”
WESTHEAD TAKES OREGON JOBFormer Thunder assistant coach Paul Westhead has been named the head coach of Oregon women’s basketball team. Westhead left the Thunder in November when longtime friend and colleague P.J. Carlesimo was relieved of his head coaching duties.
BRIEFLY...As expected, Nenad Krstic rejoined the team in Toronto after getting an excused absence from Wednesday and Thursday’s practices for personal reasons. Krstic started the game at center. ... Several Thunder players are expected to attend tonight’s Elite Eight matchup between Villanova and Pittsburgh. BY DARNELL MAYBERRY