OU basketball notebook: Texas coach Rick Barnes says Kevin Durant happy in OKC

Thunder star visits with former coach at team hotel on Monday night. Barnes said he is confident fame will not change Durant.
by Michael Baldwin Published: February 14, 2012

After Texas' 69-58 win over Oklahoma on Tuesday night, coach Rick Barnes was asked about Thunder star Kevin Durant, who accompanied the Longhorns on a trip during the NBA lockout and visited Barnes' hotel on Monday night.

“What people in Oklahoma City should love is the fact he's always told me, ‘Coach, if I had my preference I would love to play for one team my entire career in the NBA,'” Barnes said. “And I know he loves being here. He loves it here. He loves Sam Presti. He loves what they're doing.

“He tells me people here are pretty good people. The fact is you guys got to enjoy him a little bit more than we did.”

Barnes said he was confident fame wouldn't change Durant.

“When we were recruiting him, what we actually said to him was, ‘You should want it all, not just what you do on the basketball court, but you have a chance to make an impact on a lot of people's lives with the way that you handle yourself,'” Barnes said.

“What he does on the basketball court will never cease to amaze me because I know how hard he works. But I get asked all the time, ‘Is he as good a person as he comes across?' I tell them, ‘He's better.' He's one of the best teammates we've ever had at Texas. It's not even close.”

CAN TEXAS CONTINUE NCAA STREAK?

Bracketologist Joe Lunardi has Texas as a No. 12 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Texas has made 13 consecutive NCAA Tournament trips under Barnes. Before Barnes' arrival, Texas' longest streak was four straight NCAA bids (twice).

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by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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