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April 10, 2007
AUSTIN, Texas - Kevin Durant is done with college.
Durant, an 18-year-old Texas freshman and The Associated Press Player of the Year, said Tuesday he's leaving the Longhorns to enter the NBA draft.
"I enjoyed my year here at Texas," Durant said in a statement released before his news conference. "All the fans and everyone here at Texas made me feel right at home, considering I was so far from home. I will always be a Longhorn and never forget what the people of Texas have done for me."
After an All-American season in which he swept the major player of the year awards, few expected Durant to play another season in college.
Now the question is whether he'll be the first pick of the June 28 draft. Durant and Ohio State's freshman center Greg Oden - who has not yet said if he'll leave college - are considered the likely first two picks.
"He's made history," Texas coach Rick Barnes said Monday night at the team banquet. "No one's done what he did this year. He swept every major award as a freshman. It's a year we may not ever see again by anybody. It's remarkable."
Players have until April 29 to declare for the June 28 draft in New York.
Durant, the Big 12 player and freshman of the year, shot 47 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 82 percent from the foul line. He averaged 36 minutes and also led the Longhorns in steals and blocks. He had 20 double-doubles and scored at least 30 points a Big 12-record 11 times.
He averaged 25.8 points and 11.1 rebounds - one of three players in the country to average more than 20 points and 10 rebounds.
He led Texas, which started four freshmen, to a third-place finish in the Big 12 and to the second round of the NCAA tournament, where the Longhorns lost to Southern California. The Longhorns finished 25-10.
Durant is the fourth Longhorn in two years to leave early. P.J. Tucker, LaMarcus Aldridge and Daniel Gibson all entered the 2006 draft after leading Texas within a game of the Final Four.