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February 7, 2007

So far, there's been no stopping Durant

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Man-to-man defense hasn't worked. Zone defenses haven't worked. The triangle and two hasn't worked.

Texas' opponents are throwing every defensive game plan in the book at star freshman Kevin Durant, and little has worked.

"He's the best freshman and one of the best players I've ever seen," Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie said. "I don't think anyone has figured anything out. I think it's going to take NBA players to slow him down, and I doubt if they're going to do a very good job either."

Gillipsie said that before Durant scored 28 points and grabbed 15 rebounds against his team in the Aggies' 100-82 win Monday night.

After averaging 34.5 points and 16 rebounds in two games, Durant has been named Rivals.com's National Freshman of the Week for the third time this year.

He has an early start on next week's award after his performance against the Aggies. He recorded his Big 12-record 14th double-double this season in the loss Monday night.

Durant all but sealed the award on Jan. 31 against Texas Tech with the first 30-point, 20-rebound performance in Texas history.

He followed that with 32 points and nine rebounds in the 73-72 loss to Kansas State on Saturday. Durant shot 28 of 50 (56 percent) from the floor for the week.

"I know people have tried to do different things (defensively)," Texas assistant coach Russ Springmann said. "Some people have face-guarded him. Some people have tried to be physical with him. … To Kevin's credit and his teammates' credit, he's continued to move and play in the flow of the game and his teammates have done a great job of paying attention to where he is and trying to find him when he's open."

Durant vs. Anthony
A look at the freshman seasons of current Texas star Kevin Durant and former Syracuse star Carmelo Anthony:
Durant 2006-07 Anthony 2002-03
6-9/225 pounds 6-8/220 pounds
23 GP 35 GP
25.4 ppg 22.2 ppg
11.5 rpg 10 rpg
48.9 % FG 45.3% FG
39.4% 3-pt. FG 33.7% 3-pt. FG
Durant has found himself open more often that not, and he has drawn comparisons to another top-notch freshman who carried his team deep in the NCAA Tournament – former Syracuse forward Carmelo Anthony.

Springmann is an appropriate choice to make the comparison. He was on Rick Barnes' staff in 2000-03 when Syracuse beat Texas 95-84 in the Final Four in Anthony's only season with the Orange. Anthony and his teammates won the national championship.

"Kevin is scoring more than Carmelo did. Carmelo might have had some other veteran players on his team. Carmelo is a very versatile player who can play in and score and definitely play on perimeter. Kevin probably has higher 3-point percentage," Springmann said. "I hope he can do for us what Carmelo did for them."

Other nominees for National Freshman of the Week were:

• Iowa guard Tyler Smith put his team in NCAA Tournament contention with 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists in a 69-62 win at Michigan on Jan. 31 and 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in a 81-75 win over Indiana at home on Saturday. He made all 10 of his free-throw attempts against the Hoosiers.

Freshman of the Week
Players named Rivals.com National Freshman of the Week from the 2006-2007 season.
Jan. 1-7: Kevin Durant, Texas
Jan. 8-14: Kevin Durant, Texas
Jan. 15-21: Scottie Reynolds, Villanova
Jan. 22-28: Brook Lopez, Stanford
• West Virginia forward Da'Sean Butler has helped the Mountaineers to an 18-4 start with a pair of road wins this week. He scored 17 points in an 89-83 win at Rutgers on Jan. 31 and 21 points in 81-70 win at Seton Hall on Saturday. He was 14 of 23 from the field during the week

• Stanford forward Brook Lopez matched a career-high 20 points with 12 rebounds and five blocks in 90-86 loss to Gonzaga on Jan. 31. He followed that with 19 points, and seven rebounds in a 90-71 win over Cal on Saturday

• N.C. State forward Brandon Costner had nine points and 11 rebounds 70-51 win at Virginia Tech on Jan. 31 and 15 points and 11 rebounds 83-79 win over North Carolina on Saturday.



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