Kevin Durant helped to reshape the image of the Texas basketball program during an up and down run in the 2006-07 season.
Back in the day under former head coach Rick Barnes, the Texas basketball program had hopes of contending for a National Championship when star forwards like LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Durant led the way on the Forty Acres. Oh how things have changed since then.
But the fortunes of the Texas hoops program could be looking up this coming season with a very talented roster that they bring back. Current head coach Shaka Smart has little excuse to not make the roster he brings back for next season work.
He could have the best stretch forward, with the highest NBA ceiling, making his way to the Forty Acres since KD for next season. Five-star uber-talented Vandegrift power forward and Austin native Greg Brown is likely to be the only signing in the 2020 recruiting class that Smart brings in this offseason.
However, run it back to the 2006-07 season, and there was a lot of hope that the Longhorns could find magic on the hardwood and make another elusive run to the Final Four. Granted it was a long time since Texas last made a run to the Final Four (not since the 1940’s).
There were a lot of teams under Barnes that had more than enough talent to make it to the Final Four, but none of them were able to get over the hump. And less could be said about Smart’s teams over the course of the last five years.
That team that was led by KD really should’ve made it a lot further than the Round of 32. KD’s team back in 2006-07 featured top flight stars even outside of himself like guard DJ Augustin and big man Damion James. They finished up the season with a record of 25-10 (12-4 Big 12).
KD was the powering force to the Longhorns success that was found during that season. He was a true force to be reckoned with and one of the all-time great one-and-done players of this era. KD won the Naismith Award during the 2006-07 campaign, while managing .280 win shares per 40 minutes and and a 58.7 true shooting percentage.
There were even more impressive numbers that KD posted during the 2006-07 season. In the Big 12 alone, KD led the conference in total blocks (67), blocks per game (1.9), total rebounds (390), and rebounds per game (11.1). Some of the per game averages that KD posted for the Longhorns were nothing short of incredible.
A 3.5 percent block rate and 16.5 percent rebounding rate also showed just how effective KD was in these two areas during his freshman season in college. Most assume that he is just a solid scorer that can grab a few blocks, rebounds, and assists, along the way, he put on display his true value in his one year with Texas.
KD also averaged 25.8 points per game, 1.3 assists, and 1.9 steals during his freshman season. He shot better than 50 percent from two-point range and better than 40 percent from downtown. The Big 12 saw what he could do before he became the second overall pick of the Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft.