Catching Up With Kevin Durant

For Kevin Durant, there is no such thing as an off-season. Or so it appears that way.

He has yet to take a vacation, despite his mother’s attempts at convincing him to do so.

By summer’s end, Durant will have been on both coasts and possibly every time zone in the U.S.

Durant has worked out individually back home in Washington, D.C., while also playing in the famed Goodman League, which features some of the best street ballers from D.C. and has as much street cred as the Rucker Park in Harlem.

There, Durant played alongside childhood friend and Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley, as well as soon-to-be rookie guard Ty Lawson, whom the Denver Nuggets acquired in a draft day trade.

From D.C., Durant and Co. headed back to the University of Texas, where he continued to pursue his degree while working out with current and former Longhorns. His biggest homework assignment to date: a 20-page book report due in a few weeks.

Durant, who was back in town for a basketball camp and Special Olympics event, will also try to squeeze in time to see his Thunder teammates at the Las Vegas Summer League.

Only after all of that might the Thunder forward consider taking a break.

Durant spoke to the media about those things and more on Tuesday.

What do you think about your new teammates (guards James Harden and Robert Vaden, and center B.J. Mullens) added in the NBA Draft?
“I love the guys. I met them yesterday, and first off they seem like great guys off the floor and they’re players we need in our locker room. On the floor, they play hard on both ends. That’s what you need. So I like how they fit in with us.”

What stands out about each of them?
“Versatility. (Harden is) a guy who can play the point through the (small forward). He passes first. He plays defense, is strong, can get to the basket. He brings a lot to our team. B.J. is a guy who’s very athletic, big, someone who can block shots. It’s something we need on this team. And Robert’s a shooter. Those are the kind of guys we need. It was a great draft for us and I’m excited for the season.”

What would surprise fans about Harden?
“He’s very strong. People don’t think he’s athletic but he is. He can shoot the basketball. He can pass very well – extremely well. I think that’s the best part of his game. And he’s a taller guard who can play the point for us as well, so I think with him we can use a big lineup, and we’re going to use that to our advantage this year.”

How much progress have you made in becoming stronger and adding muscle?
“A lot of progress. I’ve just been working every day. You don’t see results overnight, so if I just continue to work hard it’s going to show and like I said, every day I’ve been getting in the weight room and been trying to help my game out. It’s just the same things but I’m just doing more and more (of it). Every day, even during the weekends. I’m eating better, getting more meals and gaining weight, so hopefully I’ll come back stronger and better.”

What’s some of the toughest workouts you’ve done?
“Back in school in Texas we work out for almost two hours in the weight room, because it’s not just weights, it’s agility stuff, stretching … it’s always tough, man. There’s days when I’ve sweated through my whole uniform, and that’s the kind of days I need. For me to become a great player, I’ve got to continue to work.”

How are your classes going?
“It’s a little tough on me but I’m getting through it. I’m taking one. It’s a child adolescence and adult health class. It’s tough. I’ve got a 20-page paper due in a couple of weeks. It’s a book report.”

What’s it like being back on campus? Are you treated differently?
“I just walk around like I’m a regular student. Nobody really bothers me. I walk around with the team, so they think I’m a part of the team now, so it’s been a lot of fun. I just feel like a student again. Going to study hall, going to classes, it’s always cool.”

With the team’s one-year anniversary coming up, how would you look back on what was accomplished during one year in this city?
“It went so fast. This time last year I was on my way to go to Seattle just to chill out and relax. Then I got that call that we’re moving here. It all went so quickly. I love it here. My family loves it here. All my teammates do as well. We’re looking forward to next season.”

What’s next for you after this camp?
“Working out, just keep working back in D.C., here, Texas, a couple of places. Just getting as much work in as possible. Trying to do that book report. Just trying to enjoy the rest of my summer.”

What can you tell us about your Goodman League appearance?
“Yeah, I played in it once last weekend. It was good. Every time out there it’s fun to play in front of the people I grew up with. I did all right, too.”

Have you visited any Thunder teammates?
“No, I haven’t. I’ve just been in school. Russ has been in school and Jeff as well. So it’s been tough. But I think in August I’m going to try to get out to L.A. for a couple of weeks. Jeff is back at home so it’s easy to see him. D.J. and Kyle are here as well, so it’s easier to come here. But I’m going to try to get out to L.A.”

What do you hope to take out of playing with USA Basketball later in July?
“Just getting better. It’s like a big workout. Just getting better, preparing for the season, playing against the best players in the world and having fun. Just interacting with the guys you go against every night will be fun.”

Contact Chris Silva