2007 John R. Wooden Award Winner Kevin Durant is Hero for USA Basketball Three other ’08 John R. Wooden All Americans also on dominating USA squad.
Though just 21 years old, 2007 Wooden Award winner and current NBA star Kevin Durant dominated play at the recently concluded FIBA World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. Durant’s string of stellar outings included a 28-point performance in the finals, an 81-64 win over the host nation, Turkey. With the world title, the U.S. collected the only automatic qualifying berth for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
“My only option was to come out here and get a gold, and it feels really good to bring this back to the States,” Durant told the New York Times.
His 38 points in a semifinal win over Lithuania is an American record in World Championship competition. Durant was named MVP of the tournament, averaging 22.8 ppg., 6.1 rpg., and shooting 55.6 percent from the field, 45.6 percent from 3-point and 91.2 percent from the foul line.
Durant was the first freshman to win the John R. Wooden Award, when he dominated collegiate basketball as a swingman at Texas. Durant was joined on the USA Basketball team this year by three fellow 2008 Wooden All Americans: Kevin Love (UCLA), Derrick Rose (Memphis) and Stephen Curry (Davidson), who was also honored in 2009. Rose averaged 7.2 points in starting all nine tournament games for the United States. Love averaged 5.7 points and 4.9 rebounds, while Curry added 4.6 points and shot 38% from three-point range.
The USA Women’s National team is now competing for a world championship in Spain. Among the finalists for the roster are former Wooden Award winners Sylvia Fowles (injured), Maya Moore and Tina Charles, and 2010 John R. Wooden All American Jayne Appel.