Budding NBA star Kevin Durant spent a good chunk of his summer back on campus at the University of Texas, where he won five national player of the year awards in 2007 following his only season in Austin.
You have the option to train anywhere in the country during the offseason. Why return to campus and the 100-degree weather in Texas?
First off, I just like to be around the guys I came into college with. We built a bond together and are like brothers. I wouldn’t choose any other place. Second, Coach Todd (Wright, UT’s strength and conditioning coach for basketball) knows everything about my body. It’s a chance to get stronger and more flexible.
It seems like there’s a big emphasis on having guys who went on to the NBA from Texas (Royal Ivey, LaMarcus Aldridge, TJ Ford, etc.) come back and train in the summer.
When you’re in the offseason and playing against some of the better guys in the NBA and getting a great workout and getting to go back to school, you can’t beat that. It’s like killing three birds with one stone.
Last summer you came in with the goal to get a little bigger and stronger. How has your training evolved through last season and through the summer?
I’ve been more aware how important training is throughout the whole season. Eating right and lifting three or four times a week will give me the extra push.
How much training do you do during the regular season with Oklahoma City?
It’s tough because we practice and play 82 games, but I try to get three lifts in a week. We need 10 a month. I try to do the small things — ankle mobility, stretching, daily massages, cold tub — to keep my body right.
You did a lot of work with Todd Wright over the summer in Austin. How much interaction does he have with your trainers in Oklahoma City when it comes to keeping your workouts somewhat consistent from the season to the offseason?
They talk a lot. Coach Todd gets things from Coach Dwight (Daub, Oklahoma City’s Director of Sports Performance) and Coach Dwight gets things from Coach Todd about me and my body. They use each other’s [knowledge] to my advantage. I’ve learned that everything is connected. If I mess up my hip, it’s gonna mess my knee up and if I mess up my knee, it’ll mess up my ankle. We do a lot of things with our feet just to keep that mobility and flexibility.
Off the court, you’re pretty mild mannered but when you get on the court you can get ferocious. How do you transition into that mindset?
I wasn’t really like that until I got drafted actually. Every time I step on the court I try to find the smallest things that make me mad about someone else. I might be playing with a guy who says ‘good defense’ to a guy that’s guarding me when I miss a shot. That gets me ticked off and I want to kill the guy guarding me, point blank. It’s all about business, even in pickup. I feel like if I do that (in the offseason) it’s going to translate to the games.
That’s interesting. I think there are probably some guys who lose that desire once they get a big contract.
Exactly. Once I got drafted it didn’t stop. It’s just the beginning. If I want to stick around this league, I’ve got to be a different player. I have to work each day and each summer to get better.
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