Sonics' Durant honored as rookie of the year

Friday, May 2, 2008

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- Kevin Durant was so excited to learn he had just won the NBA Rookie of the Year award, he went back to sleep.

That's what seven months and 82 games -- more than double the amount the lanky 19-year-old had played in any previous season -- can do to a teenager.

Fatigue that wasn't apparent while Durant soared in Seattle this season finally caught up to the SuperSonics' star this week. Then his mother, Wanda Pratt, woke him up with the news that he had just joined mentor LeBron James plus Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Oscar Robertson and Wilt Chamberlain in a legendary legacy of rookie award winners.

"I was asleep. It was a LONG season," Durant said Thursday with a smile about Seattle's 20-62 disaster, the worst season in team history. "My mom woke me up when she got the call. She screamed. I was happy.

"Then I went back to sleep."

Durant, the national college player of the year at Texas and the No. 2 overall draft pick last year, was as dreamy as advertised during an otherwise nightmare season in Seattle.

Despite being the only man opposing teams schemed to stop, the 6-foot-9 Durant averaged 20.3 points, 7.7 more than any other rookie. He was the only rookie to lead his team in five categories -- points, blocks, steals, free throws made and free-throw percentage. Durant blocked more shots than any other guard in the league (75).

The rest of Seattle's season involved losses and lawsuits.

Sonics owner Clay Bennett recently got league approval to move the team to Oklahoma City. Seattle has a trial date next month, its effort to make the Sonics play inside KeyArena for the final two seasons of their lease.

"It's good to shine some light on our team. You know, a lot of people aren't real fond of our team right now," Durant said.

He recently purchased a home in suburban Seattle. His mother lives with him. She and Durant's father, Wayne Pratt, joined four other family members at Thursday's announcement.

"I love Seattle. My home's here. My mother's here," Durant said, acknowledging where he plays next season is out of his control.

Durant received 90 first-place votes (545 points) from a panel of 125 writers and broadcasters. Atlanta's Al Horford finished second with 390 points, and Houston's Luis Scola was third with 146.

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