USA Basketball Names Kevin Durant 2010 Male Athlete Of The Year
Dec. 15, 2010 • Colorado Springs, Colo.
After helping the USA earn a 9-0 record and the gold medal at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and taking home tournament MVP honors in the process, Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder) today was announced as the 2010 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year.
"It means a lot," Durant said. "My goal was to represent my country to the best of my ability. I really appreciate all of the coaches and players that I got to share that experience with. I am very humbled by this honor."
Durant averaged a team-best and U.S. World Championship scoring record 22.8 points per game to help lead the USA to the FIBA World Championship gold medal Aug. 28 - Sept. 12 in Istanbul, Turkey. Named MVP of the tournament, he also was a member of the five-person All-World Championship Team.
"Kevin brought maturity and a winning mindset to every practice and every game last summer," said Mike Krzyzewski, USA Men's National Team and Duke University head coach. "He was a critical part of our success, and his teammates wanted him to have the ball in critical situations. They knew he'd deliver, and he did repeatedly. Despite his level of accomplishment at such a young age, Kevin wants to be a better player at both ends of the court. He's motivated, and there's no ceiling on his game. He's a very special player and deserving of any honors he receives."
Durant will be submitted for the U.S. Olympic Committee's 2010 SportsMan of the Year Award, which is expected to be announced in January. The selection was made by the USA Basketball Board of Directors.
USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year Award Recipients
|2010||Kevin Durant||1994||Shaquille O'Neal|
|2009||James McAdoo||1993||Michael Finley|
|2008||USA Men's National Team||1992||1992 U.S. Olympic Team|
|2007||Jason Kidd||1991||Christian Laettner|
|2006||Carmelo Anthony||1990||Alonzo Mourning|
|2005||Shelden Williams||1989||Larry Johnson|
|2004||Sean May / Chris Paul||1988||Dan Majerle|
|2003||Tim Duncan||1987||Danny Manning|
|2002||Reggie Miller||1986||David Robinson|
|2001||Chris Duhon||1985||Chuck Person|
|2000||Alonzo Mourning||1984||Michael Jordan/Sam Perkins|
|1999||Gary Payton||1983||Michael Jordan|
|1998||Elton Brand||1982||Glenn Rivers|
|1997||Earl Boykins||1981||Kevin Boyle|
|1996|| Scottie Pippen
"Kevin's performance during the FIBA World Championship was incredible," said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball Executive Director/CEO. "He set several U.S. World Championship records, and was an integral part of our young team. USA Basketball is proud of Kevin and the entire team's effort."
Starting in all nine games played, Durant also contributed 6.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals per game in a team-high 28.2 minutes per game. He shot a sizzling 55.6 percent from the field (74-133 FGs), 44.6 percent from 3-point (26-57 3pt FGs) and 91.2 percent from the free throw line (31-34 FTs).
In addition to a USA World Championship scoring record with 22.8 points per game, he also established U.S. highs for points scored (205) and made and attempted field goals. He lists second all-time in U.S. records for attempted 3-point field goals, third for made 3-point field goals, fifth for made free throws, seventh for rebounds (55) and 10th for attempted free throws.
He set USA World Championship single-game records for points scored (38), field goals made and attempted (14-25 FGs) and 3-point field goals attempted (13).
He scored 12 or more points in all nine of the USA's games, and five times he recorded 20 or more points and led his team in scoring.
The USA open against Croatia and sailed to 106-78 win behind a balanced effort that saw Durant contribute 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Slovenia was next, and the USA earned a 99-77 victory as Durant scored 22 points to go with four rebounds, four assists and four steals. In its closest game of the World Championship, the USA held on to edge Brazil 70-68, and Durant led the Americans with 27 points and 10 rebounds. The USA posted an 88-51 victory over Iran, when Durant added 12 points and five rebounds, and closed preliminary play with a 92-57 win over Tunisia, which saw Durant score 14 points and grab four rebounds.
Moving into the eighth-finals round, the U.S. destroyed Angola 121-66 as Durant added 17 points. Facing Russia in a medal round quarterfinals clash, which as fate would have it was played 38 years to the day that the two teams played in the controversial 1972 Olympic gold medal game. Durant's 33 point scoring outburst and the USA's defense were the difference as the U.S. grinded out an 89-79 victory.
Durant continued to be unstoppable and behind his record setting 38-point performance (14-25 FGs, 5-12 3pt FGs, 5-5 FTs) and nine rebounds, the USA earned an impressive 89-74 semifinals win over previously unbeaten Lithuania.
Meeting host and undefeated Turkey in its final contest, Durant's 28 points, of which 20 came in the first two quarters, propelled the Americans to their first World Championship gold medal finish since 1994 as the USA finished a perfect 9-0 with a dominating 81-64 victory over Turkey.
Among all competitors in the 24-team field, Durant ranked first in 3-point field goals made and attempted; second in points scored and field goals made; tied for second in field goals attempted; third in points averaged and free throw percentage; sixth in field goal percentage; and tied for seventh in free throws made.
Prior to the World Championship, Durant helped the USA to a 4-0 exhibition record, including an 86-55 win over France, a 77-61 victory over Lithuania, a narrow 86-85 win over Spain and an 87-59 pounding of Greece. Durant averaged team highs of 17.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks to go along with his 1.8 assists and 1.0 steals per game during exhibition play.
With the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009-10, Durant helped his team to a 50-32 regular season record, which was a 27-win improvement from the previous season's 23-59 mark, a fourth place finish in the Western Conference Northwest Division and a berth into the 2010 NBA Playoffs. Durant started in all 82 games played and became the league's youngest scoring leader after averaging a league-leading 30.1 points to go along with his 7.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. He shot 47.6 percent from the field, 36.5 percent from 3-point and 90.0 from the foul line.
In addition to his No. 1 ranked 30.1 ppg., Durant led the NBA in minutes played, field goals made and attempted, free throws made and attempted, and listed second in efficiency rankings (27.96), sixth in free throw percentage, 22nd in steals, 25th in 3-point field goal attempts, 26th in rebounding, 27th in double-doubles (25).
Durant finished runner-up for the NBA's 2009-10 MVP Award and was selected All-NBA first team.
In its 30th year, the USA Basketball Athlete of the Year award has been garnered by notable athletes such as James McAdoo (2009), the USA Men's National Team (2008); Jason Kidd (2007); Carmelo Anthony (2006); Shelden Williams (2005); Sean May (2004 co-recipient); Chris Paul (2004 co-recipient); Tim Duncan (2003); Reggie Miller (2002); Chris Duhon (2001); Alonzo Mourning (2000 and 1990); Gary Payton (1999); Elton Brand (1998); Earl Boykins (1997); Scottie Pippen (1996 and as a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team); Ray Allen (1995); Shaquille O=Neal (1994); Michael Finley (1993); Christian Laettner (1991); Larry Johnson (1989); Dan Marjerle (1988); David Robinson (1986 and as a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team); Chuck Person (1985); Michael Jordan (1984 co-recipient, 1983 and as a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team), Sam Perkins (1984 co-recipient); Glenn Rivers (1982); Kevin Boyle (1981); and Isiah Thomas (1980).
Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men's and women's basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the United States by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA sponsored international basketball competitions, as well as for some national competitions.
USA Basketball currently ranks No. 1 in all of FIBA's world ranking categories, including combined, men's, women's, boys and girls rankings.