Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant knows a thing or two about hype. Before coming out of the University of Texas in 2007, after just one year of college ball, many believed he was the next evolution in the scoring forward, with unteachable length combined with a deadly jumper. By most accounts, he’s fulfilled that potential, so when he talks about the rapturous response to the 2013-14 freshman class, we have to listen.
Durant said he was watching when highly touted freshman Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker faced off earlier this week in the Champions Classic. Neither freshman disappointed with Parker controlling most of the game before Wiggins sprung for six of his 22 points over the last couple minutes as Wiggins’ Kansas squad defeated Parker’s Duke team.
Rather than downplay the hype, Durant augmented the ceiling for Wiggins once he makes the leap to the NBA:
“[Wiggins is] raw, but his ceiling is high. He can be like a Hall of Famer, All-Star, for sure. He’s good,” said Durant.
But KD might have been even more impressed with Parker’s game, calling him “the best player in the country,” before acknowledging that both players are going be excellent:
“That [Parker] kid is amazing,” Durant said. “I think he is the best player in the country. Him and Wiggins are like ‘1A’ and ‘1B.’ Those guys are going to do the one-and-done thing, do it early. They are going to do really well in college and lead their teams to, I think, the Final Four. That’s kind of like, ‘Close your eyes and pick one.’ You’re good with either one of those guys.
“I love Jabari’s game. He’s so skilled. He has it all right now. Wiggins is on another level with God-given ability. You look at him, you can tell he’s going to be really big and fill out a lot. He’s really athletic.”
Durant also told Spears the game is easier for younger players to pick up. “When I was coming up you had to figure it out,” Durant said. But “today’s players can go on YouTube and type in ‘LeBron James’ and watch every move he does, break it down and work on it. It’s simple.”
The explanation for Parker and Wiggins’ talent may not be as simple as YouTube, but when KD is talking Hall of Fame for a player not yet out of college, you have to listen.
What do you think of Durant’s comments about Wiggins and Parker?
Follow Spencer on Twitter at @countcenci.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.