Does Kevin Durant Deserve to Have His Jersey Retired by Texas?

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Does Kevin Durant Deserve to Have His Jersey Retired by Texas?

Earl Campbell.  Roger Clemens.  Ricky Williams.  T.J. Ford.

These are the names of the only athletes in Longhorns history to have their jerseys retired.

Next year the Longhorns will add an accomplished group of athletes to the bunch—but I'm not sure all of them truly belong.

According to the Associated Press, Vince Young and Kevin Durant will have their jerseys retired, along with seven other former Longhorns athletes.

The biggest shock among the two headliners is Durant, who played just one season for the Longhorns.  True, his accolades during that one season in college were surely impressive.

  • Started all 35 games
  • 25.8 points per game
  • 11.1 rebounds per game
  • Led Texas to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament
  • National Association of Basketball Coaches Division I Player of the Year
  • Naismith Award recipient (first ever freshman to win)
  • John R. Wooden Award (first ever freshman to win)

On top of this impressive list of accomplishments, Durant was chosen with the second pick in the NBA draft by the Seattle Supersonics, who recently relocated to Oklahoma City.

But why would any school feel inclined to honor someone who graced its halls for one year?  Even if he goes back to finish his degree, which he is apparently doing, he only played for one season.  It's not like he led them to an NCAA title like Carmelo Anthony (another one and done college player) did for Syracuse in 2003.

My main contention with this whole thing is that Durant didn't really do anything for Texas.  OK, so he helped guide them to the Sweet Sixteen.  All of his other accolades were personal.

Even though he helped bring more notoriety to the school, he failed to do what Carmelo did (to date, Syracuse has not retired his jersey).  I just don't see how one year of service warrants the equivalent to a lifetime achievement award.

Durant deserves to be honored for his outstanding performance in college—just maybe not in the way that Texas and other universities and teams choose to celebrate their tradition.

 

Notes

Campbell won the Heisman Trophy in 1977 and is enshrined in both the college and pro football Halls of Fame.

Clemens pitched two All-American seasons with the Longhorns baseball team and helped lead them to a national championship in 1983.

Ricky Williams won the 1998 Heisman Trophy and set many NCAA Division I-A records (some of which were later broken), including most yards in a career (broken one year later by Ron Dayne from the University of Wisconsin) and career rushing touchdowns and career scoring (both of which were broken one year later by Travis Prentice from Miami (OH) University).

T.J. Ford only stayed for two seasons with Texas' hoops team, but he led them to their first Final Four appearance since 1947 (and also the Sweet Sixteen) and won the Naismith and Wooden awards, along with being named player of the year by every major sports outlet.  When he left Texas, Ford was the only basketball player to have his jersey retired.

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