Report: Nets' Royal Ivey Interviews for Texas HC Job After Durant Endorsement

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2021

Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, right reacts with teammate Royal Ivey after an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, in Philadelphia. Durant had 23 points and the Thunder won 92-88. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

It's tough to do much better than an endorsement from Kevin Durant when it comes to Texas Longhorns basketball, and that is exactly what Brooklyn Nets assistant coach Royal Ivey had on his way to a reported interview.

According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, the Nets assistant interviewed for the Texas men's basketball head coaching job Sunday after Shaka Smart departed to lead the Marquette Golden Eagles.

Shelburne pointed out "there is strong support for him amongst Texas alumni," including Durant.

On Friday, Jeff Goodman of Stadium reported Durant endorsed Ivey as a head coaching candidate in part because he "wants to see it kept in the Texas family."

Ivey played for the Longhorns from 2000-01 through 2003-04 and averaged 7.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game throughout his career.

Texas went to three straight Sweet 16s during his tenure with the team and advanced to the 2003 Final Four. It was the last time the Big 12 program advanced to the Final Four in the men's NCAA tournament.

The guard also enjoyed a lengthy NBA career after the Atlanta Hawks selected him with a second-round pick in the 2004 NBA draft.

He played 10 seasons for the Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and Oklahoma City Thunder as a role player who could handle the ball and shoot from the outside. He was teammates with Durant on the Thunder for three seasons.

Since he retired, Ivey has been an assistant coach for the Thunder, New York Knicks and, now, the Nets.

It was somewhat surprising to see Smart leave the Longhorns after leading them to a Big 12 tournament title and appearance in the Big Dance this season, although the campaign lost some of its luster when they were shocked in the first round by 14th-seeded Abilene Christian.

Ivey may have Durant's endorsement, but he might have to beat out Texas Tech's Chris Beard.

Beard attended Texas and was a student assistant there earlier in his career. Chip Brown of 247Sports reported he is the "leading candidate" for the vacant head coach position.