Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Durant's Number to be Retired

College basketball's one-and-done rule has had quite an effect on the game. Sometimes, it seems to turn out well (Memphis and Ohio State's championship game runs, Kansas State's one year return to prominence). Sometimes, it doesn't turn out so well (I bet Tim Floyd will be wishing that OJ Mayo went the Brandon Jennings route post-high school as he receives the NCAA's sanctions). Sometimes, it changes how jerseys are retired?

Kevin Durant, who put up ridiculous numbers in his one season at Texas, will become the second longhorn to have his number retired, alongside TJ Ford. Don't get me wrong, he had a fantastic season in Austin, but is one year enough to get your name in the rafters? Texas does not have the basketball tradition of a Duke or a Kentucky (or their football team), but still, they have been on top of the Big XII under Rick Barnes, and they did have seven guys on NBA rosters last year.

So, without further ado, here is my criteria for getting a number retired. In order to be eligible for number retirement, you must qualify for at least one, preferably more, of these criteria.

-You play 3-4 years at the school, setting career records there, while earning all-conference and all-america honors, playing for teams that competed for conference championships. Usually, these are your fan favorites and the most despised by your rivals - the Shane Battiers and Gerry McNamaras and Tom Coverdales.

-You are the best player, the leader, and the face of a team that reaches the Final Four (or wins a title for the schools with more basketball tradition). This is where Carmelo Anthony, despite playing just one year, gets the nod.

-You have a pretty good career, but you have one defining moment, one incredibly memorable shot or play, that will get replayed during every NCAA tournament. By itself, this moment isn't enough to get your number retired, but if you are a borderline candidate, it is enough to get you over the hump. See Mario Chalmers, Keith Smart, or Tate George.

-You win a national player of the year award. It is enough for UNC, but, again, I don't think the award is enough in itself.

-The last measure is, god forbid, an unforeseen tragedy that ends your career (or your life) and makes you an inspiration for future players. Hank Gathers, RIP.

Durant is a tough call, in my opinion. He had a fantastic freshman season, especially in Big XII play, and won player of the year honors. But his team finished third in the conference, lost in the conference tourney finals and in the second round of the NCAA's (all of that with DJ Augustin on the team), and they actually had a better season last year playing without him.

So what's my verdict? Give it to him. Because, in reality, does any one really care?

1 comment:

Andy McKenzie said...

Lol, persuasive journalism. All those words and then, does anyone really care?