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Durant predicts All-Star status in Rose's future
by Adam Fluck
Posted on Jan 4
By Adam Fluck
When Kevin Durant was 15 years of age living on the East Coast, his godfather came back from a trip to Chicago in which he watched a handful of AAU games with some news.
“He told me he didn’t know who the best player in the country was, but that Derrick Rose was the best talent he had seen in a long, long time,” Durant recalled on Monday at the United Center. “Once he told me that, I remember I started to hear his name and I knew who he was talking about.”
Durant calls Rose one of his close friends and both received NBA honors on Monday when they were named the Western and Eastern Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Dec. 28, through Jan. 3.
“It gives me a lot of confidence,” Durant said before his Thunder took on the Bulls. “I know it’s a smaller award, but it still feels good. Coming from a small town in Maryland, I never thought I would be in the NBA first of all. To get the player of the week award with all the great players in the league is an honor. I’m truly humbled and I just thank my teammates for giving me the opportunity to shine.”
Durant and Rose spent time together on and off the court this past summer when the two were among 25 players USA Basketball invited to attend the July 22-25 USA Men's National Team mini-camp in Las Vegas. Both will likely be considered for the men’s team that will compete in the 2012 Olympics in London.
For now, though, Rose and Durant have their eyes on the regular season while they take aim at the playoffs. Entering Monday’s game, Rose’s Bulls held the seventh best record in the East, while Durant’s Thunder were eighth in the West.
“You can tell that he’s put a lot of work in since then,” Durant said as he recalled first hearing Rose’s name some six years ago. “He’s having a phenomenal season and I think he’s going to be an All-Star for sure.”
Rose’s play as of late would certainly support that claim. The second-year point guard is averaging 25.1 ppg, 6.1 apg, 4.9 rpg and has shot .483 FG% in last seven games.
In addition, his line of 30 points, seven assists and six boards against Orlando (01/02) was the first 30/5/5 (points/rebounds/assists) game in almost two years.
Audio—Bulls Head Coach Vinny Del Negro on trading Thabo Sefolosha for the pick that brought Taj Gibson and defending Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant (01.04.10):