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Handicapping the national player of the year race

Texas coach Rick Barnes told me 15 months ago that he had the best player in the country in 6-foot-9 freshman Kevin Durant. The coach was prophetic because Durant swept every major national player of the year award en route to possibly the best freshman season in college basketball history. However, it is more than talent that puts a player in a position to be national player of the year.

For Durant, it was the perfect storm of having to step in to replace three players lost to the NBA, doing it by pairing with an equally brilliant freshman point guard, D.J. Augustin, and playing for a coach who gave him the ultimate green light. And, remember that Durant chose the Longhorns over the already stacked North Carolina Tar Heels.