On Tuesday, Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant won his first NBA Most Valuable Player award.
While the Thunder are currently one game into a second round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, the NBA honored Durant, who is averaging 32 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game in his seventh season.
For those who have watched Durant for the last decade, it’s no surprise that he won his first MVP – to go along with his four league scoring titles – at just 25 years old.
Ten years ago, Scout.com interviewed Durant for the first time and in the dialogue with Jeff Goodman, he gave some glimpses into his competitive spirit and determination to succeed.
At the time, the 15-year old Durant was more concerned with proving himself as a McDonald’s All-American caliber player than an MVP.
"I just want to prove to all the coaches and the scouts that I can be a top 10 player in my class," Durant said.
What Durant lacks in strength he makes up for in skill, savvy, competitiveness and athleticism, and he learned to overcome that strength deficiency early.
"People are always calling me soft because Iâm so skinny,â said Durant. "It makes me stronger as a person and makes me work harder. I just try and go out there and play, though. I donât talk at all.
"When I used to play, guys would tell me that Iâd never be any good. Now they donât say anything to me."
Durant ended up as Scout.com’s top-ranked small forward in the 2006 recruiting class and the second ranked player nationally, only behind Greg Oden.
The MVP’s final evaluation from Scout.com:
Will graduate high school as a 17-year old senior, making him one of the youngest players in his class. Superior 3-point shooter with a soft touch. Shoots off dribble. Tries to play inside but strength is not there. Good athlete and a true small forward. Elite level prospect, has star power.