Just 10 days removed from losing the Western Conference semifinals, Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant was back in action, albeit in a rather surprising place. The superstar showed up at a Washington, D.C. area high school gymnasium to play pickup basketball, according to The Washington Post.
The storied Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic High gym has played host to a number of impressive exhibition games in recent years, just usually not this early in the offseason and definitely not involving a three-time NBA scoring champion at a moment's notice.
While DeMatha coach Mike Jones, an assistant and several Stags -- including sophomore Jaelin Grant -- were using the gym on Saturday, Durant and a few friends arrived ready to play some ball, The Post reported. So, Jones locked the doors and the games began.
“I didn’t know he was coming, but for somebody like me, it’s nice to get to watch talent like that play in our gym,” Jones told the paper. "I just have to turn on the lights and roll out the ball. Of course, when a guy like Kevin comes, everyone is excited. They all played hard, talked some trash and it was a high-level pickup game.”
Despite averaging 30.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game during the NBA playoffs, Durant's season ended sooner than anticipated, as the Memphis Grizzlies ousted the Russell Westbrook-less Thunder from the conference semifinals in five games.
A D.C. native, Durant played his senior prep season at nearby Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) School, capturing All-Met Player of the Year honors from The Washington Post in 2006. Still, the Stags always open their doors to DMV products.
"Even though they maybe didn’t go to DeMatha, after those guys from rival schools graduate, I don’t hate them as much," added Jones, "so I’ll let them come work out too."
In fact, The Post reported that Durant arrived on Saturday with a pair of former D.C. area and Big East rivals in Forestville (Md.) Bishop McNamara High alum Arinze Onuaku and one-time DeMatha star Austin Freeman.
The Post's list of DMV area players who have been known to participate in the pickup games includes Sacramento Kings guard Marcus Thornton, Phoenix Suns guard Kendall Marshall, likely NBA lottery pick Victor Oladipo and Duke's Tyler Thornton.