The Longhorns' star, who likely will be the first or second pick in the NBA Draft later this week, joins an exclusive list of world-class teenagers to be selected to the cover of an EA SPORTS videogame franchise, taking his place alongside Freddy Adu (FIFA Soccer 06) of the MLS Real Salt Lake, Carmelo Anthony (NCAA March Madness 04) of the NBA Denver Nuggets and Wayne Rooney (FIFA 06 in United Kingdom) of Manchester United.
Durant's appearance on the cover of NCAA March Madness 08 also marks the first time that alums from the same school have been on EA SPORTS covers at the same time. Former University of Texas quarterback Vince Young is the Madden NFL 08 cover athlete. Durant and Young are in the company of an all-star group of EA SPORTS cover stars that this year includes Ronaldinho (FC Barcelona, FIFA Soccer 08), Gilbert Arenas (Washington Wizards, NBA LIVE 08), Jared Zabransky (Boise State University, NCAA Football 08) and Tony Stewart on NASCAR 08.
Durant is the fourth former Texas athlete to appear on an EA SPORTS cover. Former Texas baseball star and 2005 NCAA College World Series MVP David Maroul appeared on EA SPORTS' first college baseball video game, MVP 06 NCAA Baseball. Ricky Williams, the 1998 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas, appeared on the cover of NCAA Football 2000.
"A lot of great players have been chosen to be on the cover of EA SPORTS videogames, and it is an honor to be in their company," said Durant. "When I see the game on store shelves, it is really going to hit home that it's me on the cover of March Madness 08. I'm going to be first in line to buy all the copies to hand out to all my friends. It's like a dream come true."
EA SPORTS' relationship with Durant, negotiated through Goodwin Sports Management, includes appearing on the cover of NCAA March Madness 08, participating in the development of EA's basketball games and promotional appearances. Last month, Durant conducted body motion capture at EA Canada and his body movements, individual moves and playing style were captured, digitized and will become the life-like movement of the virtual players in future versions of EA's basketball games.
This season Durant swept all seven national college player of the year awards. In addition to the Naismith (presented by AT&T and the Atlanta Tip-off Club) and Wooden (presented by the Los Angeles Athletic Club) honors, he earned the Oscar Robertson Trophy from the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, the Adolph Rupp Trophy from the Commonwealth Athletic Club of Kentucky, and was named Player of the Year by the Associated Press, the National Association of Basketball Coaches and CBS/Chevrolet. The multi-talented swingman was the only unanimous choice to the Associated Press All-America first team, and the first freshman to garner Big 12 Conference Player of the Year accolades. He led the league in scoring (25.8 ppg), rebounding (11.1 rpg) and blocked shots (67). Durant was the only player in the country to rank in the Top 10 nationally in both scoring (fourth) and rebounding (fourth), and he finished second nationally in double-doubles (20). He led the Longhorns to a 25-10 record (12-4 Big 12) and a No. 11 ranking in the final AP poll. Durant set the school and Big 12 single-season scoring mark (903 points) and became just the second freshman in NCAA history to top the 900-point plateau (965 by Chris Jackson, LSU, 1988-89).
NCAA March Madness 08, not yet rated by the ESRB, is in development at EA Canada in Burnaby, B.C., and will be available for the PS3, PS2 and the Xbox 360.
It will ship to stores during the college basketball season.
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