The Iowa star’s all-world performance against Michigan on Feb. 6 put her in an exclusive club with KD himself — and he’s been a fan of her game from the beginning.
The things Iowa’s Caitlin Clark does on the basketball court aren’t easy. In fact, they’re practically impossible.
But she sure does make them look easy.
She currently leads the nation in scoring (27.4 PPG) and assists (8.2 APG), and the Hawkeye’s latest barrage of long-range bombs, impeccable footwork, and dizzying ball-handling set the sports world ablaze when she dropped 46 points in a valiant losing effort on the road against Michigan, the No. 6 team in the country.
After her performance, ESPN’s Jay Bilas called her “the most exciting player to watch in college hoop, male or female.”
As Trae Young tweeted: “Can’t say nothin when it goes in.. She’s tough.”
And of course our very own Kevin Durant, a longtime Caitlin fan, shared her highlights on social media. On the latest episode of “The ETCs,” he spoke in depth about his admiration for Caitlin and her game.
“She’s displaying some skill right now and she moving fast, it look like everybody on that court is way slower than she when she get into her stuff,” Kevin said.
Last year, Kevin said Caitlin had the skill to play in the WNBA already as a freshman, but he saw her prowess on the court even before that while she was in high school.
“I remember watching her summer going to her senior year,” Kevin revealed “I was in Chicago for the girls’ AAU nationals. I happened to see the 17-and-under girls and she was in the championship. Her team from Iowa, they played together so smooth, but she was always leading that shit. She always had the ball in her hand. Everybody was playing off of her. She just commanded the whole game. ‘I’m like, who the hell is this? She is nice.’”
It’s a moment Caitlin remembers well.
“This is probably my favorite memory not only of AAU basketball, but of my basketball career in general,” she told Boardroom. “To see him walk into the championship game, sit courtside and be so focused and into the game, was something you can really only dream of as a young basketball player. It was hard for my teenage self to stay focused and play basketball when one of the best players to ever touch a basketball is watching you play!”
Kevin eventually found out Caitlin was ranked as one of the best players in the country, and followed her journey from there.
“When you walk in and you don’t even know who anybody is and they just like, ‘Yo, that’s the best player in the country right there,’” Kevin remembered, “that shit hits you out of nowhere. Like, let me really focus in on her. Then I started following her career.”
Now, after her latest performance, Caitlin and Kevin are linked intrinsically by more than just their admiration for one another. According to Stats by Stats, with her 46-point, 10-assist performance against Michigan, Caitlin joins KD as the only players – either men or women; NBA, WNBA, or Division I – in the last 15 years to score 45+ points and dish out 10+ assists and play every minute of a game.
Matching KD’s epic Game 5 performance vs. the Bucks at just 20 years old?
Sounds like she’s headed in the right direction.
But Caitlin’s otherworldly talent and performances don’t just benefit her and her pursuit of basketball greatness — they help promote the growth of the women’s game as a whole. And that’s something she is keenly aware of.
“It is pretty cool to see the hoops world all talking about a certain play you made or about a great game you had, but I think more than anything it is really good for women’s basketball,” Clark said. “We want to continue to grow the game and get people excited about watching, so that hype or buzz just increases that.”
Kevin is a witness to the growth of the women’s game as well.
“The talent level is growing, which is definitely gonna grow the game itself,” Kevin added on “The ETCs.” “These girls are coming in with brands already which helps with visibility into the league. So it’s only gonna grow naturally.”
For Caitlin, she’s not just noticing and partaking in the growth of women’s hoops, it’s something she takes pride in.
“It’s growing now more than ever and the stats back that up,” she said. “Through my short time in college so far more and more people have taken notice and tuned in and watched not only myself, but women’s basketball in general, because there’s so many great teams and star power. It is one of my goals to get more people watching our game and inspire the next generation of young basketball players. That’s something I have learned to embrace over the last year.”
With each filthy crossover, three from the logo, and mystifying finish at the rim, she’s accomplishing that goal.
And then some.