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Caris LeVert earned nickname ‘Baby Durant’ at Michigan


Brooklyn Nets star Caris LeVert is one of the most talented guards in the league. He also has one of the most interesting nicknames in the league.

Zach Lowe of ESPN has the story on how he got the nickname, “Baby Durant.”

Soon after, LeVert visited Michigan for an informal workout. Coaches and players had low expectations.

He wowed the team immediately, staffers recall, and John Beilein, Michigan’s coach, offered a scholarship. The team viewed him as a deep bench player and discussed redshirting him; he was behind five future NBA draft picks. But LeVert was so good in practice, coaches quickly slotted him into the rotation.

He was the team’s best one-on-one player, staffers recalled, regularly working Hardaway Jr., Nik Stauskas, Trey Burke, and other future pros with a herky-jerky style that flummoxed them. Teammates and coaches nicknamed him “Baby Durant.”

At Michigan, players couldn’t access the gym without a manager after certain hours. Staffers remember LeVert sheepishly calling managers after midnight, asking them if they might let him in. They always did, and stayed past 2 a.m.

LeVert suffered a very scary injury Monday night. It has been reported that he will not need surgery and it is quite possible he will play again this season.

The young man’s hard work has paid off in big way. He is the cornerstone of the rebuilding Nets franchise. He has the tools of being one of the very best two-way players in the league. Before the injury, he was averaging 18.4 points,  4.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He was also shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 31.1 percent from three on the season.

He does not score in bunches like Durant yet, but LeVert is just getting started. And hopefully, LeVert will come back stronger and better than before for the Nets.