The list of Longhorn Legends reads longer than a Lord of the Rings novel, but who is the ultimate Texas Longhorns ambassador? That's what Horns Illustrated aims to determine in our Longhorn Legends Faceoff and the answer lies in your hands.
We're down to four legends in the Hoops, Homers & Olympians Region, devoted to UT's iconic baseball, basketball, and track athletes. Last round, Roger Clemens unanimously powered by Trey Hardee and he now gets Kevin Durant, the greatest baller in UT history. On the other side of the bracket, pitching ace Greg Swindell faces the two-way monster, Brooks Kieschnick. Who will make it to the Elite Eight? That's up to you. Let the games begin!
You can also decide who the greatest Texas football legend is in the Gridiron Greats Region.
Roger Clemens vs. Kevin Durant
Before he became known as "The Rocket" or "Rocket Man", Roger Clemens punished batters with his combo of intensity and power pitching. He threw the winning game against Alabama for the 1983 Texas team that won the NCAA College World Series and found his groove while at Austin, and constantly improved his game as he piled up a 25-7 record. Clemens' pitching was often downright untouchable, proven when he threw 35 consecutive scoreless innings, a college record until 2001. The University of Texas honored Clemens' speed and swagger by retiring his jersey, a first for a Texas baseball player. On top of that, in 2004 the Rotary Smith Award, given annually to America's best college baseball player, was changed to the Roger Clemens Award, honoring the best pitcher.
KD cut the nets with his silky smooth jumper from the moment he stepped into the Frank Erwin Center. The forward only stayed with Texas for a season, but that's all it took for him to make his case as the greatest individual scorer in school history. Durant became the first ever freshman in the 2006-2007 season to be named Naismith College Player of the Year. He droppped 25.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game and won pretty much every award you could dream of, including the John R. Wooden Award. Durant's single season at Texas was so impressive that the university retired his number a week after he was drafted in the NBA by the Seattle Supersonics.
Brooks Kieschnick vs. Greg Swindell
Many baseball experts have made the case for Brooks Kieschnick as the greatest all-around player in University of Texas history, and you'd have to make one heck of an argument to prove them wrong. "The Tool Shed" was named Baseball America National Player of the Year in 1993 and won the Dick Howser Trophy twice, a feat no other college player has accomplished. Kieschnick's stats still stand in the school's Top 10 as both a hitter and pitcher. He knocked the seams off the ball at a .360 career clip with 43 Home Runs, 215 RBI, a school record .676 slugging percentage and 140 Walks, and matched his batting numbers by pitching for 34 wins, 7 shutouts, and 268 strikeouts. Kieschnick embodies the traits of a do-it-all player.
If you had to select one starting pitcher to dominate a game, you could make a great case for Greg Swindell, a three-time All-SWC and 1986 All-American selection. The leftie owns a 43-8 record with two no-hitters and a 1.92 ERA in 77 games at Texas, also setting a school record for strikeouts (501) and college record for shutouts (14). Swindell shined as a sophomore, rocking a 19-2 record, 1.67 ERA, 15 complete games, and 204 strikeours in just 172 innings. For his absolute display of domination, Swindell received Baseball America's National Player of the Year Award. The Longhorns retired Swindell's number, which he shared with Roger Clemens, in 2009.