Posted on: April 6, 2011 4:54 pm
Duke freshman Kyrie Irving will enter the NBA Draft and forgo his final three years of college, coach Mike Krzyzewski announced Wednesday.
"Our whole program is overjoyed with having Kyrie here for one year and that he has the chance now to pursue a dream of being a high draft pick and a great player in the NBA,” Krzyzewski said. “We are totally supportive of Kyrie, his family and his decision. We look forward to continuing to work with him during the upcoming months leading to his entry into the NBA and afterwards while he is an NBA player. He is a great young man, a terrific student, and a truly amazing representative for our program and for Duke. We love him and are very happy for him and his family.”
Irving averaged 17.5 points and 4.3 assists per game this season.
The point guard only appeared in 11 games because of an injured toe.
He's projected by some to be the No. 1 overall pick in June's NBA Draft.
Posted on: March 18, 2011 10:55 am
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Kyrie Irving's return has pushed Duke into the role of co-favorites in this NCAA tournament.
Sportsbook.com now lists Ohio State (+450), Kansas (+450) and Duke (+450) as the three co-favorites -- followed by Pittsburgh (+800), San Diego State (+1000) and Notre Dame (+1200). Meantime, Duke has even odds to win the West Regional even though a presumed Elite Eight matchup with San Diego State could feel like a road game in Anaheim.
I've still got SDSU winning the West Regional.
But I've also got Missouri and Vanderbilt in the Sweet 16.
So, yeah, Duke's probably in good shape.
Posted on: March 15, 2011 8:40 pm
Edited on: March 16, 2011 2:29 am
DAYTON, Ohio -- Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski on Tuesday acknowledged publicly for the first time since Kryie Irving injured the big toe on his right foot back on Dec. 18 that the star point guard "could" play in this NCAA tournament.
And now it's time to start ripping up your bracket.
Seriously, this changes everything.
Nobody knows how many minutes Irving could play or how effective he could be over the next three weeks, but Krzyzewski putting this out there like that suggests he plans to use Irving in some form at some point. The final hurdle, it seems, will be whether Irving's father, Drederick Irving, will sign off on letting his son return when the reality is that the freshman from New Jersey did enough in Duke's first eight games to convince professional scouts that he's worthy of being selected in the top three of June's NBA Draft, perhaps as high as first overall. Reasonable minds can differ on the right and wise move. But only Irving and his father are qualified to make that call.
In the meantime, college basketball fans wait.
Kyrie Irving practiced "a little bit" Tuesday, according to his coach. If he practices a little bit more Wednesday, a little bit more Thursday and is back to operating near 100 percent by the time the Blue Devils reach a presumed Sweet 16, watch out. Yes, I suppose there might be chemistry issues for Duke like some suggested upon hearing Krzyzewski's announcement that Irving could return, but I'm betting the positives of having Irving in the lineup far outweight any possible negatives. He's so good with the ball, at probing the defense and either attacking the rim or finding an open shooter. Though Nolan Smith is great and has been named college basketball's National Player of the Year by various media outlets, remember this: Irving was Duke's best player when he was healthy enough to play for Duke.
We all agreed on that three months ago.
If you've forgotten, I suggest you watch tape.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 3:47 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2010 7:35 am
Mike Krzyzewski announced early Wednesday that Kyrie Irving will miss an indefinite amount of time because of a toe injury suffered last week during Duke's win over Butler. The Hall of Fame coach then expanded on the development after the Blue Devils beat Bradley late Wednesday and said his freshman point guard "could be out a long time."
Asked if Irving could be out for the rest of the season, Krzyzewski said: "He could be. He could be."
"It's a serious injury," he added. "I can't say anything more because we are learning information, but it is serious."
The top-ranked Blue Devils are 9-0, and games against Saint Louis (Saturday), Elon (Dec. 20) and UNC-Greensboro (Dec. 29) are all that's left before they open the ACC portion of their schedule against Miami on Jan 2. In other words, rushing Irving back isn't necessary. Duke will remain undefeated even without him for a while barring a massive letdown. The first formidable road game won't come until the Blue Devils visit Florida State on Jan. 12.
So the immediate future is simple.
But can Duke's longterm goal -- i.e., a national title -- be achieved without him?
That's the question Krzyzewski doesn't want to be forced to answer but one he acknowledged he might have to late Wednesday. The McDonald's All-American was averaging 17.4 points, 5.1 assists and 3.8 rebounds through eight games, and he had established himself as a serious National Player of the Year candidate while shooting 53.2 percent from the field, 45.2 percent from 3-point range and 89.6 percent from the free throw line. Irving got 31 points last week against Michigan State. Multiple NBA scouts have told CBSSports.com that they'd take him No. 1 in June's NBA Draft.
That said, Duke can still be good without Irving.
To deny that would be wrong.
All-Americans Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler are still on the roster, you know.
But there's little debate that Irving had already transformed into the Blue Devils' best player, and how many teams in modern history could lose their best player for the season and remain on track to win a national championship? Answer: Not many. So the next 10 days will be huge for Duke and the rest of the nation in general. If tests show that rest and rehabilitation could have Irving back in late December or early January -- or anytime, really -- then Duke should remain the consensus favorite to cut nets in Houston. But if the news is more grim then things will open up, and Ohio State, Michigan State, Kansas and several other schools will suddenly have more realistic dreams of winning the NCAA tournament then they would've had otherwise.
Posted on: December 2, 2010 4:14 am
Edited on: December 2, 2010 9:40 am
DURHAM, N.C. -- You know what's worse than walking out of Cameron Indoor at 2:30 a.m.?
Walking out of Cameron Indoor at 2:30 a.m. and not being able to find your rental car for 30 minutes when it's really cold outside. Seriously, that's the most depressed I've been in at least a month. If not for an assist from a campus police officer, I'd probably still be stumbling around looking for my car, hating myself and pretty much everything else in this world. So allow me to offer a big thanks to the Duke campus police. You guys are as important to me as Kyrie Irving is to your basketball team.
You saw Irving, didn't you?
He was tremendous in Duke's 84-79 win over Michigan State.
Next up for him is Saturday's game against Butler.
Next up for me is Thursday's game between UCLA and Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse.
I'm flying there in a few hours.
Gonna try to not lose my car on this portion of the trip.
Posted on: November 16, 2010 3:03 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2010 3:03 pm
The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced the Naismith preseason watch list on Tuesday.
Three of the selected players are from Duke.
The list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, of which I am a member. Click this link to view the ballot I submitted last month. The actual list of 50 players is below. It will be trimmed to 30 in late February, cut to four in March. The Naismith Award will then be presented to the nation's best men's basketball player at the Final Four. Ohio State's Evan Turner won it last season.
Posted on: July 22, 2010 12:58 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2010 1:17 pm
LAS VEGAS -- I spent a good bit of time in the presence of Nolan Smith throughout last season's NCAA tournament, then again earlier this month at the LeBron James Skills Academy, and I must tell you that the Duke guard is becoming one of my favorite players to be around. He's smart, funny, engaging, and I was reminded of this again last night when I bumped into Smith at the Wynn Hotel.
That's where Smith and all members of the USA Basketball Men's Select Team are staying this week in between training sessions. Predictably, a few players -- Purdue's JaJuan Johnson, Butler's Shelvin Mack, Duke's Kyle Singler and Smith, etc., -- were hanging around on the Wynn's main floor and taking in the scene last night like any self-respecting college student would. It provided an opportunity to spend 20 minutes catching up with Smith, who was appreciative of his frontrunner status for this season's CBSSports.com All-America team.
But that's not the point.
The point is that he's just easy.
There's some substance to Smith and the likability factor runs high.
So you can hate Duke if you want, but you'd be silly to hate Nolan Smith.
Just wanted to say that as I head out to watch the men's national team, the men's select team, and some of the nation's best high school prospects (via the adidas Super 64 and Fab 48 summer tournaments). But before I go, one more thing: When I spoke with Smith earlier this month, he had yet to play with incoming freshman point guard Kyrie Irving. Since then, though, Smith said the two have spent many days on the court together.
"He's really good," Smith said with a smile. "I'm excited."
(Note: The best way to keep up with me today will be on Twitter. Click this link to follow.)
Posted on: November 12, 2009 8:51 am
Edited on: November 12, 2009 8:52 am
First things first: Kyrie Irving can't sing.
He's pretty awful, actually.
But it's still fun to see the Duke signee participating in a high school play -- a rendition of "High School Musical" -- and it's impossible to watch the clip courtesy of NJ.com (via Deadspin.com ) and not come away impressed. Too often, elite athletes think their too cool to get involved in anything that doesn't include dunking. But Irving willfully took himself out of his element and put himself on a stage with classmates, and for that he has my respect.
Anyway, click this link (and scroll down) to check it out.
(And cover your ears.)