Tag:Kyrie Irving
Posted on: October 26, 2011 1:23 pm

Kyrie Irving back at Duke, books in bag

By Matt Norlander

Kyrie Irving is back at school because of the same reason Stephen Curry is, and so many other pro players are: a promise to family and a lot of spare time, thanks to the NBA lockout.

The 19-year-old No. 1 draft pick from last June could very easily be there, just under different circumstances, and getting his learn on had he passed on the NBA. But since he didn't, his choice makes for a story worth telling while NBA lawyers and union heads verbally clobber each other into November, perhaps beyhond.

CBS News reported (in, admittedly, a bit of a fluff piece) on Irving's decision during Wednesday's "The Early Show." Irving is one of reportedly 52 players taking college courses right now. It's an impressive number, yet that's not even a fifth of league players without degrees who have flocked back to academia. Since 20 percent of NBA players have their college degrees, that leaves nearly 340 without. Fifty-two is about 15 percent of degree-less ballers who are taking advantage of a once-in-a-career opportunity.

Is that higher or lower than you'd have guessed?

Here's the feature on Irving.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: June 14, 2011 5:08 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 10:41 am

Tourney play inspired Kyrie Irving to leave Duke

By Matt Norlander

Duke fans aren't looking for or needing consolation over Kyrie Irving's departure to the NBA.

Yes, he was one of the best point guards the school ever successfully lured to campus, but this is Duke. It hurts he's gone, there will always be a what-if feeling in regard the success and memorable performances he could've had in a Devils uniform, but the fan base, the program and its Hall of Fame coach will move on.

Still, get this: Had Irving's injury been more serious, he says he would've returned to Durham for his sophomore year. Those three NCAA tournament games -- a win over Hampton State; a win over Michigan; a loss to Arizona -- are apparently what convinced Irving he should head to the NBA. Had the toe been too tender to play on, he wouldn't have given it a go in the Big Dance and come back for 2011-12.

Irving told FOXSportsOhio.com the first eight games of his college career (before he injured the toe) were not a sufficient barometer on his ability to play at the next level.
Irving insisted his toe is now “100 percent healthy.” That’s a lot different than the NCAA tournament in March, when he estimated it was only about 70 percent. Had Irving not been able to play in the tournament, he said he would have returned to Duke for his sophomore season.

“Those eight games (before the injury) just weren’t enough,” he said. “But playing in the tournament gave me a chance to prove something to all the naysayers about my durability.”
That's a heck of an alternate-universe scenario to let hang out in the wind. (Duke fans, have fun with that.) Now, a few things to address. First, it's easy for Irving to say this stuff now, but we'll never truly know. He was considered top-three material before the NCAA tournament; his performance in it (17.6 points, two assists per game) wasn't so revelatory that his draft stock saw an uptick immediately afterward. It's conceivable -- and likely -- that he'd still have opted for the NBA after the season. Not calling the kid a liar, simply saying it's easy to the scenario in which he was seen as a topflight pick and chose to enter the NBA Draft.

There was something else that was revealed in Irving comments that I finding interesting. Remember how Irving, his father, Duke, Coach K -- they were all insistent Irving wouldn't play against last season unless he was completely healthy? I don't know if anyone ever bought into that, even when he dressed for the tournament, but 70 percent is still far from all the way back. Was Irving nudged back into playing? If so, by who? It's always intriguing to have players address injuries after the fact, when they can tell reporters the truth. And Irving at 70 percent is better than 95 percent of college players at full value.

Ultimately, we're left with a season in which a top-ranked prospect missed out on, meaning we missed on him, too. I suppose it remains intriguing because we've never had an elite player with an injury/NBA Draft situation like Irving's before. If only he hadn't played in March.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 6, 2011 5:06 pm

Making the Leap: Kyrie Irving bids farewell

Posted by Jeff Borzello

It was only 11 games, but it certainly was an enjoyable 11 games.

Duke freshman Kyrie Irving announced on Wednesday that he would hire an agent and enter the NBA Draft. He is likely a top-five pick and could go as high as No. 1 in June’s draft.

“Our whole program is overjoyed with having Kyrie here for one year,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We are totally supportive of Kyrie, his family and his decision.”

Irving, a 6-foot-2 point guard, played in just 11 games this season because of a injured toe on his right foot. He missed 26 games before returning in the NCAA tournament, where Duke lost to Arizona in the Sweet 16.

Irving averaged 17.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game this season, cementing himself as one of the top players in the country.

While it comes as no surprise that Irving entered the draft, the loss still clearly hurts Duke. Throw in the fact All-American Nolan Smith and forward Kyle Singler are also gone, and the Blue Devils could take a step back.

NBA Draft

Leading the returnees will be guards Seth Curry and Andre Dawkins, two high-volume shooters that had their moments during the course of Duke’s season. Miles Plumlee and Ryan Kelly return in the frontcourt, but the key will be Mason Plumlee. One of the most talented big men in the country, the middle Plumlee has yet to string together consistent outings down low.

The incoming freshmen class will also be important. Austin Rivers, the best pure scorer in the high school ranks, will make an immediate impact in the backcourt. Quinn Cook was another McDonald’s All-American; he can run an offense and makes teammates better. Michael Gbinije is a wing scorer that is deadly with his mid-range jumper.

Irving would have obviously formed one of the best backcourts in the country with Rivers, but it is impossible to blame the New Jersey native for his decision. His stock is simply too high.

Photo: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 19, 2011 5:50 pm
Edited on: March 20, 2011 4:39 pm

Enough 'Fab Five' talk, there is a game to play

Posted by Chip Patterson
March 19, 2011

CHARLOTTE - As a lifelong fan of college basketball, I enjoyed ESPN's documentary on the Fab Five. I enjoyed it because it was well-made, and brought back memories of a basketball and social phenomenon that changed the game.  But that documentary has nothing to do with the 2010-2011 editions of Duke or Michigan. In fact when the Fab Five were unveiling their black socks, many of the participants in Sunday's matchup were not even born yet.

So why are are the players and coaches still having to answer questions over and over again about the documentary, when the tip-off of their third round matchup is less than 24 hours away.

"I didn't watch the documentary," said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski as he fielded yet another question about the ESPN documentary. "It really has absolutely nothing to do with this game and does not -- if I have to be motivated by something else for an NCAA -- this is my 101st NCAA game. Do you think I need motivation from a documentary?"

No this is just a game between two teams that have been playing very well. Duke, obviously fresh off an ACC Tournament Championship, switched into another gear after losing two of their last three games in the regular season. They have turned it up on the defensive end and outscored their opponents by an average of 19.75 points per game since losing to North Carolina in the regular season finale. Oh yeah, and they re-introduced freshman phenom Kyrie Irving into the lineup.

Michigan has been quietly flying below the radar as one of the more dangerous teams in the tournament as well. The Wolverines have won five out of their last seven contests, only falling to 53-52 to Wisconsin and 68-61 to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship. So many teams wrote off the Wolverines when they started conference play 1-6, but that underdog mentality has helped them turn around their season.

"I think we definitely love it. We embrace it completely, said Michigan guard Stu Douglass. "I think if you don't embrace it -- if we hadn't embraced it this year, we wouldn't be where we are. Kind of been an advantage since I've gotten [here]."

When Michigan is playing good basketball (which they have been), they can be very difficult to scheme against on both sides of the floor. On defense, their 1-3-1 zone can make life difficult when opponents are trying to find open space in their offensive sets. On offense, they run a 2-3 set with a lot of cutting and screening, constantly trying to beat teams on the back door. The only teams that have played Duke like that are Princeton and Virginia Tech. The latter was one of only four teams to defeat Duke this season.

So why is the focus of Sunday's game about a rivalry that existed 20 years ago? The players don't seem to concerned, nor the coaches. I believe Duke will emerge victorious, but the Wolverines have come to make a statement about the players on the floor. Not the ones on the documentary.

More NCAA tournament coverage
Posted on: March 18, 2011 7:44 pm

Video: Kyrie Irving's toe in action

Posted by Eric Angevine

Over the past three months we've thought about it, blogged about it, wondered if it could still go pro. Of all of Kyrie Irving's very talented body parts, the toe was the one we cared most about because it was the one that wasn't functioning properly. So, while everyone else in the Duke locker room wanted to ask Kyrie questions about the toe and how it felt after 20 minutes of game action in his first NCAA tournament game, I just wanted to SEE the darn thing. So, here it is, making its debut on the small screen:


A Blink and You'll Miss It Production.

More NCAA tournament coverage
Posted on: March 18, 2011 8:41 am
Edited on: March 18, 2011 10:51 am

Charlotte pod ready to shift to on-court drama

Kyrie Irving looks ready to go in Charlotte

Posted by Eric Angevine

Sometimes, a prevailing attitude or emotion becomes most notable by its absence.

That's what happened this morning when I got on an elevator at the Charlotte Marriott with a couple who were conspicuously not dressed in team gear. When they began to speak to one another in German, I had an epiphany: these people had no idea what was going on here.

They don't care that Kyrie Irving is ready to play today. A discussion of Bruce Pearl's job status would likely elicit a shrug, or a puzzled smile. Their brackets aren't busted.

They were perfectly nice people, but I couldn't wait to get out of the elevator bubble and back with my people. The low-key Michiganders searching for coffee and wondering if the 1-3-1 trap can contain Scotty Hopson. The burly men in red and black Georgia golf visors. Heck, even the purple-clad people of Washington, who allegedly find me less than personable after I chose the Huskies as a possible 2nd-round upset victim a few days ago.

This pod, perhaps more than any other, has been full of off-court drama. Pearl getting a vote of no-confidence from his AD right before his first game of the tournament. Coach K springing Kyrie Irving's availability after weeks of rehab on us after we already filled out our brackets. Those are all great stories, and they've kept us occupied while we wait, but today, for a few hours, we'll shift our focus from the big picture to the small. We'll parse out who's feeling it according to our own lights. Fans of the Hampton Pirates and Long Island Blackbirds will leap, fist-pump, gyrate and pray that their teams will make history in dramatic fashion.

Thursday showed us what the rest of this month will be like. Enough waiting. We're ready.

Photo: US Presswire

More NCAA tournament coverage
Posted on: March 17, 2011 2:43 pm

Kyrie Irving will play against Hampton

Posted by Chip Patterson

Well, it is official.  For the first time since December 4, we will get to see Kyrie Irving on the floor in a Duke uniform. Head coach Mike Kryzewski confirmed on Thursday what many had believed for some time.

"Kyrie will play tomorrow. He will come off the bench and play limited minutes," Krzyzewski said. "I don't have a set number of minutes"

What it means is that it is the first step to getting Irving back in the regular rotation. Irving has been practicing with the team for some time, but it was unsure as to whether he would return at all in the season.  Some have guessed that "limited minutes" will be anything from 15-20 minutes on the floor, but Coach Krzyzewski maintains that he will not change his gameplan for Kyrie.

The Duke fans in attendance erupted as the Blue Devils took the floor for open practice on Thursday, with Irving looking calm as he led the second team through the opening workouts. When they began running sets at the beginning of practice, Irving scared the Blue Devil faithful in attendance with a brief stumble on his first hard cut.

Irving struggled a bit early, losing the ball a few times and finding himself in the wrong place on the floor. But once he got his first bucket (to a chorus of cheers from the Duke fans in attendance), Irving fell right back into a standard rhythm.

Having Irving on the floor makes Duke a much better team, the only question is will it be enough to take the Blue Devils over the top. If the toe begins to bother him, Irving will sit. The good news is a Duke team without Irving is still the Number 1 seed in the West.

Posted on: March 16, 2011 8:36 am

Layup Line -- Irving overshadows First Four

Posted by Jeff Borzello

With my esteemed colleague Matt Norlander on his way to Denver for the first two rounds (or second and third rounds) of the tournament, I'm pinch-hitting for him with the Layup Line today. Let's get to it.

- In case you missed it, Kyrie Irving was cleared to practiceand could play in the first round this week.

- This is America’s Tournament.

- Looking for upsets? According to John Ezekowitz, Marquette and USC have at least a 70 percent of beating their sixth-seeded opponent.

- The always-reliable media watchdog Richard Deitsch answers some of the most-asked questions about the new TV coverage of the NCAA tournament.

- People say we need a true start to the college basketball season. How about Ohio State, Texas, Kentucky and others playing on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier in San Diego?

- Kevin O’Neill on his drinking: “I work hard. I play hard.”

- Basketball purists rejoice! Renardo Sidney is coming back to school!

- If you don’t want to sift through all the stories about N.C. State AD Debbie Yow’s press conference, take a look at the highlights.

- Bradley guard Sam Maniscalco is transferring to Illinois and will be eligible to play immediately next season.

- The journey of Kent Bazemore: from a town of fewer than 300 people to an NBA prospect.

- As our own Matt Norlander said yesterday, the entire NCAA tournament changes if Kyrie Irving plays – Duke becomes the favorite, writes Jeff Goodman.

- There was apparently one person who didn’t like the Fab Five documentary.

- If you're unhappy with 96, think about what would happen if the NCAA tournament expanded to 96.

- Vermont lost a heartbreaker to Cleveland State in the NIT, missing a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer.

- Saint Mary’s continued its late-season free fall, turning the ball over with 10 seconds left and allowed Kent State to score the game-winning basket.

- In the CBI, Boise State beat Austin Peay on a lay-up with 0.1 seconds left, followed by Austin Peay calling a timeout that they didn’t have. 

Buzzer-beater time: It's known as "The Shot," but what about the headfirst dive to the free-throw line -- no nickname? 

Note: Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @jeffborzello or email me at jeff.borzello@cbsinteractive.com

Photo: US Presswire

More NCAA tournament coverage
Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com