Getting To Know The 2010 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team: Kyrie Irving
March 19, 2010 - Colorado Springs, Colo.
After pouring in 30 points to help St. Patrick High School (N.J.) top Plainfield H.S. 82-45 back on Feb. 27, 2010 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team member Kyrie Irving's 2009-10 high school season came to an abrubt end. Despite the playoff win, which was for a Union County Tournament championship, St. Patrick (24-3) was banned from the state tournament by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association for holding illegal practice before the state-mandated start date. And while Irving admits it was a tough way to close out the year, the Duke-bound point guard immediately found ways to cope with the dissappointment, such as taking a trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium to attend a Duke - North Carolina rivalry game.
Irving won't have the chance to repeat the New Jersey Tournament of Champions and Non-Public Schools titles he helped St. Patrick earn in 2008-09, but there is plenty of basketball in his future, now and when he arrives at Duke Univerity in the fall of 2010. Irving will play in the 2010 McDonald's All-American game on March 31 in Columbus, Ohio, and in the Jordan Brand Classic on April 17 at Madison Square Garden in New York, and he will don his first USA Basketball jersey in the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit on April 10 a the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore.
Before Irving and his U.S. teammates arrive in Portland to prepare for a one-game showdown with the World Select Team, USABasketball.com talked with the combo guard known for his speed about his game, his family and what he hopes to accomplish during his time in a USA jersey.
On his high school season:
It was heart-breaking because to cap off my senior year, I wanted to leave St. Patrick's on a good note with another state championship or a national championship. To have our season decided by a judge or committee, it was definitely heart-breaking. I was kind of angry that our season ended so soon, but there was a small positive that came out of it. After our season ended, I got to go down to Duke for the North Carolina game, and that rivalry is crazy, so I really enjoyed myself down there.
What made you decide to go to Duke?
The whole entire coaching staff, and primarily Coach K. The relationship that we have and the bond that we share is very strong, so that's the main reason I signed there.
For someone who hasn't seen you play, how would you describe your style?
Up-tempo. I like to get up and down the court - just a complete point guard. I have some weaknesses in my game, but I just think I am a really complete, all-around guard.
In the News:
What would you most like to improve?
My strength and my mid-range game.
Do you have a a favorite work out or drill?
I don't really have a favorite or least favorite. All the drills that I do, my whole work out, everything is going to help me, so I enjoy all of it.
What motivates you?
My mom. She passed away when I was five. Making her proud is one of the things that motivates me. Also, I'm really self-motivated. I have a lot of goals that I plan to attain in the near future.
Do you have a role model?
Yes, my father. I aspire to be even better than his career was, but I don't know if that is possible. He has taught me so much and made me the person I am today. That's why I'm trying to be just like him.
*Drederick Irving stared for Boston University in the late 80s and earned Rucker Park MVP honors one summer. He tried out for the Boston Celtics in 1988 and then spent a year in Melbourne, Australia with the Bulleen Bombers, averaging more than 38.0 points per game.
Is there a U.S. player you are particularly excited to play with?
Yeah, actually, I call him my big brother, Harrison Barnes. I am really looking forward to playing with him, and also everybody. Everybody on this USA team has seen each other or played with each other over the summer, so I think we are all already pretty close.
Do expect to bring the Duke vs. North Carolina rivalry to practice with three UNC players on the team?
Oh man, it is definitely going to be fun playing with them in the game and against them in practice. I'm going to be talking smack the whole week.
What do you hope to accomplish during your time in a USA jersey?
Basically, the same thing I accomplished when I was at the Global Games - just to get all my teammates involved and represent my country to the best of my ability. This is a big game. The USA lost last year, so we plan on redeeming ourselves in a big time game. I believe the World Team has guys who play professionally, so I'm really looking forward to testing my team against the best of the international players.