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Kyrie Irving says if not for Tournament he would have returned to Duke

Jun 14, 2011, 3:00 PM EDT

Hampton v Duke Getty Images

Kyrie Irving is just over a week away from being the No. 1 pick of the draft and having unrealistic expectations heaped upon him in Cleveland.

Irving is the Duke point guard who played eight games to start the season before a toe injury sidelined him. Until NCAA Tournament, when he returned and almost instantly was back in charge of the Duke offense.

If it hadn’t been for those extra few games, he would have returned to Duke, he told Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio.

“Those eight games (before the injury) just weren’t enough,” he said. “But playing in the tournament gave me a chance to prove to all the naysayers about my durability.”

So, three games made all the difference? Apparently. Duke beat Hampton and Michigan the first weekend but fell to Arizona (led by soon to be No. 2 pick Derrick Williams) in the Sweet 16. Irving had 28 points in the loss on 9-of-15 shooting in that loss. Irving said he was about 70 percent for those tournament games but is 100 percent now.

Of course, the only team that got to see him at 100 percent this summer was Cleveland, the team with the No. 1 pick is the only one Irving has worked out for.

And apparently the only reason they got to see him was three more games in March.

  1. andyreidisfat - Jun 14, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    I don’t get it. I saw this kid play early in the year and he looked ok, but not great. I didn’t see him dominate games like I saw that williams kid in AZ. I guess scouting basketball is tougher than football. Hell i though Turner was the best player in last years draft.

  2. hdanger10 - Jun 14, 2011 at 5:44 PM

    Irving said this over two weeks ago on 610 The Fan in Charlotte. Glad they bring the breaking news to me every morning.

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