It’s Official: Kyrie Irving to Duke

Posted by nvr1983 on October 22nd, 2009

In case any of you missed the news, Kyrie Irving made it official today that he would be committing to play at Duke next season.  This doesn’t really come as a surprise as it was reported that he would do so two days ago. However, the following day Irving denied those reports. This last-minute back-and-forth raises the interesting question: What was the point of Irving denying the initial report? Was Irving really uncertain about where he would be going just hours before he went on ESPNU to make his announcement?

While that is possible, it seems very unlikely. Instead Irving’s actions reek of a desire to maintain suspense for his official announcement on “national TV” (quotation marks since I don’t get ESPNU and I spend almost $70/month on cable). While we would prefer not to criticize a teenager for something as benign as wanting to keep more people paying attention to them (as long as it doesn’t involve a weather balloon), it speaks to the larger issue of the ridiculousness of the recruiting world that college sports operate in today. Why would Kyrie Irving, a kid who has probably been the most popular kid at his school since he was dominating his classmates on the court in elementary school, feel the need to essentially lie about the fact that he had decided he was going to Duke?

Apparently this is what Kyrie really wanted

Apparently this is what Kyrie really wanted

Now I may be getting into semantics here with his Twitter posts, but the only legitimate reason I can see for denying the initial reports in the manner that he did was if he actually was still deciding between schools. Instead it is more likely that Irving just wanted his moment in the spotlight (as if he won’t be getting enough opportunities to be on real national television with Duke and possibly a NBA team over the next few years), which is fine because the editors of this site were at one time the same age as Irving. However, it is a little disappointing for fans of college basketball that Irving, who has been described as having a “good head on his shoulders” by multiple sources, would resort to something like this.

nvr1983 (1264 Posts)


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7 Responses to “It’s Official: Kyrie Irving to Duke”

  1. tallguy says:

    In order to make the announcement on ESPNU, the commitment could not be made public beforehand, hence the denials. So basically, yes, he did it to get his moment in the spotlight, but considering that he’d been planning this for awhile and the (unconfirmed, speculative) reports forced him to obfuscate…I don’t agree with the negative tone towards the kid.

  2. nvr1983 says:

    The point I was trying to get across in the post is that this isn’t so much an indictment of Kyrie as much as it is of the recruiting process as a whole. I think the idea of doing press conferences like this for high school kids is ridiculous. I’ll readily admit that we contribute to it even if it is to a very small degree based on our “market share” in our attempt to cover college basketball, but I don’t think I’ll ever reach the point where I am comfortable with these situations. Having said that I think he could have handled the situation denying the reports through a non-denial denial, but I doubt that we will see recruits handle it so tactfully in the age of Twitter and other social media.

  3. Brian says:

    This kid definitely got caught up in the circus that is recruiting. Sources got the scoop early and I guess he decied to lie on his twitter thing in order to keep some suspense for the announcement on TV. He has clearly enjoyed his recruitment being in the spotlight and wanted to take full advantage of it.

  4. ACCBballFan says:

    I agree more with tallguy first comment above, and also see the author’s point about the article being more of a critique of the process and associated fanfare than of the kid himself

    I would not call it a lie like Brian did, and do not agree with Parrish or whoever it was who says he owes Zagoria an apology..

    ESPNU has that as a rule and they wanted him on their show. To meet their criteria, once Zagsblog makes it public, Irving has to state publicly he has not committed or state hat he had not committed publicly, not sure which.

    This saga is nowhere close to what Patrick Patterson and his family did to elongate the process across UK, UF and Duke, where they truly milked the process.

    Irving has actually been a technology leader using Twitter, UStream etc which is what kids do these days. I was actually kind of surprised that the ESPNU did not show him doing a Tweet to announce his decision.

    Though small in overall scale of things, if there was a lie it was that he would announce his decision on Twitter.

  5. rtmsf says:

    Actually ACCBBF, the other option is one favored by politicians most of the time. Say nothing. When Zagoria reported it on Tues. night, Irving immediately went to his Twitter account and said there was no truth to the rumors. He should have just left well enough alone – dodge phone calls, etc., for 48 hrs until the ESPNU show. My take, at least.

  6. Brian says:

    Irving on his decision: http://njhoops.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1006088

    NJ Hoops: When did you decide?

    KI: Probably about a week ago.

    Considering this, how can what he said on his twitter thing about not committing to Duke be anything other than a lie?

  7. nvr1983 says:

    Seth Davis (Duke ’92) has chimed in with his take, which is very much like what I said.

    Link = http://www.fannation.com/si_blogs/hoop_thoughts/posts/83181-irving-does-duke-sport-disservice-with-media-game

    The reaction of Duke fans in the comment section and on some of their message boards is pretty interesting. I’m not sure how you can criticize Zagoria here. The relationship between high school-aged (and sadly younger) players and the media is usually a symbiotic one. If Scout or Rivals hadn’t ranked Irving as one of the top players in the class he likely wouldn’t have had the same level of national spotlight he had on Thursday. Even though Duke fans are reluctant to admit it people like Zagoria (a fairly well-respected journalist) help promote the Kyrie Irving “brand”. While some might criticize Zagoria for not asking the Irving family about the issue before he ran the story it is pretty clear that Irving was never going to admit the truth, which is something Irving has made abundantly clear in subsequent interviews. Like I said before this is not meant to be an indictment of Irving as much as it is of the recruiting culture where a teenager feels the desire to be a star on ESPNU (available in roughly 2%* of homes nationwide) despite the fact that he will be all over ESPN (available in roughly 90%* of homes nationwide) for the next 4 years unless he is so successful that he jumps ship early to chase after NBA riches.

    *Estimates from RTC’s team of research monkeys

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