Irving Balancing Recruiting With AAU Schedule

By now it's clear that the Duke coaching staff is working hard to recruit New Jersey lead guard Kyrie Irving. They aren't the only ones. At the 2009 NBA Top 100 camp, Irving sat down with TDD to discuss recruiting, his game, and much more.

Rated as the nation's No. 2 point guard and a Top 10 overall prospect, Kyrie Irving has no shortage of options when it comes to picking his collegiate destination. Having already cut his list down somewhat, Irving is progressing through the recruiting process at a reasonable pace. However, as he's already learned, the age of Internet recruiting is quick to produce all manner of rumors.

"To an extent [the media attention paid to his recruitment] is a little bit of a hinderance. I mean when reports are put out that I've already committed to a school, that's not right. I try not to pay attention to that stuff. I just go out and play. I do enjoy the attention a bit, but at the end of the day it's about all about going out and proving my ability on the court."

The rumor in question surfaced last week reporting that Irving had offered a commitment to Tom Crean's Indiana program. Something that Irving was proactive in denying via his personal networking account. Such technology is becoming commonplace among top prospects, though Irving makes attempts to keep the business of recruiting separate from his day to day life.

"[Those sites] are more for my friends. I like staying in touch with them through that. I haven't really had any colleges reach out to me through that yet. It's mainly just for me and my friends."

Turning to the business of recruiting, Irving recently visited Connecticut and Texas A&M for unofficial visits as both schools look to jump in with the five star guard.

"Both of them were really nice. Texas A&M has a lot of really nice, new facilities. Both arenas are superb, just extremely nice."

That's certainly a positive for the Aggies and Huskies as Irving admits the level of facilities will be a factor as he approaches the various stages of the decision making process. Just not a primary factor.

"No matter where I go, I'm going to work my tail off to get better. Having a [state of the art] facility like that is good in terms of working on strength and being able to work on my game every night, but it's not really important that a school has one. Either way I am going to find ways to work on my game."

What will be a major factor is the relationship and reputation of the coaching staff - something that Irving is still learning about with several schools.

"Some of the more established coaches have a lot more contacts in the NBA, but then again some of the younger guys know a lot as well. [Texas A&M] Coach [Mark] Turgeon surprised me with all the people he knows. He worked under Larry Brown and he knows several other people in the NBA too. With a guy like Coach Crean, he's really turning around the program, and they should be good in a year or two."

Young or old. Established or just starting out. Each coach is pitching a similar message to this point.

"They all see me as a guard who can help them get to a Final Four. That's everyone's dream. They all want me to be a guy who helps lead them to a National Championship."

Among those schools in search of a dynamic floor general is Duke, which is looking to rekindle the days of William Avery, Jason Williams, and Chris Duhon. To this point Irving hasn't had a real chance to travel to Durham and visit with the coaching staff in a recruiting visit format. However, that's something he sees as something that needs to happen.

"It's a huge deal to me to get on campus and see what the feel of everything is. To see how I fit in there. It's important to visit so I can get that guy feeling. I'm talking to the coaching staff on the phone a lot, but I can't make a good decision without at least seeing everything first hand."

For the foreseeable future, however, visits will be at a premium thanks to an extensive travel schedule on the AAU circuit.

"It's going to be really hard to make any visit with all the events. I'm going to be playing all over the place - from Vegas to Orlando. If I do visit anywhere it's not going to be until the end of July or August. It's hard to focus on [visits] right now with all the moving around."

Until it's time to focus on the recruiting aspect of his development, Irving says he's content to work on his game and continue moving forward. Over the past year he's gone from a relative unknown to one of the nation's top rated players. It's something he's aware of and thankful for. It's also a motivating factor as he takes the court at the 2009 NBA Top 100 Camp.

"This is just an awesome experience. A year ago I was back at home, working out. Nobody really knew me. Now, this year, it's all a blessing. I really appreciate the NBA Players' Association giving me an opportunity to come in here and compete against all these guys. It's a lot of fun."

Interview conducted by Steve Clark at 2009 NBA Top 100 Camp


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