Bloomington – Kyrie Irving found out what Tom Crean has been talking about.
Throughout the recruiting process, one of the things IU's head coach has been trying to sell Scout.com's eighth-ranked player on is the passion IU basketball fans have for the Hoosier program. On Saturday, Irving had a chance to get a taste for that at the Adidas May Classic.
Playing in front of approximately 2,000 fans at Assembly Hall, Irving scored 22 points to lead his New Jersey Roadrunners team to a come-from-behind 68-59 win over Indiana Elite One. Irving said he was expecting a solid turnout for a game that matched him up against 2011 IU commit Matt Carlino, but the number of on-lookers still caught him by surprise.
"This is a first – I loved every minute of it," Irving said. "It surprised me. I knew people would come to the game, but I didn't know there would be this kind of turnout. It was great."
The fans weren't disappointed by Irving's performance or the game itself. Indiana Elite turned a one-point halftime deficit into an 11-point lead midway through the second half due in large part to the 24 points and six 3-pointers by Spencer Turner. But Irving scored 13 of his team-high output in the second half to spur the Roadrunners' turnaround.
One person who couldn't watch Irving's performance was Crean, as NCAA rules prohibit coaches from watching AAU events at this point during the spring. But the Hoosier coach was able to spend time with Irving on Friday, as he hosted him for an unofficial visit.
Irving said Crean took him around the IU campus, meeting with a couple of teachers as well as an academic advisor. He also made a stop by the IU School of Journalism, which is what he intends to major in when he gets to college.
While Crean spent time showing him around the campus, he also continued to reiterate how well he believes he'd fit in IU's system and with the program.
"He talks about just making an impact right away, bringing them to the Final Four, and to be the point guard he needs," Irving said.
Crean will have to wait until the fall to find out if Irving will be the "point guard he needs" in the 2010 class. Irving has a list of 12 schools, but said Saturday that list could wind up being modified in the coming weeks as some schools are added and others drop off. He'll then cut his list to five after the AAU circuit wraps up late this summer and then take his five official visits before making a decision.
In the interim, he said he wants to take an unofficial visit to Notre Dame soon, and he might take on to Duke next weekend when he's in town for the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions.
While Notre Dame and Duke are just two of the big names still on Irving's list, it was clear after the St. Patrick's (N.J.) H.S. standout's 22-point effort Saturday afternoon that Indiana is a team that figures to be a tough team to beat.
"I love this court, I love everything about Indiana," Irving said.
Irving: "I Love Everything About Indiana"
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