Next Up For Irving – Texas A&M

It's coming down to crunch time for many major 2010 prospects as the early November signing period is only weeks away. For the Texas A&M basketball program, it's a big recruiting week and the Aggies are already riding high. Websider spoke to Kyrie Irving about his upcoming trip to Aggieland. Find out what Kyrie had to say about the Ags in the tailgate!

It's coming down to crunch time for many major 2010 prospects as the early November signing period is only weeks away. For the Texas A&M basketball program, it's a big recruiting week and the Aggies are already riding high. Just this morning, head coach Mark Turgeon nabbed a verbal commitment from four-star DeSoto (TX) center Keith Davis in a fierce battle with in-state rival Texas. The Aggies hope to put the cherry on top of their promising 2010 class when five-star point guard Kyrie Irving heads down to College Station for his second of five official visits.

The 6-foot-2, 170-pound five-star prospect from Elizabeth, NJ is Scout.com's number two point man in the nation, and his list of suitors is a who's-who of college basketball.

Recently, Irving trimmed his list to five and announced he would take official visits to Duke (9/25), Texas A&M (10/9), Kentucky (10/15), Georgia Tech (10/27), and Seton Hall (10/30). Last weekend, the elite point guard took his first official visit to see Coach K and the Blue Devils, and the New Jersey native was impressed.

"It was great. I enjoyed hanging out with the players and coaches," Irving said. "The visit exceeded my expectations."

So what stood out the most on his two-day trip to the Duke campus?

"It was all good. I enjoyed talking with the coaching staff, and the students were great," Irving said. "But I'd have to say it was the campus. They took us to the top of the chapel there on the campus and you could really see how beautiful it all was. It's very nice."

Rumors surfaced shortly after his visit that a verbal commitment to Duke was eminent, but those rumors proved to be off the mark.

"I didn't commit. I have five quality schools on my list. While I enjoyed my visit, I still want to learn more about the other programs on my list," Irving said. "I'm going down to Texas A&M on October 9 and we'll see where we go from there."

Many college basketball observers are wondering why one of the top point guard prospects from New Jersey is interested in a Big 12 Conference team down in Texas. Irving says it's not much of a head scratcher for him.

"Texas A&M was the first program to offer me a scholarship after my freshman year. I went down there for a summer camp and I really liked it," Irving said. "But why I like Texas A&M is simple. I'm very close with the staff there. It started off with Coach Spinnelli, who is good friends with my father. But I've grown close with Coach Turgeon during the recruiting process. He's up-front and honest. I'm comfortable around him and the staff, and he's a good coach."

Irving also mentioned the resurgence in Texas A&M's basketball program as a reason for his interest. The Aggies are one of only six NCAA programs (UNC, Memphis, Pitt, UCLA, Texas) that have won at least one NCAA Tournament game in each of the last four seasons and the Aggies are the only Big 12 team to have a player taken in the NBA Draft the previous three years (Law – 2007, Jordan -2008, Elonu – 2009).

"A&M has good players and the program is on the rise," Irving said. "When I was down there last May, I saw the new practice complex that just opened. I'm looking forward to seeing how the players have settled into the new locker rooms and how they like the facility. It's supposed to be one of the best in the country. You can tell A&M is investing in its basketball program."

Irving said that the Aggies have as good of a shot as any in his final five to land his signature.

"People nationally don't think I'm serious about Texas A&M, but it has everything I'm looking for," Irving said. "A&M has quality academics. I'm comfortable with the coaching staff, and I like the plan they have for me to be a scoring point guard in their system."

A week after his visit to College Station, Irving will travel to Lexington, KY to visit the Kentucky Wildcats under new coach John Calipari.

"Kentucky is obviously an elite program," Irving said. "I probably got serious about Kentucky after Coach Calipari took over. He recruited me when he was at Memphis and I've got a good relationship with him."

The five-star prospect concludes his official visits with trips scheduled to Georgia Tech and then a short drive over to the hometown favorite Seton Hall Pirates.

"I'm looking forward to spending time with the coaches and players at Georgia Tech and Seton Hall," Irving said. "I want to just hang out and spend time with the players and coaches everywhere I go. This is more than just about basketball. I want to feel comfortable and be in the right university setting for me."

Irving insists that he has no leaders at this point, and he's not quite sure when he'll have a decision on his final school choice.

"I don't know. We'll see how things go with each visit and we'll go from there," said Irving. But for now he's packing his bags for Texas to visit the Aggies this weekend.


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