Blue Devil Nation Premium – One on One with Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving - BDN Photo c/r
Kyrie Irving - BDN Photo c/r

BDN's Andrew Slater has his second in depth interview up from his coverage at the Rumble in the Bronx.  This time he gets the latest from a major Duke recruiting target Kyrie Irving.  To read this entire interview and to be set for coverage from the NBAPA Top 100 Camp starting tomorrow, join Blue Devil Nation Premium.  Also, take advantage of our trial offer for first time members and see for yourself what the talk is about.

In a game characterized by its physicality, which culminated in the New Jersey Roadrunner star getting upended and crashing on his head, Kyrie Irving kept his cool in defeat against Team Florida. While the nearly 6’2” rising senior guard from West Orange, NJ had come off one of his toughest shooting games in a while, notably connecting on two of nine after the fall, the Duke recruit was still gracious, albeit woozy, enough to go through with the Blue Devil Nation interview less than twenty minutes after the crash.

Blue Devil Nation - Can you give an update on your recruitment? Are there any major changes in your recruitment in the last month?

Kyrie Irving - Well, I visited UConn.

As I recall from the last time we spoke, you were going to make visits to Texas A&M, Indiana, and Notre Dame.

Texas A&M?

Yeah, the last time you said you were going to Texas A&M.

Oh, okay. Yeah, I never made it down there. But, yeah, I only made it to UConn and Indiana. They were great. The schools had tremendous facilities and the planning staff was good also.

What sort of things did you do on the visits?

Well, just the coaches took me around, you know. They showed me the basics.

Sure, sure. Do you have any visits planned?

Yeah, Texas A&M and Notre Dame over the next few weeks.

I was looking at your Twitter account the other day. You’ve got a lot of positive affirmations up there. Let’s start with “Back to the lab.”


I like the imagery. Talk about the mindset that you bring when you go to the gym and work on your game. Expound upon that a little bit.

Well, what got me to the point or, rather, got me to the player that I am today is just working hard. You know, staying hungry.

“Humble and hungry?”

(laughing) Yeah, humble and hungry. Just every time I go out there just proving myself.[private]

With the “back to the lab,” you’re working on things. It’s a mindset, right?

Yeah, exactly, just trying to get better each time.

Your handle has gotten tighter over the past few months. Do you think that’s just a natural progression or do you credit the additional work?

Yeah, well, it’s natural, but it’s also going hard every drill in every practice.

Do you work out at various gyms? Alone or with others?

I workout at one gym. It’s actually a Jewish YMCA with Sandy.

Now, does he help you out alone. Or does your father help too.

My father and he do…my father and him. It’s mainly Sandy in the summers, but I work out with my father in the winters. Talk about your work ethic and how you feel it differentiates you from other talented players that are your age.

There are some guys with talent, but no work ethic. Then, there are guys with a great work ethic, but not much talent . When you find guys that share those rare guys that combine those two positive traits, you get a Kobe Bryant, a Tiger Woods of the world, or a LeBron James. There are so many guys that have a lot of talent, but they get lazy or satisfied when they first receive some accolades and don’t maintain that drive. How do you guard against getting self-satisfied?

When you go against guys that are just as talented as you, you know, has your skill set, what’s going to determine the difference is your motor…your endurance…and just…when the crunch comes at the end of games, what are you going to do? I put myself in those kind of situations all the time. I practice those situations.

End of game situations?

Yeah, you know, just try to maintain and be consistent from game to game. Don’t lose your focus.

The one player you’ve mentioned has been Kobe Bryant. There’s one move that you do off of a high screen that looks like an imitation of Kobe Bryant. What have you learned off of watching Kobe because it looks like you’ve gotten a couple of moves?

Yeah, you know, just stay consistent and…

That killer attitude?

Yeah, “seek and destroy.”

How do you feel you’ve played in the AAU season so far?

I think I’ve played well, but this one wasn’t one of the better ones.

Yeah, this was about as much as I’ve seen you, well, it wasn’t your best game. They were doubling you when you got the ball and then they also decided to get very physical with you.

Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know lately. Just lately… I took a break. I just took a break from school. Wait, not from school. I finished school. I took a break for about a week and so I’m still rusty…a little bit.

Yeah, well, this was an unusual game for you.

Yeah, Yeah, don’t worry, this isn’t going to happen consistently…at all

Another one of your themes has been “making it to the League.” Are you looking to get there as fast as possible? Or do you want to be in a good position, possibly a lottery pick, by the time you‘re looking to leave?

Nah, nah, I’m not looking to go one and done. Yeah, I want to be in a good spot, like a lottery pick.

Different players have different philosophies. Some guys are looking to get out as fast as possible.

No, I’m not one of those. Whenever I’m ready, I’m ready.

How do you feel about the NBA’s one year law? What do you feel the rule should be? What would be your answer or solution, if they made you NBA Commissioner for a day?Kyrie Irving:

I feel as though, if you’re ready, you’re ready. You should be able to hold your own fate in your hands.

So Commissioner Irving would say ...

I would just move it back to eighteen. You know, if you’re ready, you’re ready.

Do you wish the college coaches could get more of a look at your work the past few months or are you glad that they’re now limited to mostly July?

I wish they could be out here, but I don’t think that it would’ve made much of a difference. Yeah, I wish they could come out, though.

What are you going to try to show at two of the more visible events before the coaches get a chance to observe you, in the NBA camp and at the LeBron James camp?

Just show them I am a complete player. Shooting, passing, playing point guard…just being a complete guard

Now, you’re going to be going against some of the best players in the country.

Oh, I’m ready for it. I’m excited about it.

You’re asked to carry a heavy burden on this team. Do you try to pace yourself consciously or give max effort and take your rest on the bench and after the game?

That’s interesting. I try to go all out, but I also try to take my breaks here and there.

With the amount of playing time you’re getting and being the absolute focal point of the offense, you simply can’t go all out both ways.

Yeah, I try to pace myself as the game goes on. You know, pick your spots. I’m sorry, you know, as soon as I took that fall, I didn’t know what was going on. That really…

Absolutely, it looked like you cut open the back of your head.

That fall really took me back. It was a real wake-up call.

But generally, you try to pace yourself?

Yeah, I have to… here.

Do you feel good about St. Patrick’s chances of winning back-to back at the Tournament of Champions? You lose Dexter Strickland and Paris Bennett, but the program returns you and Mike Gilchrist. Also, who are some top teams that people should watch you against next year? Patterson Catholic?

Yeah, we definitely should win again. I’ve been hearing good things about some of my teammates and how they‘re playing already over the summer. In terms of the teams in Jersey that should be tough, yeah, Patterson Catholic and Trenton Catholic too.

Lastly, you’ve gone from being a one-man gang where you could score at will at MKA to playing on an elite team where you play more of a role on the team that‘s winning big? Do you think that gives you an advantage in terms of having a better understanding of the plus and minuses of both sides for when you decide upon a college, as opposed to some kids who will only see one side of the fence?

Oh, um, well I’m looking for a college that’s going to surround me with other good players… so that we can go far in the Tournament.

Since you’ve seen both sides of the coin..

Yeah, I mean I love having the ball in my hands, but I can also play off the ball.

I was just curious.

Oh, no, I’ve seen both sides of the coin.

Thank you very much.

No problem.

In the two games following the interview, Kyrie Irving came back with strong showings, netting 28 and 32 points, respectively. [/private]