COLORADO SPRINGS – Former Blue Devil and reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving was one of 13 players chosen to the USA Men’s Select Team that will train against the 2012USA Basketball Men’s National Team, coached by Mike Krzyzewski, during its July 6-12 training camp in Las Vegas, Nev., USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo announced on Monday.
Irving is coming off of an impressive debut season in the NBA in which he averaged 18.5 points and 5.4 assists per game for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He became one of just six rookies in NBA history to average at least 18 points and five assists. Irving scored at least 20 points in 25 games and scored in double figures in all but five contests. The 20-year old New Jersey native also sank three game-winning shots during the season and was named MVP of the Rising Stars Challenge, part of NBA All-Star Weekend, by scoring 34 points – including an 8-for-8 showing from three-point range – during the rookie and sophomore all-star game.
This will be Irving’s second stint with USA Basketball. The No. 1 overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2011 NBA Draft, Irving led the USA team to a 5-0 record and a gold medal at the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in San Antonio. He averaged 13.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.6 steals per game, while shooting over 50 percent from the field and 80 percent from the foul line for the tournament.
Irving has also donned the USA jersey at the 13th Annual Nike Hoop Summit at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore.. He scored 15 points to go along with three rebounds, five assists, zero turnovers and two steals to lead the U.S. Junior National Select team to a 101-97 victory over the World Select team in the contest.
“The USA Select Team was a vital part of the USA Men’s National Team’s training in 2007, 2008 and 2010, and again in 2012 we’ll utilize this team of select NBA players to help get our National Team ready for the very competitive summer that is ahead of us,” said Colangelo.
“Being chosen for the Select Team is quite an honor, and it’s an important step in becoming involved in USA Basketball’s National Team program in the future. In the past, current national team finalists like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, LaMarcus Aldridge, Andre Iguodala, as well as many other outstanding players got their USA National Team start through the Select Team.”
Other members of the team include: Ryan Anderson (Orlando Magic / California); DeJuan Blair (San Antonio Spurs / Pittsburgh); DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings / Kentucky); DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors / USC); Derrick Favors (Utah Jazz / Georgia Tech); Paul George (Indiana Pacers / Fresno State); Taj Gibson (Chicago Bulls / USC); Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz / Butler); Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers / Duke); Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs / San Diego State); Jeremy Lin (New York Knicks / Harvard); Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors / Washington State); and John Wall (Washington Wizards / Kentucky).
Since the development of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team program in 2006, USA Basketball has selected and utilized three USA Select teams to help the USA National teams prepare for its major international competitions. Irving joins a list of former Duke greats that went on to play for the USA Select Team, including J.J. Redick (2007), Kyle Singler (2010) and Nolan Smith (2010).
The 2012 USA Select Team will assemble in Las Vegas and conduct a training session July 5, then train with the USA National Team July 6-11 (12:00-3:00 p.m. PDT). All practices will take place at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center.