Despite the current fracas surrounding Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving, he remains one of the top players in the NBA. The point guard is a one-time NBA champion, winning his only ring with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.
The 2011 No. overall 1 draft pick's status as one of the most talented basketball players in the world was evident even before beginning his NBA career. Kyrie Irving went on to justify his praises, producing an outstanding rookie season that ended with him bagging the NBA Rookie of the Year award.
Since then, he has gone on to star in 7 NBA All-Star games, winning the All-Star game MVP award in 2014. In his previous 10 seasons in the NBA, Kyrie Irving has averaged 18.4 points, 9.1 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game. Despite having an abbreviated college experience before being drafted, most would still have bet on the star's professional career following this same trajectory.
How good was Kyrie Irving in his college days?
Kyrie Irving spent his college career with the Duke Blue Devils, playing only 11 games for the university. He averaged 17.5 points per game on 52.9% shooting from the field and making 46.2% of his shots from deep. He showed remarkable skill from the free-throw line landing 90.1% shots, while adding 3.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game for Duke.
How did Kyrie Irving perform in the NCAA Tournament?
Kyrie Irving’s limited college background came as a result of his past problems with injuries. He ended up missing 26 games while at Duke due to a complicated toe injury, ruling him out of action until the Blue Devils' NCAA opening-round game against the Hampton Pirates.
Despite just coming back from injury, Kyrie Irving sparkled coming off the bench to record a team-high 14 points, adding 4 rebounds, one assist, one block and two steals in just 20 minutes of play.
Uncle Drew proceeded to put up double figures in his next two outings as Duke cruised to victory against the number 8 ranked Michigan Wolverines before running into the Arizona Wildcats in the Western Regional semifinals (NCAA sweet sixteen). It ended with the Blue Devils bowing out of the tournament, losing a first-half lead thanks to a second-half masterclass from the Wildcats.
The current Nets player was the team's highest scorer in the loss, oozing class throughout the encounter as he came off the bench to put up 28 points. Kyrie Irving finished 9-of-15 from the floor, making 2-of-4 free throws, adding 3 assists and a steal in an incredible all-round performance.
Even after airing his hopes of representing Duke the following year, Irving’s college career came to a close soon after, as he went on to declare for the NBA draft.
Kyrie Irving's highest-scoring college game
Despite a painful injury while in college, Kyrie Irving was a powerhouse. He scored in double figures in all 11 games he played for the Duke Blue Devils, scoring 20 plus points in three of those encounters.
His highest-scoring game came against Michigan State in the CBE Classic tournament. Irving recorded an astonishing 31-point performance, creating a school record as the fourth freshman to score over 30 points in a single game. His 31 points tied for the second-most points, remarkably doing so on an 8-of-12 shooting record, while also scoring 2-of-3 three-pointers.
He was also efficient from the free-throw line, making 13-of-16 shots to create a record for most free throws made and tying the freshman record for most free throws attempted. He finished the tournament as the MVP, recording 14.5 points and 6 assists.
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