While his time in Durham was brief, Kyrie Irving did dazzle while he was on the court. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY
Every Saturday, the News & Observer takes a look around the ACC. That also provides an opportunity to check in with the Blue Devils and look for any emerging trends.
Duke’s performance against Virginia Tech was impressive, no matter what superlative or comparison is used.
Biggest ACC win since a 32-point drubbing of UNC in 2010.
Biggest ACC road win since 2005 at Florida State.
Highest 3-point percentage (70.6 percent) of any Division I road team this year.
Head coach Mike Krzyzewski had another one after the game: The Blue Devils dominated the Hokies like Kyrie Irving dominated the New Orleans Hornets in the fourth quarter Wednesday.
Irving, who played one injury shortened season at Duke in 2010-11, scored 20 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 105-100 comeback win. Irving, only 20, technically could be a junior at Duke.
But Krzyzewski knew that was never going to happen.
“We knew when we recruited Kyrie that he was going to be a special player of his era,” he said. “That’s why we gave him the ball even though Nolan (Smith) and Kyle (Singler) were coming back.”
Krzyzewski does wish he would have gotten more than 11 games out of the freshman—Krzyzewski has said several times this year that he thought that team could run the table and go undefeated—but a left toe injury prevented that. Irving played eight regular season games, highlighted by a 31-point performance against Michigan State, and returned for Duke’s three NCAA Tournament games. He finished his short career with an average of 17.5 points per game.
Even though his time in Durham was short, Irving still has ties to the school. Current Blue Devils Tyler Thronton and Josh Hairston went to visit him this summer in Cleveland, for example.
“His two best friends are Josh (Hairston) and Tyler (Thornton),” Krzyzewski said. “Kyrie is a Duke guy. He wants to be associated.”