Kyrie Irving was a one-and-done player at Duke and became the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. You figure a guy like that was long heralded as a top prospect, but according to Austin Rivers, Irving was unknown to many for a while.
Rivers had Sam Cassell as a guest on his “Go Off” podcast and told the story of how Irving showed up at a Deron Williams Skills Academy camp several years ago and stunned everyone.
Keep in mind that Irving was a class ahead of Rivers in school, and Rivers — possibly due to his father Doc being a well-known coach — was hyped as a recruit. This camp probably took place in the late 2000s
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“We were there. It was all the top-ranked guys — Brandon Knight, Dion Waiters, Josh Selby, anybody you could name, John Wall, all these guys were there. And I remember they had this kid Kyrie. I think it was in New Jersey, where he’s from. They brought in a local kid. He was the local kid. He wasn’t even supposed to be there. He was like the kid they brought. So they brought in Kyrie. There were only like 20 of us — it was very intimate,” Rivers recalls.
Rivers says they then began doing some drills, and that’s when Irving started to shine and command attention.
“Kyrie gets in the one-on-one drill and starts wearing out everybody. Everyone’s like, ‘who the —-?’ I’ve never heard of this guy’s name. I’m like ‘who the hell is this dude?’”
“So Deron Williams hops in the game. Mind you this is his camp, he was an All-Star during that time. They’re going back and forth. Kyrie’s hitting him with some s—.”
Rivers says Irving’s domination at that academy helped the future No. 1 pick get on the map and says Kyrie soon “blew up” after that in notoriety.
Irving eventually went to Duke but only played 11 games due to a foot injury. He became the No. 1 pick in 2012 by the Cavs and eventually teamed with LeBron James to help them win a championship. Now Irving is teaming up with Kevin Durant on the Nets in a move they had planned for a bit.
H/T Clutch Points