Kyrie Irving’s whirlwind day began with dreams of Spain and Brazil and ended in New Orleans.
Irving was named to the USA Basketball men’s national team roster Thursday morning, then was officially named a starter in next month’s All-Star Game on Thursday night. He finished with 860,221 votes, second only to the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade. He is the fifth-youngest player to be elected an All-Star and is the third All-Star starter in Cavaliers history, joining only Shawn Kemp and LeBron James.
Irving leads all Eastern Conference point guards in scoring at 21.7 points (fifth overall in the East) and is averaging 6.1 assists. This is his second All-Star appearance in three years in the NBA.
“Thank you fans for voting for me as an All-Star starter,” Irving wrote on his Twitter account Thursday night. “Wouldn’t be there without you all!!”
James and Irving also share a place on the Team USA roster. Irving is expected to play on the U.S. World Cup team this summer in Spain and remains a candidate to play in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
“It’s such an honor to be in such a great pool of players,” Irving said Thursday afternoon following Cavs practice. “You look at the list of the veterans on the team and the newcomers, it’s such great talent.”
Joining Irving on the 28-man men’s national team roster are James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Tyson Chandler, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, Stephen Curry, Derrick Rose, LaMarcus Aldridge, Bradley Beal, DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond, Kenneth Faried, Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Kyle Korver, David Lee, Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard and Klay Thompson.
The only omission from the London Olympics is Kobe Bryant, who has retired from international play.
Inclusion on the 28-man roster doesn’t guarantee a spot on either the World Cup or Olympic team, but Team USA Chairman Jerry Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski have used the World Cup team as sort of a feeder program to the Olympic team. That means youngsters such as Irving and Lillard have an excellent chance to be chosen. A Team USA source told the Beacon Journal last summer during a Team USA minicamp that Irving was already considered a near lock to make the team.
“I’m looking forward to going to camp and working hard with the team,” Irving said.
Irving will be reunited on the national team with Krzyzewski, who coached him for one season at Duke.
“I’m not surprised with anything Kyrie is doing,” Krzyzewski said. “I knew in high school he had not just special athletic talents, but special mental and people talents. He’s got the whole package. He’s grounded. Nothing that he does will surprise me.”
Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller both attended a Team USA minicamp last summer, but both were omitted from the final roster. Both were always viewed as long shots to make the final roster.
By Jason Lloyd - Akron Beacon Journal (MCT)
©2014 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)
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