St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) point guard Kyrie Irving, rated No. 19 in MaxPreps.com’s 2010 Top 100, made a verbal commitment to Duke Thursday live on ESPNU.
The 6-foot-1 senior averaged 16 points per game as a junior for head coach Kevin Boyle's Celtics after transferring from Kimberley Academy in Montclair, helping the team compile a 30-3 record and winning New Jersey’s Tournament of Champions.
Irving picked the ACC power over Kentucky and Texas A&M. He joins an incoming Blue Devil class that already features a pair of Top 100 talents in 6-8 forward Joshua Hairston (No. 40 overall) and 6-2 guard Tyler Thornton (No. 72).
Most viewed his commitment as a foregone conclusion, but Irving tried to maintain some degree of suspense in recent days via Twitter.
“I don’t know what’s going on with all these supposed sources but I have not committed to duke (sic),” Irving posted Wednesday.
Irving’s signature moment of the summer came at the Nike Global Challenge in August, earning MVP honors after leading his team to the tournament title. Irving averaged 21.3 points and 4.3 assists per game in that event, which featured standouts from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Senegal and Serbia, as well as the United States.
Duke will now turn its eyes to Iowa wing Harrison Barnes – the No. 4 prospect nationally by MaxPreps. A Barnes-Irving package deal was a hot topic throughout the summer and Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski would love to see that materialize.
Irving and St. Patrick are primed for a run at high school basketball’s No. 1 ranking as top-ranked junior Michael Gilchrist and guards Kevin Boyle Jr. and Derrick Gordon return from last season’s state championship team. Brothers Julian and Chris Washburn from Duncanville, Texas, are also expected to join the program. Julian is a 6-8 senior while Chris is a 6-7 sophomore.