Kyrie Irving's Commitment Ends Duke's Recruiting Woes

Justin McTeerCorrespondent IOctober 22, 2009

If I had to guess what Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is doing right now, I'd say he's smiling.

He should be since Kyrie Irving, the nation's second-rated point guard, just committed to the Blue Devils on ESPNU.

Even for a program like Duke that seems to have the market cornered on McDonald's All-Americans, Irving is a huge get.

A lightning-quick, offensively gifted (that's an understatement) point guard, Irving will bring a dimension to Duke's offense that has been missing for years.

College basketball fans suffering from long-term memory loss think of Duke as a team reliant on three-point shooters to make up for its lack of athleticism, but those who have been following the sport for a while remember the days when the Blue Devils could beat any team up and down the floor and frequently score in triple digits.

Irving is the type of player who will have the Blue Devils looking much more like the William Avery and Jason Williams-led teams of the late 90's and early 00's than the slower-paced teams of recent years.

While Irving's commitment spells big things for Duke's not-so-distant future, it also spells the end of Duke's much-publicized recruiting troubles.

For the last several seasons, Duke has brought in a bevy of talented players all the while missing out on several key recruits like Kenny Boynton, Greg Monroe, Patrick Patterson, and Brandan Wright.

Those misses have left the Blue Devils with missing pieces to a championship-caliber team for several years running.

Perhaps more importantly, those misses have given the Blue Devils the stigma of a team that can't land the top-tier talent that used to fill its roster.  

Irving's commitment changes that stigma, and it could lead to a recruiting domino effect that puts Duke back on top of college basketball.

Right now, the Blue Devils are (by all accounts) in the top of the running to land two more top-10 ranked recruits in Harrison Barnes and Austin Rivers, both of whom have close relationships with Irving.

Simply put, Irving is the best point guard Duke has had in almost a decade.

He gives Duke a piece of the recruiting puzzle they haven't had for a long time—an elite point guard who will make the players around him look (and play) better, taking pressure off the wings to penetrate and collapsing defenses to provide easy baskets (and improved stats) for the big men in the paint.

The truth of the matter is that elite players want to play with elite point guards, and Irving is as elite as they get.

Whether or not his relationships with Barnes and Rivers lead to more Duke commitments remains to be seen.

Regardless, Kyrie Irving just put the Blue Devils one step closer to returning as college basketball's national champion favorites.