Kyrie Irving: 5 Lessons He Learned from Coach K at Duke

Kyle SkovCorrespondent IIJune 28, 2011

Kyrie Irving: 5 Lessons He Learned from Coach K at Duke

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    Kyrie Irving has now moved on from Duke University after he was picked No. 1 in the 2011 NBA draft. Although Irving is now in Cleveland, Ohio, there are lessons he learned all the way back in Durham, North Carolina that will never leave him.

    Irving is a player that was clearly going to be a one and done. He has the kind of skills that only come with much dedication and practice.

    He has the work ethic that Coach Mike Krzyzewski looks for in his players.

    Here is a list of five lessons that Kyrie Irving learned from Coach K that will never leave him.

How To Be Modest

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    Kyrie Irving has such high expectations on his shoulders that it could have went to his head.

    Coach K has handled many players that have went on to become very big talents at the next level.

    He has the experience to help a young player cope with all of the weight of people’s expectations on him. Coach K gave Irving the environment and confidence to let him flourish, yet stay grounded.

    Irving is a player who is very mature, which is something that many noted when he was entering the draft. He is level-headed and it starts with how he was developed as a player. A large part of that development was his time spent around Coach K.

How To Deal with Waiting

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    Any player who has been injured will tell you how frustrating it is to get back onto the court. It is a long waiting game that has a lot of mental obstacles that you have to face.

    It is important to have a good support system, especially your coach reassuring you that when the time is right that you will be back in the lineup, contributing.

    This is very important as far as support goes.

    Now that a lockout seems to be looming, Irving will need to wait again.

    Although it is not an injury, it is still something that is going to be frustrating, posing many obstacles that will mess with Kyrie mentally.

How To Deal with the Spotlight

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    Kyrie Irving had a lot of people naming him as the No. 1 pick before the season even started. He was a player whose destiny was mapped out for him before he even touched the court.

    He was thrust into the spotlight, and he needed to mature quickly.

    Coach K gave him the environment to do just that. He allowed Kyrie Irving to be in the spotlight but stay level-headed.

    He was in the spotlight, but Coach K deflected a lot of it. He spoke very true of Irving’s game.

    Irving also was recruited by Coach K to one of the top programs in the country at Duke. This put him in the spotlight of NCAA basketball and gave Irving the chance to deal with it early.

    This all allowed him to have an opportunity to prepare for being picked No. 1 in the draft.

How To Deal with Diversity

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    Irving was only able to play in 11 games for Coach K. Only playing so few games when you are the presumed No. 1 pick in the draft is something that is going to put pressure on any basketball player in college.

    As a 19-year-old, Kyrie Irving had to work. He had to work with ferocity, so that he could be healthy and help his team and Coach K win games in the tournament and late in the season.

    He also had to answer critics when he got on the court again.

    Coach K never lost faith in the quality that Irving is. He never shied away from saying that he was going to play as soon as he got healthy. This was even if the minutes were going to be limited.

    Coach K knew that the Blue Devils played great without Irving but could be playing even better if he was around for the whole season.

    This kind of faith allowed Irving to have what it takes to deal with the adversity that was coming from external sources around him.

How To Produce When It Is Needed

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    Kyrie Irving has undeniable talent. Some may argue that he is not a franchise player, and he may not even be a superstar in the making.

    There is one thing no one can debate and that is he is a talented player who can perform when he needs to.

    He is a leader and he is the kind of player that can take the game into his hands and finish it out as the clock is dying.

    Irving was hurt for almost all of the season and did not have many chances to show this capability, but when he was called upon, he was there.

    One performance that sticks out is his sweet sixteen performance against Arizona. Although the Blue Devils lost, Irving was one of the few players for them that really looked like he was involved in the game.

    Irving went 9-for-15 from the floor, and more impressive then that, was his decision making during the game.

    This is what proves that Coach K has instilled, a knowing-when-to-produce type of philosophy on Irving.

    He is a more traditional point guard that sees the floor well and assesses all of the viable options on the play. He has the ability to pick out the right player and get the ball into the player’s hands that is going to be able to complete the play.

    Irving also knows when he must complete the play himself.