Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Kyrie Irving the Best Jersey Guard Ever? ; St. Ben's to Face Mater Dei With a Blemish
St. Patrick coach Kevin Boyle made one of the most incredible statements I’ve heard in a long time in the wake of last night’s 88-62 blowout victory over St. Benedict’s at the RAC.
“Kyrie Irving, when it’s all said and done, he will arguably be as good as any guard who’s played in New Jersey,” Boyle said. “Any guard. Ever. Ever. DaJuan Wagner, Bobby Hurley. You’re talking about a guy who’s a great shooter, a great finisher, he’s going to be as good as anybody who’s played in New Jersey.”
One Big East assistant said without pausing: “He’s a pro.”
Boyle made the comments after Irving put on a show, scoring 21 points to go with 4 assists, 3 blocks, 3 steals and 3 rebounds in a rout of the No. 3 team in the nation.
“I don’t really feed off it,” the 6-foot-2 Irving, the No. 4 point guard in the Class of 2010 according to Rivals, said when told of Boyle’s comments. “In my household my dad [Drederick Irving, a former college player] always told me to stay humble and that’s the key to success. That’s what I live by and that’s what I’m going to follow because my dad was successful and I just want to follow in his footsteps.
“I think if I keep on at the pace I’m going right now, I think I could see myself playing professionally because I do want to play professionally. That’s my main goal.”
Irving and North Carolina-bound guard Dexter Strickland combined for 42 points in the rout, while the St. Ben’s backcourt of Texas-bound sophomore Myck Kabongo and Rice-bound senior Tamir Jackson managed 23.
“It feels great because we’re coming out and we’re just pressuring them fullcourt,” Irving said. “This will put us in position to be No. 1 in the country. Our main goal, the top goal is to be national champions and to win the T of C.”
Irving rattled off a huge list of scholarships offers, including Villanova, Duke, Memphis, St. John’s, Rutgers, Seton Hall, West Virginia, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Providence, Florida, UConn…”Numerous schools.”
“After this season, I’m going to narrow it down to a Top 10,” Irving said. “After AAU, I’m going to narrow it down to a Top 5 and I’m going to take those visits.”
ST. BEN’S NO LONGER UNDEFEATED
The loss by the Gray Bees (19-1) means that two unbeaten teams will not square off for national supremacy Saturday night in the 2009 Nike Extravaganza in California on ESPNU.
St. Benedict’s will now face undefeated Mater Dei (22-0) with one blemish on its record. Mater Dei is No. 1 in the ESPN Rise Fab 50, St. Ben’s is No. 3 and St. Patrick is No. 5.
“Losing a game or getting your butt kicked the way we did, I think it helps me as a coach,” St. Ben’s coach Dan Hurley said. “When you’re 19-0 and you got this undefeated season and you got a No. 2 ranking and you’re playing two big games, you’re just trying to protect the season. You’re just trying to get them through it, kind of keep the magical thing going, rather than coaching the hell out of them the way you really need to.
“Do you want to get drilled the way we did? No. But maybe it’ll avoid a drilling on Saturday…Or maybe not.”
(Video courtesy Star-Ledger)
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.