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.
Elizabeth (NJ) St. Patrick point guard Kyrie Irving will visit Kentucky Oct. 15.
“We are going to take a visit a to the University of Kentucky,” said Drederick Irving, Kyrie’s dad.
Kentucky would be Irving’s fourth official visit, following Duke (Sept. 25), Indiana (Oct. 2) and Texas A&M (Oct. 9).
That would leave a fifth official visit to a group that includes Seton Hall, UConn and Georgia Tech.
The Irvings have had in-homes with Texas A&M, Indiana, Kentucky, Duke and Georgia Tech.
UConn came in for an in-home Wednesday and Seton Hall comes tonight.
After that, a decision will be made about a fifth official.
“We’re waiting to see Seton Hall tonight,” Drederick said.
As for Kentucky, Drederick said:
“You can’t discount Kentucky because I do have a relationship with [assistant] coach [Rod] Strickland. I’ve known him since I was 7 and we played in the same backcourt with the Gauchos until we were 18. He’s like a brother to me. We have a profound relationship that cannot be discounted. He is Kyrie’s Godfather.”
Drederick said all the in-homes have gone well, and that he was especially impressed with Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt, a Long Island native.
“After a while it all starts to sound the same, to be quite frank,” Drederick said of the sales pitches.
“I thought Paul Hewitt came in and did a great job. I was really impressed with his presentation and the things he had to say about the school’s academics.”
Torrel Harris, father of Long Island forward Tobias Harris, said similar things after their in-home with Hewitt.
Kyrie wants to major in journalism in college and Drederick said all the schools have emphasized that in their meetings.
“They all got a chance to address the academics of the process in terms of what Kyrie wants to pursue in college, which is journalism,” he said. “Wer’e all familiar with the athletic part of the process. These are elite programs.”
Drederick said the visit from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski made a particular impression on Kyrie.
“I know Kyrie was highly impressed with Duke,” Drederick said.
The last time Drederick had seen Coach K was at the 1988 NCAA Tournament when his Boston University team was eliminated by the Devils.
“It was kind of ironic to have him in the house because Duke finished my career. We played Duke first round of the NCAAs in 1988. They ended my career. That was the last time I saw coach K in person and now it’s kind of ironic that they’re pursing Kyrie,” he said.
“It was really an honor to have a man of his stature in the house. He’s a gold medal winner. He’s won national championships. He’s a Hall of Fame coach. To have him pursuing Kyrie is an honor and a blessing. He’s got the credentials to support the legacy he’s built over the years.”
Asked about rumors that Harrison Barnes was lobbying Kyrie to potentially play together at Duke, Drederick said:
“I can’t comment on Kyrie’s conversations with Harrison,” he said. “They have their own dialogue. I don’t know what they’re doing.”
Indiana also figures strongly in Kyrie’s recruitment, largely because of the relationship with assistant coach Roshown McLeod.
“Coach Ro has done a splendid job recruiting Kyrie, recruiting the family so I got a chance to sit down and speak with Coach [Tom] Crean and just to have discussions with him about his plans for Kyrie and how Kyrie fits in,” he said.
Asked if it would come down to Duke or Indiana, Drederick said flatly:
“I think that’s very premature at this point. We’re being open to all the schools. They’re all great schools.
“It’s all predicated on a feeling that’s elicited once you’re on campus. There are so many intangibles that we’re looking to see when we go on these visits.
“But they’re all great schools and I just think it’s a matter of finding the right school for Kyrie and he’ll know because he’ll get a gut feeling.
“And when he gets that feeling he has said that he will pull the trigger.”
(Photo courtesy Irving family)
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.