July 24, 2016

Partly cloudy

Cavs’ Kyrie Irving gives kids thrill, advice


AVON LAKE — That must have been an awesome crossover move the kid from New Jersey had a decade ago.

“I went to the Boston University elite camp with my father,” said Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, the 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year. “B.U. offered me (a scholarship) right then, in my fifth-grade year.”

Irving’s father, Dederick Irving, played basketball for Boston University from 1984-88 and is No. 2 on the Terriers’ career scoring list.

“I always kid my dad about that.”

Irving is now conducting youth basketball camps. He was in Avon Lake on Saturday for the Kyrie Irving Basketball ProCamp, run by ProCamps Worldwide of Cincinnati. A field of 220 youngsters ages 7-18 and 50 area high school coaches attended the camp at Avon Lake High School.

“This takes me back to when I was a camper,” Irving said. “I’ve been in this position. I’m happy to offer any help I can. It’s an opportunity for me to interact with kids from all over Ohio.”

So what help does Irving, drafted in the first round out of Duke University in 2011, have to give a young basketball player?

“Basketball isn’t the ultimate goal,” Irving said during a post-camp press conference. “You have to succeed in life.”

And the crossover dribble?

“In elementary school that was all I had,” said Irving, who added that he modeled the move, likely the best weapon in his basketball arsenal, after NBA stars Allen Iverson and Tim Hardaway.

This is the second Kyrie Irving ProCamp. A camp was conducted in Westlake last summer.

“This one is definitely more special,” Irving said. “Last year no one knew what to expect from me. This year I was Rookie of the Year, and I brought it back to the community. It’s definitely a bigger deal.”

A few campers had a chance to show Irving what they’d learned that morning, such as how to box out on free throws, begin a fast break and, of course, do the crossover dribbles. The campers were divided into teams and each team had a picture taken with Irving.

Irving removed the cast on his right wrist for the picture session. He broke the wrist July 14 when he slammed his hand on a padded wall during a scrimmage against the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team in Las Vegas. Not surprisingly, reporters asked Irving about the injury.

“I’ll be back (playing) by Sept. 1,” Irving said. “I’m just rehabilitating it now. It should be fine for (preseason practices).”

Irving also repeated his claim that the injury didn’t happen because he lost his temper following a turnover.

“It was a freak accident,” he said. “It wasn’t out of anger. It was crazy the way it happened. It was just one of those things.”

Irving averaged 18.5 points and 5.4 assists per game for the Cavaliers in the strike-shortened 2011-12 season.

Contact Steve Byrne at 329-7135 or stephenbyrne@att.net.