Kyrie Irving's career at Duke has ended after 11 games in one injury-shortened season.
Irving, a point guard whose freshman season was interrupted for 3 1/2 months because of an injury to his right big toe, will enter the NBA draft and plans to hire an agent, Duke spokesman Matt Plizga confirmed.
A 6-foot-2 native of West Orange, N.J., Irving is expected to be one of the top picks in the draft. A mock draft on NBAdraft.net projects him as the No. 2 pick overall, behind only Arizona forward Derrick Williams.
Irving averaged 17.5 points and 4.3 assists per game and shot 52.9 percent from the field in 11 games. He played the first eight games of the season before injuring his toe, then returned for Duke's three NCAA tournament games.
In a statement, coach Mike Krzyzewski said he is "overjoyed" that Irving attended Duke and now has a chance to chase his dream of playing in the NBA.
“We are totally supportive of Kyrie, his family and his decision," Krzyzewski said. "We look forward to continuing to work with him during the upcoming months leading to his entry into the NBA and afterwards while he is an NBA player. He is a great young man, a terrific student, and a truly amazing representative for our program and for Duke. We love him and are very happy for him and his family.”
Irving issued a statement through the school thanking the staff and coaches and saying that playing for Krzyzewski was a great experience.
"He taught me a lot about the game," Irving said. "Even when I was hurt, I learned a lot. Also a special thanks goes to the medical staff for getting me back on the court for the NCAA Tournament and my teammates for sticking with me throughout the entire year. Duke offered me an experience I could never have imagined.”
David Scott has been with the Observer for 28 years and has written about ACC, SEC and other college sports in the Charlotte region. He covers Wake Forest, South Carolina and college soccer for the Observer and (Raleigh) News & Observer.
J.P. Giglio covers the ACC for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1997, and the Observer.
Andrew Carter covers the North Carolina Tar Heels for the Observer and News & Observer.
Laura Keeley covers the Duke Blue Devils for the Observer and News & Observer. Follow her on Twitter.
Chip Alexander covers the Carolina Hurricanes and college football for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1979, and the Observer.
Luke DeCock has worked for The News & Observer since 2000. He covered the Carolina Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a sports columnist for the Observer and News & Observer in August 2008.
Tim Crothers is an author and former senior writer at Sports Illustrated who is joining the sports staff to write a regular column during the rest of the college basketball season.