Cavalier Rookies Spurn Overseas Play to Continue Education

“Just picked out my classes for this fall,” tweeted one Kyrie Irving, first overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. “Back to school it is!!!”

Such is the life for a rookie in a league that has ceased operation. Irving, whose father insists that a one-and-done career path was not in the cards one year earlier, will go back to Duke University and take coursework like many other 19-year-olds within the same institution. While others within Irving’s freshly acquired peer group are fielding offers from potential overseas employers, he and his teammate Tristan Thompson are opting to continue their education while they wait out the current impasse that is the NBA and their labor negotiations.

“Even though I’m not playing basketball, I’m still being productive,” Thompson recently told The Canadian Press. “I’m working out with the Texas team, and continuing to get my education which is important because when it’s all said and done, basketball can only do so much for you. You stop playing when you’re around 35 so you’ve got another 60 more years to live, and I’ve got to do something. This education is going to help me.”

Both players had spent the bulk of the summer working out at their respective schools. Thompson entertained the idea of playing with the Canadian national club in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, but opted against it once the schedule conflicted with his pending schoolwork. Irving has been in Durham since the draft, continuing to work out, something that is imperative given the foot issues which took away a large portion of his freshman campaign with the Blue Devils.

Despite opting to enter the NBA, Irving promised his father that he would in fact earn his degree from Duke.  He had originally estimated that it would take an additional five offseasons; the current state of the NBA may help expedite this process.

“I have to make it work,” Irving said during the NBA combine. “I’m really going to have to make it work. That’s a pact I have to live up to. I definitely need to be at Duke in the summers. I can’t forget the Duke program. I want to be around there as much as I can.”

Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

  • Julie

    Apparently Thompson is living until he’s 95. That’s a pretty optimistic expectation!

  • mgbode

    he eats right and gets a ton of exercise, why not be optimistic :)

    glad to hear that they’ll be staying on-campus and working out with their old teams. good for those programs and good for us as it should keep them focused and in game-shape if the season starts up quickly.

  • Return of the (Alex) Mack

    No one lives forever, no one. But with advances in modern science and my high level income, it’s not crazy to think I can live to be 245, maybe 300. .. (Ricky Bobby)

  • The Conductor

    LeBron James is the most considerate person the world has ever known.

    One hell of a guy.

    There is no debating this.

    well, maybe.

  • Right Side

    It’s impressive he’s planning on working until 95.

  • Glasser812

    Absolutely love this…also enjoy Thompson’s optimism of a long prosperous life.

  • TSR3000

    Am I crazy for rooting for this lockout? I simply see it as potentially one more year that “he whose name we dare not mention” does not win a ring. On top of that, we get another lottery pick, right?

    Also, the last NBA memory anyone has is Dirk and company beating the three-my-egos. I don’t mind prolonging that as well.

    I hope the whole season gets canceled.

  • Shamrock

    Thompson will probably make Hickson look/sound like a genius. Wait, did I say that out loud? I’ll miss Bubba Gump!

  • Ben

    Cool…but I will check back in about October of 2012. It is going to be a while.

  • mgbode

    @Shamrock – Tristan is Canadian. He may not be any smarter than JJ, but he’ll definitely ‘sound’ smarter than JJ