Irving won’t play for Australia in Olympics
CLEVELAND (AP) — Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving won’t play for Australia in the London Olympics this summer.
Irving was born in Australia in 1992, while his father was playing professional basketball in Melbourne. He holds dual U.S. and Australian citizenship, making him eligible to play for either country under FIBA rules.
Irving said Monday night, after Cleveland lost to Utah 109-100, that he will remain with Team USA. He hopes to make the Olympic team in 2016 and play again for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Irving said he received confirmation that Krzyzewski will coach Team USA in four years in the Rio Olympics. Irving played for Krzyzewski at Duke last season before becoming the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.
“It was the right decision,” said Irving, who has represented the United States in junior competition. “I found out Coach K would be coaching in 2016. It made my decision so much easier to play for my coach again. That was the deciding factor.”
Irving, who will turn 20 on March 23, is the top contender for NBA rookie of the year honors. He leads rookies with 18.6 points per game and is second to Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio with 5.1 assists.
Irving, the centerpiece of the Cavaliers’ rebuilding project, is shooting 48.3 percent from the field. He was the MVP of the Rising Stars Challenge during NBA All-Star weekend.