Duke star freshman guard Kyrie Irving will enter the NBA Draft, the university announced Wednesday, forgoing his final three years of eligibility.
"Our whole program is overjoyed with having Kyrie here for one year and that he has the chance now to pursue a dream of being a high draft pick and a great player in the NBA," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
"We are totally supportive of Kyrie, his family and his decision. 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 is expected to be one of the first players picked in the June 23 draft in Newark, N.J.
"I want to thank the entire staff at Duke, especially the coaches," Irving said. "It was a great experience playing for Coach K. He taught me a lot about the game. 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."
The 6-foot-2 guard from West Orange, N.J., burst onto the scene in the first eight games of the season, averaging 17.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists before a serious toe injury. He did not play again until the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
"This was a special year for me. I love everything about Duke and I'm going to miss it," Irving added. "Duke has a special place in my heart. Even though I'm leaving this year, Duke will always be in my mind and my heart. I'm going to miss putting on that No. 1 jersey."
Though the Blue Devils were eliminated by Arizona in the Sweet 16, Irving scored a team-high 28 points in the 93-77 loss.