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June 23, 2011

Kyrie Irving



KYRIE IRVING: I want to thank everybody for coming. When David Stern came up there and said that the Cleveland Cavaliers have five more minutes on the clock, that felt like the longest five minutes of my life. It's a great feeling being drafted, knowing that all of my hard work has come to fruition now and I'm just really looking forward to getting to go to Cleveland and making a quick contribution whenever the NBA season starts.

Q. You talked about being here two years ago and you told your stepmother that this was going to happen. How was tonight compared to what you thought was going to happen, and did you ever have any thoughts about going No. 1?
KYRIE IRVING: I didn't have any doubts about going to No. 1. I was looking to the organization to pick who they felt was the right choice. But now to this moment, from being a fan of the NBA Draft and now being drafted, it's a special feeling in my heart and knowing that my friends and family were together, it's a memory I'm going to remember for the rest of my life.

Q. Based on the comments you made with your desire to play for your native Australia, Basketball Australia issued a statement overnight saying that if you're willing to go the extra mile to clear the extra hurdles, they are, too. Are you willing to do that? Do you want to and have you talked to Coach K about it?
KYRIE IRVING: Right now I'm in discussion with the head coach, Brett Brown and we have been talking for a while about me transitioning from the USA to playing for Australia but it's a position that's not going to be made right now. Like I said, we are in conversation. I have not talked to Coach K about it. That will be a decision that I will make further down the road.

Q. How do you think you'll fit into Byron Scott's offense? I know you've talked about wanting to play a lot of pick-and-roll in the NBA.
KYRIE IRVING: Oh, definitely. Just the way Coach Scott, what he did for Chris Paul and his transition into the NBA, he made it a lot easier, and I kind of want to emulate that journey of Chris Paul and transitioning to his offense, which is up-tempo and just run. When I was out in Cleveland, all he said he wants to do is just run, like he did when he played for the Lakers in '86. When they made the run with Magic with the point, that's how I want it, just up-and-down.

Q. Considering you played your high school ball like 20 minutes down the road and now you're getting drafted No. 1 in the league right here in Newark, what kind of emotions are there?
KYRIE IRVING: Honestly, I'm really holding myself back from really letting all my emotions out. I'm excited now knowing that I have to share this experience with my old teammates, and some of my Duke teammates are here, and getting this experience, it's a once-in-a-lifetime and it's an honor to be drafted especially No. 1 as a point guard I know I'm in good company, only five point guards in the last 35 years have been drafted No. 1, so I'm in good company.

Q. When you see some of the names that are No. 1 picks, what goes through your mind? It's NBA royalty to be the No. 1 pick.
KYRIE IRVING: That I've got some big shoes to fill. No. 1 picks, they have a lot of expectations on them and I plan on exceeding them. Being No. 1 pick is an honor and I'm really looking forward to getting on the court and showing I didn't was picked No. 1.

Q. You were there the night that Cleveland got to the No. 1 pick. Did you go home that night, try looking up Cleveland, try to learn as much as you can, especially with all of the expectations that you probably were going No. 1?
KYRIE IRVING: Well, I had information on all of the organizations that were in the lottery. I was best prepared for whoever got the No. 1 pick. I was glad it was Cleveland and I'm glad that they picked me.
That night after the lottery, I really thought long and hard about it, and any do -- if Cleveland actually does pick me, I could not really envision myself getting drafted but now that it's actually here, it's the greatest feeling in the world.

Q. Obviously last year, the Cavaliers franchise and their fans went through a big hit with LeBron leaving. How excited are you and how much pressure do you put on yourself to go to Cleveland to rebuild what they had established there before LeBron left?
KYRIE IRVING: One, I'm really not looking to replace LeBron honestly, just try to be Kyrie Irving and just contribute to the Cleveland organization as much as I can. I'm looking forward to getting to Cleveland. It's a big sports town and I cannot wait to embrace all of the fans there and the fan support, I can't wait. Having the chance to see my jersey out in the crowd with all of those Cleveland fans, that's something I'm really looking forward to.

Q. How much are you looking forward to playing with Baron Davis and learning from a veteran point guard?
KYRIE IRVING: It will be a great experience. He can only help me, just coming into the NBA as a fresh face and a rookie, I can only learn from him.
Whether we play aside each other or vice versa, one plays in front of the other, it will all be to help me. So I can only grow in the Cleveland organization having a point guard that's already been in the NBA for a number of years. It's a great opportunity for me to learn from the best.

Q. You mentioned yesterday that you've been talking to LeBron and Chris Paul, and taking notes from them ever since you were kind of a kid on how to be a pro. Can you talk a little bit more about that and what you've learned from those people how to conduct yourself in this league?
KYRIE IRVING: Well, I didn't really start befriending them until I got into high school and I started going to their camps and I got to know them a little bit. When I was younger I used to watch countless hours of video of both of them working out. When I say, try to emulate their journey, just the way they transitioned themselves, LeBron coming from high school into the NBA and Chris Paul coming from college into the NBA, and the way they conducted themselves on and off the court, is truly as a professional should. A lot of community service, just taking care of the family and that's kind of how I envision myself.
This is a position I've been waiting all my life for, and having the opportunity to take care of my family and my friends, and actually doing what I love every single night is something I've been looking forward to for a long time.

Q. What skill do you think you learned at Duke under Coach K that will serve you best in the National Basketball Association?
KYRIE IRVING: Well, I truly believe that Duke is a professional program. The way we prepare, practice, we practice like professionals and that's what he taught me and that's what I'm going to carry to the next level is how to prepare like a professional: Countless hours of film, breaking things down in practice, preparing for the next team, thoroughly. There's not one team that I thought we were unprepared for, even when I was hurt.
So being a part of the Duke program and shadowing the coaches when I was hurt, I really learned a lot how to prepare like a professional. When I was playing it was a little different, because things were happening really fast. But when I was hurt, things -- it slowed down for me. So I really got a chance to learn from them, learn from the coaches especially.

Q. What stood out to you most during that visit to Cleveland?
KYRIE IRVING: Just the amount of pressure I was under, because it was the only team I was going to go work out for. That workout really had a lot of pressure, and the aura in the air, it was filled with a lot of intensity. And you could see in Coach Scott's eyes, he probably won't admit it, but we played a shooting game and I beat him. He probably won't admit it. (Laughter).
It was fun and it was intense at the same time. I did all of the testing that I did not do in Chicago, which was good, because I wanted to test myself against the best. When we worked out, I think it went really well, also.

Q. First of all, congratulations. There's a lot said about when you knew. When did you know that you were going to be a Cleveland cavalier?
KYRIE IRVING: I knew when everybody else knew. They gave me no indication that they were going to pick me. I was really nervous sitting at that table with my family and my friends.
I found out when everyone else found out and I'm glad I'm a Cleveland cavalier.

Q. Have you had a chance to meet Dan Gilbert, and what were your impressions if you have?
KYRIE IRVING: He's a really smart man, and honestly, he has a plan prepared for the next -- for the future.
You know, when I met him, he's a great owner, and he's not afraid to go out and get players to surround -- to get in the organization. I'm really happy I'm a part of the Cleveland organization. He's a great owner and I'm really looking forward to getting to Cleveland and embracing it.

Q. Who are you most looking forward to playing against in the NBA? Is there one guy in the league that you're like, okay, "I admire that player and look forward to playing against him"?
KYRIE IRVING: I'm just really looking forward to playing against everybody. I really dreamed about playing on the floor with great players, and I'm playing with the best of the best every night.
You know, one night, I'll have Kobe, and the next night I'll have Kevin Martin and the next night I'll have Stephen Curry. All of these players that I've really grown up and been fond of and now they are going to be competitors with me, so I'm really looking forward to that.

Q. Did you get a chance to talk to Coach Boyle today and what did he say to you?
KYRIE IRVING: I didn't get a chance to talk to Coach Boyle. He texted me earlier and congratulated on this opportunity of mine. I'll probably talk to him a little later, but he played a big influence on my career.

Q. Obviously we just saw Tristan Thompson come off the board. What do you think of him joining you in Cleveland?
KYRIE IRVING: I'm really looking forward to it. Tristan is a great friend of mine, and just having another fellow freshman being drafted to Cleveland, I'm really looking forward to it, and playing with him -- I'm really excited. I was looking over there while I was trying to listen to the question at the same time. (Laughter).
I'm really excited having a fellow -- he's 19, also, and he's a young player, and having somebody alongside you that will go through the rookie ups and downs with you, it will make the transition into the NBA that much easier.

Q. Can you tell us who was at the table with you? Your dad and your agent and who else?
KYRIE IRVING: It was my dad, my sister, my agent, and two of my best friends.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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