Top Recruit Kyrie Irving to Wear No. 1

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As if being the top recruit in Duke's class, playing basketball on Tobacco Road and likely being a starter as a freshman wasn't enough pressure, Kyrie Irving will be the first player to wear number one on the back of his jersey since head coach Mike Krzyzewski has been at the helm of the program.

Irving is a five-start recruit hailing from Elizabeth, NJ where he plays for local high school power house St. Patrick. Next season, with the graduation of senior Jon Scheyer, Irving be the primary ball handler on a team that will bring back the majority of its starters.

In a piece recorded for ESPN, former Duke point guard Jay Williams spoke with Irving about how things have changed since his days in the Blue Devils' program. In a playful rendition of his own story, Williams pointed out that when he had arrived at Duke, he wanted to wear number one himself, but there was one problem: Krzyzewski wouldn't let him.

"My freshman year, when I came there, I really wanted to have my jersey retired," Williams said. "So we looked up in the rafters and we saw 11 was retired, 33 was retired and 44 was retired. My Dad was like, 'Yeah, I think you should choose number 22' and I was like 'You know what? I want to choose number one, I want to wear number one.' So I went in and I talked to Coach and Coach was like, 'You know what? I can't allow you to wear number one. Duke is number one."

As Williams pointed out, to be the first player under Krzyzewski to wear that number not only means a change in team policy: It ups the expectations of a fan base already famous for having the highest of expectations.

All three of Duke's national championships have been led by strong point guard play by New Jersey natives. Bobby Hurley led his team to titles in 1991 and 1992 after playing at St. Anthony in Jersey City, and Jay Williams led the Blue Devils to the top of college basketball in 2001 coming out of Plainfield, New Jersey.

And number one, Kyrie Irving, just might do it next.


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