Originally posted on Crossover Chronicles  |  Last updated 3/1/12

 Last weekend Kyrie Irving stood at center court after the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend in Orlando and held the MVP trophy  over his head after going 8-8 from beyond the arc and finishing with 34 points.

 It’s a small sample of what the Cleveland Cavaliers rookie point guard could bring to the Australian National Team this summer at the 2012  London Olympics.

 Irving said he would make a decision soon about whether he would opt to play for Australia -- a topic of conversation he’s kicked around  since the 2010 Pre-Draft combine -- take the advice of Team USA head coach and Irving’s former head coach at Duke, Mike Krzyzewski,  and play for the US Select Team.

 It really depends if Irving wants to sit and wait for a chance to make a future Team USA squad or dive into international play this summer  in Australia. 

 "I'm not sure, it's still up in the air. I haven't made a decision yet," Irving said.

"You'll probably hear about it in the next week or so what decision I make…We've (Irving and Coach K) talked about it a little bit. We haven't gone into details. It's up to me."

Coach K probably won't like this, but Irving should play for Australia this summer in London. It sure beats holding out for hope for 2016 and Team USA, who will still have a stacked backcourt of Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Eric Gordon. But for a kid who has always wanted to play on the international scale, there is no time like the present. Why wait? 

Irving was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1992 and lived in Australia until he was 2 years old, while his father Drederick Irving played pro basketball. So the fact Irving holds dual citizenship isn’t an issue, but he could run into some red flags since he represented the US in under-18 competition last year. In the end, FIBA would make the ruling if Irving decided to switch his eligibility.

If Irving doesn’t make a final decision before April, he might be persuaded when the Cavs face the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio’s assistant coach Brett Brown is the head coach of the national team in Australia and can only hope he won’t miss out on the opportunity to coach Irving.

The Australian National Team -- also known as the Boomers -- will go through a series of training camps this summer before officially naming their 12-man team in late June. Will Irving be part of that group?

Regardless if he decides the Select Team over the Australian National Team or vice-versa, no one can fault Irving for the first season he is having in Cleveland. He just might be the hottest young point guard in the league not named Jeremy Lin (who will also be considered for the Select Team).

We are after all talking about a 19-year old kid who only played 11 games at Duke. For him to be averaging 18.5 points and 5.1 assists per game is impressive, but every game is a chance to grow in the NBA.

“I’m not going to say Kyrie has surpassed expectations, but he’s playing at a level that meets the consensus of what people thought he’d do,” said Irving’s father, Drederick, in an interview with the Star Ledger.

“He worked very hard this past summer. So I’m pretty content where he is now, as far as contributing and being an integral part of his team. And whether he contributes to wins or losses,” — pause for a short chuckle here — “well, that’s part of the growth process.”

But will part of that growth process take place in Australia or with the Select Team this summer?


This article first appeared on Crossover Chronicles and was syndicated with permission.

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