As the Draft Combine was winding down in Chicago, future No.1 draft pick Kyrie Irving threw out a surprise twist, according to a tweet from Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress:
Irving said he was “strongly considering” playing for the Australian national team this summer. Australia will be trying to qualify for the 2012 Olympics
Irving owns dual citizenship so… nope, can’t do it.
Givony points out that Irving played for Team USA last summer (not in Turkey at the FIBA World Championships but in other major FIBA sanctioned events).
FIBA regulations (which mimic FIFA soccer and other international sports regulations) state that once you play for a country in an official FIBA event after your 17th birthday, you are committed to that country for the rest of your playing days. Irving was 18 when he played last summer.
Irving will be playing only for Team USA in the future when it comes to international basketball. Sorry kid, those are the rules.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.
Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:
A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:
Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.