Despite committing a five-year plan in 2011 to get his degree from Duke University, Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star and world champion Kyrie Irving is putting those plans on hold.
With several summers lost due to training with the Olympic team in 2012, playing in the 2014 FIBA World Cup, and this year’s summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Irving will not be able to fulfill the promise he made to his father before being drafted as the No.1 overall pick from Duke in 2011.
"I made a pact with my father where I have to get my degree within five years. That plan to get my degree is already in play," Irving told reporters at the 2011 NBA combine. “That's a pact I made with him during my freshman year. He told me that if I was going to leave after one year, I was going to have to get my degree."
Jack Doglin of The Duke Chronicle noted that Duke offers limited online courses, making it difficult – if not impossible -- for Irving to complete a degree without being on campus. Irving told the Chronicle in 2011 that he was looking to major in either sociology or psychology.
First round pick Jahlil Okafor was on campus for the first summer session earlier this year. Okafor’s new teammate Gerald Henderson, who played at Duke from 2006-09, recently returned to complete his degree in 2014. Even Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman returned to Duke last summer while recovering from a torn ACL, to complete his degree.
Irving’s father Drederick told the New York Times in 2011 that education is key when it comes to his son.
"Everybody in my family has gotten our degrees, our master's," said the Wall Street financial broker. "We value the education aspect of it with Kyrie."
However, the younger Irving maintains that he will complete his degree sometime in the future.
"It hasn’t been going anywhere,” Irving said Sunday night of pursuing his degree after he helped Team USA to a 106-57 victory against China. “Duke is a private school, so I can’t do any online classes. I would literally have to be on campus.”
Irving, 24, will likely have to complete his degree either over several summers in the coming years or after he retires from basketball.