Kyrie Irving can be a game-breaker

Updated: March 19, 2011, 12:33 PM ET
By Fran Fraschilla

Flashes of brilliance.

That's what we saw from Kyrie Irving against Hampton University in his first game back since injuring his right toe on Dec. 4. And, since his return to the Duke Blue Devils' lineup was uncertain for much of the season, the key question now will be how Mike Krzyzewski utilizes him as the Blue Devils advance in the NCAA tournament.

Before Irving was injured, he was Duke's leading scorer and had taken college basketball by storm over the first month of the season. His explosiveness in the open court and his ability to attack the rim (especially when going to his left), combined with his lethal shooting ability from behind the arc, put him on NBA scouts' radars immediately. In fact, the 6-foot-2 freshman reminded me of former NBA star and Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas in his ability to score points while also creating opportunities for his teammates when needed.