It’ll be a ‘long time’ before Irving returns for Duke

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Mike Krzyzewski says it’ll be a “long time” before Kyrie Irving’s returns to Duke’s lineup.

It’s an ominous statement for Blue Devils fans, but nebulous for the rest of us. What does “a long time” mean, exactly? Weeks? Months? The rest of the season? My guess would be by Jan. 12, just in time for a trip to Florida State. (And if you can take anything from Irving’s tweets, he sounds more and more optimistic every day.)

Coach K refused to elaborate any further when he appeared on his HM Radio show Wednesday, mostly because a number of specialists are still meeting and planning Irving’s rehabilitation and recovery, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.

So we’ll wait. No. 1 Duke (10-0) will continue to play without the freshman point guard, who was averaging 17.4 points a game before injuring the big toe on his right foot.

And despite any concerns about winning back-to-back NCAA tournament titles, the Devils insist they won’t rush Irving back into action.

“He’s 18 years old,” assistant coach Chris Collins told the paper. “He’s going to play basketball for a long, long time. We have to think about his health and what’s going to be best for him in the long term.”

Want more? I’m also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.

Albany’s Peter Hooley accepts Inspiration Award

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Last week, Albany senior Peter Hooley accepted the Inspiration Award at the Coaches vs Cancer Basket Ball in Troy, New York. The Albany athletic department uploaded his entire speech on Monday afternoon.

Hooley had one of the most uplifting moments of March after months and months of heartache.

The junior guard missed three weeks of the season to travel back home to Australia to be with his mother, who was battling colon cancer. She passed away in January. Hooley returned to the team in February and the following month, the Great Danes had a shot at an NCAA tournament berth. In the America East Tournament championship, Hooley sunk a game-winning shot with 1.6 seconds to go.

Hooley, who graduated in May, was selected to give the commencement speech.