Kyrie Irving to be named NBA's top rookie

By Tom Withers

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, May 13 2012 11:16 p.m. MDT

CLEVELAND — Kyrie Irving began his first pro season as the top pick and ended it as the top rookie.

Cleveland's smooth, playmaking point guard has been chosen as the NBA's Rookie of the Year, a person familiar with the voting told the Associated Press on Sunday.

Irving's selection is hardly a surprise since the 20-year-old led all first-year players in scoring — 18.5 points per game — and renewed hope for Cleveland's franchise. He'll receive the award on Tuesday, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the league has not yet announced the winner.

ESPN.com and The Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported Irving's win.

Results of the voting won't be available until Tuesday, but it's safe to assume Irving's victory will be lopsided. After Minnesota guard Ricky Rubio suffered a season-ending knee injury, Irving was far and away the best all-around player in the rookie class.

The Cavs used the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft to select Irving, who played in just 11 games as a freshman at Duke because of a toe injury. However, it didn't take long for the 6-foot-3 Irving to establish himself as one of the game's rising stars.

With a fearlessness on the floor, Irving made clutch shots, orchestrated fourth-quarter comebacks and managed to keep the Cavs competitive and in the playoff picture for several months before they traded guard Ramon Sessions in March and injuries took their toll.

Irving is the second Cavaliers player to win the award, joining LeBron James in 2004.

Irving's is the final postseason award to be announced by the league. On Saturday, James, who spent seven seasons in Cleveland before signing with Miami, won his third MVP award in four seasons.

Irving recently treated himself to a postseason vacation in the Bahamas. In June, he's expected to play on the Cavs summer league team in Las Vegas and will be part of a U.S. Select Team which will train against the American Olympic team going to the London Games.

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