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Kyrie Irving lauded by Team USA

NEW YORK -- Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, the MVP of the Basketball World Cup, was honored Sunday as the USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year.

Irving started in all nine games for the Americans in Spain and averaged 12.1 points and 3.6 assists. He scored 26 points in the gold-medal game, going 6 of 6 from 3-point range to spark a rout of Serbia.

Irving was selected by USA Basketball's board of directors.

Irving showed off the trophy he was awarded after the Cavs' 105-91 win over the Grizzllies in Cleveland.

"Just to be part of the lineage of guys that have come before me to win this award and be a part of that team, the adversity that we faced as a group of guys coming together," Irving said. "Most people doubted us and said that regardless, Spain or France or one of these other veteran countries are going to win. And we came in there and just used that as motivation. And I was a part of that team, and it's just something that I'll remember for the rest of my life. I'm just glad to be a part of it."

He said the experience helped him prepare for this NBA season.

"Just getting used to playing with great teammates, great guys," Irving said. "And playing off the ball, being used to doing things and whatever it takes to win."

LeBron James called the chance to get to play for Team USA "huge to have an opportunity to represent your country and doing what you love to do, playing the game of basketball. It's great.

"I watched pretty much every game that they played this past summer and Kyrie was definitely the reason why they brought it home," James said. "Obviously the other guys really played great as well, but Kyrie was the starter on the team.

"Coach K knew why he was the starter and he just rode the hot hand," James said of U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski. "It's great to have an achievement like that and he keeps racking them up."

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin was used in this report.