College, High School / Jan 5, 2010 / 6:45 pm

Austin Rivers H.S. Hoop Diary: Intro

Austin Rivers

Winter Park (Fla.) High School point guard Austin Rivers is one of the best prep players, pound-for-pound, in the country. HighSchoolHoop.com ranks the 6-4 junior fifth overall in its national Top 50. Rivers has been verbally committed to Florida for over a year, but this fall, he decided to open things up and let Duke recruit him as well, making his one of the most captivating recruiting stories in the country.

The younger son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers and younger brother of Indiana University PG Jeremiah Rivers, Austin has agreed to give HSH and Dime exclusive access by chronicling his thoughts in a regular diary where he’ll update readers on everything from his personal life to his high school season to his thoughts on Duke and Florida. Here are some excerpts:

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Most of you guys saw what happened at the City of Palms tournament because it was on TV. I kind of got in the zone and really I haven’t looked back since then. I had 45 points in one game at the City of Palms, and the best way to describe that was that it was a feeling of alternate energy. It’s like everyone’s just a step slower than you and you can’t see anybody. I didn’t care who was guarding me, my mindset was “I can’t see you!” The shots were falling, the basket was bigger and my eyes were getting wider. That’s pretty much what happened there.

I ended up winning the MVP award, and that was cool because I think I’m the first player to win that back-to-back. So now my goal is to win it for a third time when I play in it next year. That and to step up and win a championship. We won third-place the first year, second this year, and hopefully next year we can win it all.

Other than that, we’ve got some big games coming up this year. One game that everyone is talking about is our game against Brandon Knight (Pine Crest, Fla.). My Facebook has been blowing up with people asking me about this game because ESPN is showing it (Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. on ESPN 2) and everything like that. Basically, people want to see us go at it. We were teammates this summer and now people want to see us play against each other. I don’t look at it like this, but I know that people think this game will show who the best guard is in Florida. …

… Just to touch on the recruiting part, because I know you guys want to hear about that, most know that I committed to Florida early. I just felt like that was the best place for me, then I went to visit Duke and I really got interested in them. It really opened my eyes to see that there are other things out there.

So basically right now I’m still committed to Florida, but I’m letting Duke recruit me because I like them a lot. It’s just those two schools. I’ve kind of put the recruiting stuff on the back burner for now with my season going on and all. I’m just playing basketball and not worrying about anything. I’ll pick it up more heavy when I start AAU, when things start to get crazy again.

I do keep in touch with the coaches. I just talk to them when I feel like I need a coach to talk to. I talked to Coach (Billy) Donovan when Chandler Parsons hit that full-court shot on N.C. State. Man, that shot was just ridiculous! I called Chandler and congratulated him after that. Then I talked to Coach K after their big win over Connecticut. So ya know, I just call them when I need to and they keep in touch with me as much as they can within the rules. I’ve gotta admit, it’s pretty cool to have both of those guys available to talk. I mean you’ve got Coach K obviously, then Coach Donovan…. They’re two of the greatest college coaches ever! It’s a real honor to have such great relationships with both of them.

You can read the rest of Austin’s diary at HighSchoolHoop.com, where he talks about Winter Park’s chances at a Florida state title, his in-season travel plans regarding the Gators, Blue Devils, Hoosiers and Celtics, and more.

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  • Taj

    What about your Pops.. He’s not too bad himself.. What advise does he give?

  • Al

    Billy D has almost the same amount of rings as Coach K , but he isn’t one the greatest college coaches ever .

  • Dee

    Go to Duke! Its a much better a school!

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    Lets see,

    Former NBA player sons that went to Duke: Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Chris Collins. How did that work out for them?

    and if you compare the NBA players from Duke, to the NBA players from Florida, Florida has a more solid line-up.

    Florida: Al Horford, David Lee, Joakim Noah, Jason Williams, Mike Miller, Corey Brewer, James White, there may be more but i can’t think of any.

    Duke: Carlos Boozer, Grant Hill, Elton Brand, Corey Maghette, Loul Deng, Josh Mcroberts, Chris duhon, and others i cant think of.

    Now think about how many of those players from each school was a top 10 rated/and or Mcdonald All-American

    Duke: Deng (#2 behind LBJ), Boozer(top5), Brand(top3), Maghette(top10), McRoberts(top5), Duhon(#1)

    Florida: James White and David Lee were the only top rated players and James White transferred to Cincy.

    I’m not a Florida fan, but its right in his face. Duke is the place where all-Americans games go to die. Florida keeps players for 2-4 years and TEACHES them how to play REAL basketball.

  • Gort32

    Alright, I just had to bite on Chicagorilla’s post. You named 6 Duke players that are in the NBA. Maybe you didn’t realize that there are 14 Duke players on NBA rosters. You forgot Grant Hill, Shane Battier, JJ Redick, Shelden Williams, Dahntay Jones, Gerald Henderson, Shavlik Randolph, and Mike Dunleavy. And Duke had the most wins in the last decade. Now tell me again that Duke isn’t better than Florida so I can laugh in your face.

  • Al

    ^ Chicagorilla : Anthony Roberson , Nick Calathes , Taurean Green , Lee Humphrey are on Milk cartons right now . Kenny Boynton is going to fade away just like them . They were guards just like Austin Rivers

    Duhon was not number 1 in his class and Mike Dunleavy Jr. is every bit as good as Mike Miller .

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    @AI,

    Nick Calathes is really good and was a 2nd round pick this year. He’s overseas playing because it was better money. He’ll be back eventually. T. Green, Lee Humphrey were not even top 50 players. Lee Humphrey? He may not have been top 100. Yet they all made noise in college. which means their games got better. I will give you Anthony Roberson though, he was a McD’s AA and turned out to be a huge bust.

    Also, I’m pretty sure Duhon was #1 coming out of New Orleans. If he wasn’t, then he was no less than top3. Duhons freshman year at Duke had people saying he’ll be better than JWill by his sophmore year. then he started “partying” too much, gained weight and fell off for the rest of his career at Duke. His performance in the ACC tourney his freshman year even got me thinking he would be a beast someday. Then he snapped back to reality. that’s what 4yrs of Duke will do to you, maybe that’s why Deng, Maghette, Brand, Avery(another bust) all left early.

    You pointed out FL players who never sniffed the NBA (except Green I think he was a 2nd round pick to Portland and also is the son of a former NBA player), but I can name sevral Dukies who aren’t panning out or didn’t pan out in the L and were LOTTO PICKS. SheWill(sheldon williams)(like #6 pick!!!), Reddick, Will Avery(#14 pick), Trajon Langdon(#12 or 14), Jay Williams(#2 pick), Mike Dunleavy(#3 pick), Sean Dockery was a top 10player coming into Duke and so was Greg Paulus yet S.Dock is baggin groceries somewhere and Paulus is a f^king Quarter back AT ANOTHER SCHOOL!!! Getting drafted off Dukes name, but not their game. Why coach K is considered a HOF coach is beyond me, but more power to him if he can keep tricking kids to come there.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    I’ll agree with Chicagorilla that it does appear Donovan develops more guys who weren’t necessarily NBA prospects coming out of high school into legit NBA players, whereas Coach K gets more can’t-miss prospects who end up not doing much (or anything) in the League. Of course that has a lot to do with Duke getting more high-profile recruits in the first place, creating more room for busts, but I see the trend.