College, High School / May 7, 2010 / 6:45 pm

Austin Rivers H.S. Hoop Diary: Visiting (and loving) Duke

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 second overall in its national Top 50. Having recently de-committed from Florida, he has Duke, North Carolina, Texas and Kansas now vying for his signature.

The younger son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers and younger brother of Indiana Hoosiers PG Jeremiah Rivers, Austin has agreed to give HSH and Dime exclusive access by chronicling his thoughts in a regular diary on everything from his personal life to his AAU season to his thoughts on Duke and Florida. Here’s an excerpt from his latest entry:

… The biggest thing I’ve done here recently was go to Duke’s championship banquet. That was really cool to see everything there. It was a major event! Just the history and the campus and seeing all my boys down there was really fun. I was actually feeling a little under the weather that night of the banquet, but there was so much going on that it didn’t stop me from having a good time. I was pretty much in and out when I went. I got there on a Thursday and left Friday afternoon.

I got up early Friday morning and went on a tour of the campus with my AAU coach (Therion Joseph) and that was really fun too. The main thing with that was I wanted him and a few of my other coaches to get a chance to see the campus and meet the Duke coaches. I wanted them to get a taste of what Duke’s all about.

To be honest, Coach T.J. had only seen Florida and it’s been kind of annoying always having him in my ear saying “Gator this” and “Gator that.” So I wanted him to see Duke and see what they had to offer down there. Right after we left there he was in the Duke family! It was funny! He went from being a Gator to a Blue Devil in a matter of hours. He was just really impressed with how they operate and the atmosphere down there. He and my other AAU coaches are from rough areas here in Florida, and for them to see something so beautiful down there and get to see how much of a family they are down there was great for them. It made their day.

That was important for me to get Coach T.J. down there to see Duke because, while the decision is mine, he’ll have an influence on my decision.

The Duke coaches and players described to me how the championship rings were gonna look and WOW they’re gonna be huge! I also got a chance to talk to some of the players about just how they felt winning a national title. I just wanted to know what that felt like: I mean, I won a state title and I felt like I was on top of the world! I think Mason Plumlee had the best story. He was telling me about how since they kept winning and kept having team meals he felt like he hadn’t paid for a meal in months! He just said it was hard to describe and that it was continually sinking in that they had won. He said it was something you couldn’t fully understand until you won one yourself. Made me want to win one even more! …

… As for my next visits, I’m gonna try and visit North Carolina this summer and possibly Kansas and Texas. I think I’m gonna get down to North Carolina in the next month or so and see what’s going on down there. Then I’ll set something up with the other schools.

My goal is to have a decision around August. I want to have it done before my high school season for sure, but I’m shooting for August. That looks doable right now.

I definitely keep in touch with recruits from some of the schools I’m looking at. I talk to Myck Kabongo (Texas commit) and Kyrie Irving (Duke signee) all the time. Those two are my boys. I talk to Myck like every other day either on the phone or on text, and Kyrie and I talk a lot too. Those are my closest friends on the circuit for sure. I’m pretty cool with Kendall Marshall (North Carolina signee) too.

That stuff is important to me. Also, going into a program where you’re going to be right in the spotlight is big for me too. If you go into a program where you know you’re gonna be Top 10, Top 5 or No. 1 like Duke is supposed to be next year, it’s attractive. …

*You can read the rest of Austin’s diary at HighSchoolHoop.com*

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  • Justin Solomon

    Is Austin Rivers aware that North Carolina is north of Florida?

  • Dre

    Harrison Barnes felt the same way. They will have him at something serious when he comes to visit UNC and it will be down to Duke and UNC.

  • Mike

    Austin will end up at Duke !! …… Notice he says he is gonna try and get to north Carolina and the other schools and also says a decision by Aug. The key word is “try” … Getting Nate James has been and will continue to be huge … Just like when dawkins was there and recruiting