Austin Rivers: Journal Entry II

Future Blue Devil Austin Rivers keeps fans updated on his journey from Winter Park (Fla.) to Durham by chronicling his thoughts in this regular journal feature.

What's up everybody?

I just got home from spending the weekend in Durham and the entire experience was awesome. I had a chance to visit a class, walk the campus, and just be a Duke kid for a while. I also had a chance to check out practice and, of course, I was able to sit courtside for Countdown to Craziness.

Going into the visit I really didn't have a strong relationship with all my future teammates. I knew them a little bit, but this allowed me a chance to really hang out with them and start building relationships. I knew Kyrie and Josh a little bit, but wasn't really familiar with the rest of the guys. So being around them and just hanging out was good because these are my future teammates and I wanted them to get to know me so they'd know what kind of person and teammate I am.

When I got to Durham on Friday I had a chance to go to lunch with Coach K and the team. It was really cool. I had a chance to go to a history class with Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton which was really good. Those Duke kids are geniuses, and it going to class really showed what it takes to be a Duke student athlete. After class we had a chance to walk the campus and see the town. It was just a chance to take it all in and really see what it means to be at Duke. It's a really unique place.

My host for the weekend was Kyrie [Irving], so after lunch we just kind of went back and hung out a little bit before we had to make it over to Cameron. I was talking to him a little bit about making his debut in front of the Crazies. Asking if he was kind of nervous or anything like that. He said he wasn't really nervous, just kind of excited. After the game we talked a little more about it and he said once he made that first steal and went to the basket he was comfortable. Getting that first basket was all it took.

Once I got to the stadium I got escorted to my seat which was behind the White team's bench with several other recruits. I had a chance to talk to a couple of the guys like Rasheed [Sulaimon] and a few others. When I walked in I wasn't prepared for it, but the fans gave Quinn [Cook] and I a standing ovation. It was really cool to see that many people cheering for you when you haven't even played for Duke yet. These aren't just fans, they are knowledgable and know the game. So having them supporting me when I'm not even playing yet was exciting. It just got me pumped up about coming to Duke and playing on that court.

During the event Coach would turn and talk to [the recruits] about the different guys and what they were doing and what the idea was. He was really laid back. He talked to Quinn and I a lot. At times I kind of caught myself day dreaming about what it was going to be like when I was on the court next year. Seeing it all had me so pumped up and wanting time to fast forward so I can get there. Hopefully Quinn was thinking the same thing listening to, hopefully, our future coach.

After the game I had a chance to sign some autographs and take some pictures. Duke fans really are the best. They are just so knowledgeable and passionate about their team.

Saturday morning I had a chance to go to practice and see the guys working out with the coaches. Friday night was fun, but Saturday got me even more excited because I saw what it takes to make a championship team. Seeing those guys get after each other and the passion and intensity they compete with was really motivating. I'm working hard every time I step on the court so that I can come in next year and be right there with every one of those guys.

That night I got to hang out with the guys more. I don't remember where we went, but the funniest thing was Kyrie's dancing. They played like four or five songs in a row and he never stopped dancing the entire time. People probably don't know this about him, but he's a really talented dancer.

The last real event was a chance for Quinn and I to have dinner with Coach K and his family. It was really a chance for me to see the non-coach side of him. His wife is such great lady and you can tell how much they both love what they do and how much they love Duke. They even named their dog Blue. If anyone says Coach K ever wanted to leave Duke, that's just not true. The way he and his family talk about what they are doing and how much they enjoy their lives, you can tell that Duke is just in their blood. They are really genuine people and they take advantage of everything life has to offer. It was a really motivating experience.

Now that I'm back home it is kind of a down time in terms of not having any games, but that doesn't mean I'm not working out. I'm in the weight room a lot. I've gotten a lot taller than I was this past summer and I'm trying to add more good weight. After watching Coach K work the guys out in the preseason after he won with Team USA, I know I have to be training and pushing myself hard 365 days a year. When I get to Duke next year I want to come in and be a great teammate and a guy who is ready to play at the highest level. In high school I want to have a great senior season. My goal is to get more rebounds and assists this year and to defend the opponents' best player every time out.

Thanks for reading everyone,

-Austin


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