Expert's Take: Austin Rivers

Austin Rivers is the highest rated player in the class of 2011 heading to Duke. So what can the Cameron Crazies expect when Rivers arrives in Durham? TDD spoke to's National Recruiting staff for a roundtable discussion.

Last year the big back court recruit was Kyrie Irving who is having a big impact for Duke. Will Austin Rivers have a similar impact in 2011-2012?

Evan Daniels: I expect him to come in and play and be a factor from the start. He has an advanced skill set and will be an impact scorer and leader in Durham from day one.

Brian Snow: Austin will score double figures from day one for Duke. And, even with a loaded position group in front of him, I expect Austin to get the starting nod right away. He is just too talented not to be on the floor a whole lot.

Austin is certainly not lacking for confidence on the court, but how will he react to the demands of playing for Coach K?

Evan Daniels: He'll be fine and will respond well. I've never seen an issue on the court with Austin. He's a very confident player who hates to lose more than almost any kid I've seen. He will get after each day and will be a great fit for how Duke plays.

Brian Snow: The demands of being at Duke will be nothing compared to the demands of being Doc Rivers' son. That won't faze him one bit.

In general, what are Austin's greatest strengths?

Evan Daniels: I'd have to say his ball skills and his shooting ability. He's got great range and confidence and is very good at creating space. He's very good at coming off screens, but he can also get to the basket and create his own space to get his shot off.

Brian Snow: His greatest strength is his ability to score the basketball, and his ability to knock down a step back jumper.


Evan Daniels: Sometimes on the defensive end he gets a little bit lackadaisical. When he puts his mind to it he can be a very good defender as he showed for Team USA this summer, but he's got to commit himself to playing on both ends of the floor.

Brian Snow: His biggest weakness is that, at times, he can be a volume guy. He makes himself better, but he hasn't shown a great ability to make others better.

Having seen him over the last few years, what's your signature Austin Rivers performance?

Evan Daniels: At the City of the Palms event I saw him score near 50 points. He just got hot and when he's hot he can hit from almost anywhere inside of half court. I forget who his team was playing, but it was a nationally ranked team and it was one of the better performances by a high school player I've seen.

Brian Snow: To me Austin Rivers has never had a signature performance. I saw him hit 10 three pointers in a game, but at the same time he scores a lot all the time. His game has been very much the same since he was a freshman. He scores. A lot.

Everyone knows he's a scoring guard, but can Rivers play point guard?

Evan Daniels: He can probably play both, but he'll be more off the ball in college. He has a scorer's mentality and knows how to score the ball. At times I think he'll handle some point guard responsibilities, and once he gets to the NBA he'll have the ball in his hands a little more. Kind of like OJ Mayo. Not that they are all that similar as players, but in terms of how their careers went with being a scorer in college and more of a ball handler in the pros.

Brian Snow: He absolutely cannot play point guard. He can bring the ball up the floor, but he can't be a point guard. That is not how he is wired. He will be a shooting guard all the way.

A lot of great shooters aren't thought of as great athletes. Is that the case with Rivers?

Brian Snow: Austin is a good to very good athlete. He isn't an elite or explosive leaper but he is definitely an NBA caliber athlete for his position.

What will give the NBA pause when the draft comes up next summer?

Evan Daniels: He needs to get stronger, but that's true of most any player coming from high school to college. The NBA is a man's game and he'll need to get stronger before he's ready, but he'll do that at Duke. There's no question he's a one and done guy, though. He's a very good prospect.

Brian Snow: Honestly he would probably have to quit the game of basketball. Absent that happening he is a ready made one and done lottery pick type of player. The knock on him will be is that he's a little under-sized to play shooting guard in the NBA, but teams will get over that very quickly.

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