Rivers: "It Was Awesome"

Heading into the weekend 2011's Austin Rivers said he didn't want a sales pitch. He was completely locked into his verbal commitment to the Florida Gators. After 48 hours on campus in Durham, where does the five star combo guard stand?

"We came in on Friday and immediately went over to tour the campus and see the school," said Austin Rivers of his trip to Durham. "We got to tour the chapel, see the sights, and meet everyone. It's such a beautiful place -- really peaceful and pretty. I could definitely see myself fitting in there."

While Rivers was taking in the sights and sounds of Duke University with his mother and younger brother, plans were apparently being made to allow the five star guard a chance to see what it is to be part of the Blue Devil program. First up was a tour of the new practice facility.

"I would say that most NBA teams don't have a place that nice. I know nobody else in college does. That place is just amazing. They have 12 new baskets, a state of the art weight room, a 30 person theatre, and all kinds of professional caliber things. Everything in there is brand new and well taken care of, and the staff of the building is just great. It's the best of everything."

Rivers also had a chance to visit Cameron Indoor Stadium, which he admits surprised him.

"Their stadium is perfect. There's just so much history flowing through it. Everywhere you go there's just a sense of what a great tradition the program has. I can really see how the crowds get on top of the game in there. It's not too big, but it's also not too small."

Of course no recruiting visit to the Duke facilities would be complete without a chance to get on the court and show why every high major program in the country would be interested in you. That's exactly what Rivers did on both Friday and Saturday in pick-up games with the current Duke team.

"We played in both Cameron and the practice facility. I really enjoyed it because those guys are so competitive. I mean when they are in pickup games they are giving everything they have. I really liked that because you can tell the culture there is all about competition. I had a great time with it because I'm the same way. I really fit in with the guys because it was all about competition and I'm a very competitive person."

Being two years away from a collegiate career, Rivers had a chance to speak with players who would likely still be on the roster during the fall of 2011 as well as those who will have departed the program.

"I had a chance to really talk with Scheyer and Nolan Smith. Those are good dudes. They told me flat out that if I want to come somewhere that's the best for college and basketball. If I want to be somewhere that's a family - somewhere that'll help you out and do so much for you, then Duke is the place for me."

"I also got a chance to talk with Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry. They are great guys also. I really fit in well with those guys. They go hard in everything they do, which is a lot like me."

Prior to the visit Rivers reported a desire for head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff to only talk about Duke. He didn't want to run a compare and contrast session with the Blue Devil head man against his current school, Florida. After 48 hours, Rivers said he felt everyone was on the same page.

"It was kind of weird because for the first couple of hours I was sitting there kind of laughing. I mean this is Coach K standing in front of me, talking about how he does things. How he could see me fitting in. What he would have in store for me. After I got over that part of it, we just started talking about things. What he would have in store for me. How he sees me fitting in. That kind of thing."

However, there was one caveat to the initial conversation and the subsequent two day period.

"He told me that he could talk to me in general, but he really couldn't recruit me because I was committed to Florida. If I wanted to open the process up, he would really be able to recruit me, and he would like to, but not until then."

Which leads to the natural question of where Rivers' head is after the Duke visit.

"Honestly, I don't really know right now. This visit really opened my eyes. I mean I love Florida. It's still my school for now, but this really did show me there are other things out there. That's a big change for me, and Duke is definitely something to think about."

And with so much new information to process, Rivers says Krzyzewski gave him some advice.

"He told me to go home and think it all over. To let it all sink in. Once that happens, I am sure I'll talk to him again and we'll see where things go."


Blue Devil Digest Top Stories