Recruiting On Back Burner For Rivers

Over the last week the world of Duke recruiting has seen a number of developments. From the commitment of Kyrie Irving to the hosting of Harrison Barnes, there's been no shortage of news in Durham. One of the prospects where the news isn't as active is 2011's Austin Rivers. TDD spoke to Rivers to get an update.

"There's not a lot new with me," said Austin Rivers. "I am mainly just focusing on my high school season and getting ready for that. I'm not really focused too much on recruiting right now."

That's a marked change from a few months ago when Rivers' recruitment was a hot topic among national recruiting buffs after the five star prospect announced that he would visit Duke despite being committed to the University of Florida. Following the unofficial visit to Durham Rivers clarified his situation saying that Duke was firmly in the running, but that he remained committed to the Gators.

"That's still where things are. I mean love Florida and they are my school, but the Duke visit really opened my eyes a lot wider. I had only visited one school and then committed. Now I've seen other things out there and it gives me something to compare."

Of course it's unlikely that any high major program would have entered the recruiting process with a player to simply provide a basis of comparison. That's certainly true of Duke, which has made it known that the 6-foot-4 scoring guard would have spot as a Blue Devil in the fall of 2011.

"They are being low key about it, but I know they are serious about me. I'm going to go through [the recruiting process] and take my time with it."

Rivers currently reports very minimal contact with both coaching staffs, reiterating his desire to put recruiting on the back burner as his junior season approaches. However, that doesn't mean he's oblivious to the various happenings in and around the two programs.

"I am watching to see who is going to be there and who they are going after. It's important when looking at things. You have to know and fit in with everyone. You want to go somewhere that you fit in on and off the court. You only have four years of college, so you have to make the most of it."

For the Blue Devils that means identifying his potential compatibility with players such as recently committed point guard Kyrie Irving. On that front, Rivers says he's found a certain level of familiarity.

"I talk to him a good amount. I talked to him last week before his announcement. I knew he was going to Duke, and I told him congratulations. He's talked to me about how we'd fit in together, but he's not really into pressuring or anything. We mainly just talk about life and stuff like that. We could be really good though."

Preferring to focus on his high school season, Rivers says he's spent the summer and early fall focusing on perceived holes in his game. Something he hopes will become apparent as the year progresses.

"I want to become more of a leader. More vocal on the court. There's more to being a great player than just scoring the ball. I want to improve my rebounding and passing. I want to be a stat-sheet stuffer and a great defender as well. In a year I want to have won a state title and to be considered a better player than I am right now."

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