Rivers Recounts Trip To Duke

Thursday night the Duke basketball program celebrated their fourth national title and a tremendous season in 2009-2010. Among those present was Winter Park (Fla.) standout guard Austin Rivers. After returning home and processing all he saw over his two day visit, Rivers spoke to TDD.

"It was a great trip," said Austin Rivers. "I got there on Thursday and went straight to the hotel before heading to the banquet. We spent several hours with the team and the coaches and got to see a lot. On Friday I had a chance to do some tours and mean the Dean of the school."

Rivers, who has long been identified as the Blue Devils' top target in the class of 2011, said his major impression of the banquet was that the message he's heard throughout the recruiting process is constant for every player in and around the program.

"It was really great, because you can really see what sets them apart. They are all very competitive and really love the game. The passion for what they are doing is there. It's why they are always winning. It's why they have their fourth title and why they are at the pinnacle."

Making the trip with Rivers were members of his family as well as his AAU coach, who had never had a chance to speak with the Duke coaching staff. That was remedied on Friday as the caravan made the various stops in and around the campus.

"We got to sit down with Coach K himself and the assistants. I think it was really good for my coach to sit with him and hear what they have in store for me. I think it was easy to see why I like them so much."

And what is the Duke plan for Rivers?

"Coach told me he wanted me to come in and have the ball in my hands. With my and Kyrie you have guys who can break down the defense, get into transition, and score the ball. But, we're the kind of players who are going to draw a lot of defensive attention, and so it's important to be able to get other people involved on both ends of the court. The basic message was that I'm their guy and they see me as a playmaker who will have the green light."

No doubt that's appealing to Duke fans everywhere, but before such a backcourt can come to fruition, Rivers would have to end his recruitment for a second time. The first, of course, was the initial commitment as a freshman to Florida that ultimately resulted in Rivers re-opening his recruiting a few weeks ago. So, on the second time around, has the talented prospect noticed any differences?

"It's a lot different now. When I was a freshman I had several schools after me, but now there are a lot more. They are all going through my high school coach, which is nice. It kind of lets me take things at my own pace."

In regards to the pace of his recruitment, did Rivers feel any pressure this weekend from the Blue Devil coaching staff?

"No, not at all. They are being really cool about things. They didn't talk to me about when I'm going to commit. They didn't pressure me to do it. They just gave me reasons as to why they think I'd be good in their system. They are being patient. They know where I'm at with it all."

One of the key points of the Duke approach centers around their incoming five star guard, Kyrie Irving. Rumors of a conflict between the two players surrounding who is on the ball as the primary point guard can be found on most any recruiting forum. However, Rivers says he sees a different potential hitch in that plan.

"I talked to Kyrie for half and hour the other night. He and Mike Gbinije are my guys. We talk about basketball, life, and everything else. We're all really close. With Kyrie I guess he's recruiting me to come to Duke a little bit, and I'm recruiting him to stay around long enough to play with me. He's certainly good enough to be a one and done, but I think things will work out there."

After taking his tours and meeting the various academic appointments, Rivers and his guests hopped a flight home on Friday afternoon. He admits he left Durham with a very good overall impression, but what kind of impression does he believe he left with the Duke coaching staff and players?

"I think they know I am a confident guy that wants to get better and better. They know I'm a guy who is going to listen and work hard to get better every time I touch the ball. They know I'm the kind of guy that can do well for them. I think they also know that I see what they have to offer. I mean Coach K is the best in the game, and playing at Duke is like playing at the center of the college basketball universe. I think we both know where things stand."

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