Rivers Clears The Air

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – On the court, Austin Rivers had a big outing Monday morning at the Peach Jam. Off the court, the rising senior from Winter Park, Fla. spent most of his post-game interview dispelling rumors surrounding his recruitment.

Yes, he's still considering North Carolina. No, he's not soured on Duke. Yes, he's added Kentucky and Kansas to his list of five schools.

"I just laugh when people tell me (about the rumors)," Rivers said after his 29-point, four-rebound performance Each 1 Teach 1's 85-64 blowout win over the Albany City Rocks. "They'll say ‘Oh, I hear you're going overseas.' 'I hear you're doing all this stuff.' It's not true. The Internet has a way of confusing people sometimes. That's just how it is so you've just got to get used to it."

As of Monday, Rivers said he's built the best relationships with the coaches at Florida and Duke but mostly because they've both been recruiting him the longest.

After the Showcase event at Disney later this month, Rivers said he plans to cut his summer short, focusing on developing his game and exploring what UNC, Kansas and Kentucky have to offer.

"Probably in late August I'm going to try to head up to North Carolina, right before school starts or right at the beginning of the school year," Rivers said. "Then I might go to Kentucky or Kansas. Something like that."

Rivers said when he visits Chapel Hill, he'll probably drop by Durham as well.

"Probably because they're like eight miles from each other. They're right there. So that would be the right thing to do," Rivers said. "If I do go to North Carolina, it's just going to be a double header. I'm just going to knock out both."

While Rivers insisted the Heels are still very much in the running, there is cause to question the direction of his recruitment from Carolina's perspective. Not only did Rivers say he hasn't spoken with anyone from the UNC staff in over two months but it also appeared that no representative from UNC was in attendance at his game Monday morning.

When asked, Rivers said there's nothing behind the lack of communication with UNC, mentioning he thought he missed a phone call from head coach Roy Williams while he was out of town with Team USA.

"No, no, no, there's nothing behind that," Rivers said. "I still have the same feelings for North Carolina as when I first started talking to them. I hope they feel the same way. There's nothing behind that at all. I don't like them less or more. I like North Carolina and I have interest in them."

Rivers also said he appreciates coaches coming to his games and showing interest, but he didn't notice who exactly came to his game Monday morning.

"I didn't scope the whole thing," Rivers said. "There were just so many, like 50 to 100 coaches here. But I saw particular ones and you see that they care."

On the court Rivers debuted a few new wrinkles in his game against the City Rocks. After establishing his three-point shot early, Rivers displayed an expanded off-the-dribble attack, including an array of finger rolls and a deadly floater. He was 5-for-11 from behind the arch and 4-for-9 from two-point range.

"I'm trying to mix it up a little more," Rivers said. "Sometimes I settle for too many threes and today I had it falling but I like to attack and mix things up. When I mix things up, it's kind of impossible to guard me."

Rivers said the biggest addition to his game recently has been the ability to shoot his floater with either hand.

"I have a really good right hand floater but I'd like to be able to get bumped and do a left-hand floater," Rivers said. "I've been working on that and you'll see me throughout this tournament using my left-hand floater and left-handed hook shot."

After going on visits in the late summer/early fall, Rivers said he plans on waiting to make his decision until several weeks into his senior season. He reiterated that he hasn't made up his mind and wants to watch a few weeks of the college season before determining which school offers him the best opportunity to win and make an immediate impact.

"I have an interest in a lot of schools right now," Rivers said. "I'm not favoring anybody. You can ask my father, he doesn't even know. I haven't talked to anybody about where I'm going to go. People are always like ‘Oh you know where you're going.' I really honestly don't know where I'm going. I haven't thought about it."

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