Exclusive: Austin Rivers stays committed to Florida, but is “loving” Duke
Words. Jason Jordan
After taking an unofficial visit to Duke this past weekend, Winter Park High (Fla.) star Austin Rivers, who had been committed to Florida for the past year, officially re-opened his recruitment … Sort of.
Rivers contacted us today and told us, ”I’m gonna stay committed to Florida, but I’m gonna let Duke officially start to recruit me. Because I like Duke a lot. ”
But what does that mean?
Last night, Rivers, a 6-3 point guard who is rated the No. 5 prospect in the HighSchoolHoop top 50, told us, ”they (Duke) would love for me to come there, but they didn’t want to continue to recruit me because they have so much respect for Coach (Billy) Donovan at Florida. They said I would have to de-commit or say it’s OK.”
Rivers chose the latter, which means that Duke is free and clear to put on the full-court press.
This can’t be good for Florida because one visit to Duke changed Rivers from being firmly committed to the Gators to being on the same level with the Blue Devils.
Rivers told us last night that he was ”loving them kind of the same.”
“I talked to coach Donovan last night and told him that I want to be recruited by Duke too,” said Rivers. “They’re gonna have to respect that because this is my life. At the same time, I don’t want to de-commit right now because I just came from Duke and I want to make sure it’s not just emotion. I want to take my time with everything.”
This all started when Rivers’ father Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, who Rivers told us is ”pretty good friends” with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, urged his son earlier this summer to see what else was out there.
”He felt like I should go on other visits just in case anything ever happens,” said Rivers. ”He said if Florida is the right place, taking these other visits will just reaffirm that.”
The move has had the adverse effect. Rivers has no plans to visit either Duke or Florida again in the immediate future.
When asked if he had a timetable for a decision, Rivers said, “I don’t know to be honest. I just want to be able to relax and I’m just concentrating on Florida and Duke. I could possibly get it over with right away. I could possibly say that Florida is the place for me or I could say that I want to go to Duke. One big thing is that I want to see who commits where so I can see who I’ll be playing with. That will weigh heavy.”
Got a burning question for Jason? Email him: JasonJ@DimeMag.com