Mail Day with JJ (Rivers, Smith, Teague, and more)
Words. Jason Jordan
Jason Jordan has fielded all of your e-mails and tackles each of these questions and more in this installment of “Mail Day with JJ.”
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What’s up with Austin Rivers?
Would I be out of line if I asked you what your gut feeling is regarding Austin Rivers (Winter Park High, Fla.) going to Duke? I am a Duke fan through and through and hope both he and Harrison Barnes commit. I understand if you don’t want to answer.
- Rhoda Gecker (Duke mom from way back)
Rhoda, Rhoda … You give up too easy.
As fate would have it, I talked to Austin the other day and he told me that he’s going to wait until after his high school season to decide whether he’s going to stay committed to Florida or back out on the Gators and commit to Duke. He said that “nothing has changed” for him as far as his recruitment goes: He’s still considering Duke and Florida. He’s planning to catch a few of each school’s games this season.
I did get the feel that Duke’s “wow” factor from his unofficial visit there had worn off a bit, but that’s inevitable.
For now, Austin’s concentrating on his high school season. I also asked him if he was planning to pull an Andre Dawkins (skip his senior season and enroll in college early), to which he answered: “You’re only in high school once and I love being a kid, so I won’t be doing that. I’m just gonna take my time with it. No rush.” I would believe him on that timeline.
As for my personal thought on where he’ll end up… I think it’s Duke. It’s just not a good sign when a kid who is already committed to one school starts to pay his own money, or his rich dad’s (Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers) money on expensive flights and hotels because he wants to look around. Add in the fact that he and Duke’s latest commit, Kyrie Irving, are boys, and it’s really not looking good for Billy Donovan. And if Duke gets Harrison Barnes, I’d say Austin is definitely going to be in Durham.
Take it light.
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Josh Smith planning to be a Husky?
Any word on where Josh Smith (Kentwood High, Wash.) will end up? I’m hoping for the Huskies, obviously! I feel like he’d thrive in our system. Do we have the edge? Talk to me JJ!
- Mark Richardson, Seattle
Mark, you seem like a nice guy (as much as one can seem nice through e-mail), so I’m going to level with you… Washington is hosting Josh this weekend and the last thing he said was that he plans to decide after that. Don’t blow it! The last official visit before the decision is the most crucial, especially in a situation like this one, with only one other school (UCLA) competing. Right now, I’d bank on Josh ending up a Bruin. When I’ve talked to him, without prodding, he’s raved on and on about how well UCLA coach Ben Howland is with big men and the NBA players UCLA develops. And it can’t hurt that he’d be in Tinseltown. I’m just sayin…
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Marquis Teague following big bro Jeff’s footsteps?
OK, so I’ve been holding off on this e-mail because I didn’t want to hear the answer, but I can’t take it anymore. Dude, is Marquis Teague (Pike High, Ind.) coming on down to Wake Forest to be a GREAT player like his big bro Jeff or is he gonna diss us? Go ahead… Tell me. I’m ready to hear…
- Michael Searles, Winston Salem (N.C.)
OK, uh, Mikey, seriously I’m going to need you to take a deep breath or do a couple “woo-sah’s” or something.
Brace yourself — He’s not going to be a Demon Deacon.
Darn, that was anticlimactic! I personally believe it’s between Louisville and Kentucky at this point, and that’s tough to contend with. Kentucky’s got Cal’s impeccable record of producing point guards, and Louisville hired his former high school coach as Pitino’s “personal assistant.” I know what you’re thinking: “Now why didn’t Dino think of that?!?!” I’ll leave you to the rest of your thoughts. Remember, go to a happy place.
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Elijah Johnson a star in the making?
I went over to a Word of God Academy open gym to see C.J. Leslie play and I left the gym wowed by the little point guard Elijah Johnson! I mean, this kid is quick and fast and is lights-out from the perimeter. I mean is this kid the real deal in your opinion and what is his college interest?
- Caped Crusader, Raleigh (N.C.)
First off, really? Caped Crusader? And how pray tell did you get this name… You know what, don’t even answer that. Back to your question: I totally agree with your assessment on Elijah. I’ve been to a good number of WOG open gyms and there have been a few games where Elijah has been the best player on the court, which is saying a lot with C.J., Dezmine Wells and Bishop Daniels playing in the same game. Elijah’s a great story too. He was all set for a big year last season and tore his ACL just two games in. It’s good to see that he’s looking even better than he was before the injury.
As for Elijah’s college interest, right now it’s a little stale from what I’m told. All things considered, that’s to be expected and will likely pick up soon. He’s got time, he’s only a junior. Scary, I know.
Got a burning question for Jason? Email him: JasonJ@DimeMag.com