Going into his senior year, Winter Park (Fla.) High School point guard Austin Rivers is ranked 2nd overall on the HighSchoolHoop.com national Top 50 list. Having recently de-committed from Florida, he now has Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky and the Gators vying for his signature.
The younger son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers, Austin has agreed to give HSH and Dime exclusive access by chronicling his thoughts in a regular diary. Here’s an excerpt from his latest entry:
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… Well, I helped the USA U18 team win the gold medal recently. It was a great experience. I didn’t know what to expect at first. We started with tryouts, which was something new for me. I just put my all into it and made the team, and right after that we went right into it with two-a-days for about 2.5 hours each practice.
It was just crazy to work so hard alongside great players like Kyrie Irving, Quincy Miller and Patric Young day in and day out. We gelled together really well and blew everyone out. Then in the championship game against Brazil, we got a real test. But our coach (Oklahoma’s Jeff Capel) pulled everyone together at the end and we ended up winning a gold medal!
It was cool to be a key contributor on a team with all of those upperclassmen. I felt like it was important for me to show what I could do the first couple of days that I was there. We all know what each other can do, but you’ve got to prove it every time.
My teammates were really the ones who gave me the respect to say, “You’re gonna be our go-to guy.” They really gave me and Kyrie the respect to have the ball in crunch time and we really stepped up and contributed to the team in a big way.
Of course, being there for 17 days meant we had a lot of downtime to just bug out and stuff like that. The weirdest dude on the team was definitely Patric Young. I mean that in a good way. This dude just walks around with his shirt on his head, muscles out and being a bully. In a funny way, though, but he’s just hilarious. Then you’ve got Kyrie … He’s just a clown. I don’t think people expect him to be as funny as he is.
Then the big story at the U18 games was me rocking my Duke gear… LOL… That’s pretty funny. It’s like this: When I went to Duke, I went to their team store and loaded up. I mean that store is just real cool. It’s got a lot of nice stuff in there. So when we won I decided to rock my Duke gear! I didn’t think it would be a huge story like it was, but hey, what can I say? I like wearing basketball shorts and T-shirts. …
… I want to hold off and watch (Irving) play next year a little before I decide. I want to see other players develop, too. Not just at Duke. You’ve got North Carolina. I want to see if Harrison Barnes stays, too. There’s a lot I want to take a look at with this decision.
Obviously, that means I won’t be deciding in August like I said before. Sorry about that, guys. I just want to make this the best decision for me and having gone through this once already I have to KNOW it’s the right thing for me. I don’t want any fans to read into this any kind of way. Nothing has changed with me other than time. I just know that I need to take my time with this one. Just look at it like I’m being thorough and making sure I’ll be happy, but don’t read into it deeper.
It’s really just me being thorough. I won’t go as far as Doron Lamb or Josh Selby. Those guys waited until the last second to decide. I’m thinking after about a month into the college basketball season is when I’ll decide. Maybe sometime in December, I’m thinking. That will give me time to see how guys are playing and see who looks like they’ll be around when I’m there and who won’t. That won’t be the only factor in my decision, but it will be a factor for sure. …
… I would love to be a one-and-done. I think that’s every kid’s goal whether he admits it or not. But my ultimate goal is to go at the right time. If that’s after one year then so be it. If it’s two years then that’s fine too. I’m in no rush. The reason I say after one year is because that would mean that I was playing to my maximum potential and that’s always my goal when I step on the court. My criteria for leaving early would be being a top-10 pick. I think I can be a lottery pick for sure because I work SO hard and I put in the time to get better. …