Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It’s Official: Austin Rivers Leaving Duke, Williams To Start Process

(Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
For those UNC fans wondering if the sun was going to come up on Monday morning after the Tar Heels were eliminated from the NCAA tournament, not only did it come up on Monday, but it also showed up on Tuesday with news that Duke guard Austin Rivers is leaving Durham for the NBA.

The freshman guard announced his decision and plans to hire an agent on Monday after team officials said he spent the weekend discussing his future plans with his family at their home outside Orlando, Fla.

The son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers averaged a team-leading 15.5 points and was a unanimous selection as the ACC’s rookie of the year. He’s just the third Duke freshman to lead the team in scoring after Johnny Dawkins in 1983 and Bill Sapp in 1945.

“Austin had a terrific year as a freshman and has put himself in a position to pursue his dream of being a great player in the NBA,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said, adding that he supports the decision. “We look forward to watching him continue to develop and excel at the next level.”

MAGETTE (Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty Images
The top highlight of Rivers’ only college season was a buzzer-beating 3-pointer last month that gave Duke an 85-84 victory at North Carolina. He scored a season-high 29 points in that game.

He’s the fourth player to leave Duke after one season and the second one-and-done guard in two years after Cleveland made Kyrie Irving the No. 1 overall pick of last year’s draft. The others are Corey Maggette in 1999 and Luol Deng in 2004.

Prior to the official announcement, Doc Rivers, speaking to reporters in Charlotte before the Celtics’ game against the Bobcats on Monday night said, “Listen, going to the NBA if you’re going to get drafted in the first round, that’s good. Going back to Duke, that’s good. So I don’t know if you have a bad choice.”

Meanwhile in Chapel Hill, head coach Roy Williams said he would likely begin having initial discussions about the NBA with his underclassmen later this week.

“I don’t think anyone’s thinking that far,” Harrison Barnes said. “We all had expectations of going to New Orleans and now that’s cut short.”

DENG (Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty Images)
(Editor’s note: While we would encourage all of these young men to “take the money,” having just been to an NBA game where we were very close to the action, it is abundantly clear that none of the underclassmen players in question are ready to play effectively in the NBA.  Yes, Rivers, Barnes, Marshall and Henson will get drafted (as would McAdoo) -- perhaps all in the first round depending on what other players are available in the draft -- but none of them is physically or mentally ready to play in a league where they very clearly will be boys among men...While Henson may develop more physically next year, his game is relatively sophisticated for a player of his size.  Barnes may simply never be the player he was hyped to be coming out of high school settling for very good as opposed to great, and Marshall could surely use another year to develop his offensive skills as Ty Lawson did so effectively in the 2008-09 championship season.  Question is, could these players make more rookie money by improving their position in the 2013 draft with a productive season next year?  The answer is, like so many other things, who knows?) 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive