In any event, this off-season is extremely intriguing for a Duke fan. A lot of ifs, ands, buts, maybes.
But, hey, it gives us something to obsess over now that we have nothing to cheer for (besides the LADY DEVILS)!
With respect to his long-term NBA prospects, I don't think jumping now or a year from now really matters: he has his talent and his work ethic, and he'll be what he'll be long-term no matter what.
I think his next two years might be more rewarding as 2012-2013 at Duke w/ a championship and 2013-2014 as an NBA rookie playing a lot ... that's a better scenario than would be 2012-2013 as an NBAer fighting for minutes, and 2013-2014 playing a lot.
If his dream is to make it into the NBA... after 1 year of college, then yes, he is fulfilling his dream. If he just wants to get out of college and see what the pro's are like, then he may find that things are A LOT tougher. The NBA is not going anywhere. Also, whereas Kyrie left in part to be the #1 pick, austin is choosing to leave and enter into one of the most loaded NBA drafts in recent history. It just does not make too much sense to me.
-I hope I am not making it seem like he "owes" anything more to Duke if he does leave. I am just looking at him in regards to being a pro prospect.
I personally would want to start making money as soon as possible. I went to college mainly because it was supposed to help me land a job once I graduated. I bet that is the reason a lot of people go to college. If Rivers is capable of earning seven figures now then why not leave? You get to play against the best and live an NBA lifestyle while doing it. Sounds good to me.
Curious as to the players over the years ...
Who's gone early?
Who could've gone early but opted not to?
Hurley/Laettner? Any discussion then?
If one were categorizing ...
- which guys jumped at the right time,
- which should have perhaps stayed at Duke (in hindsight),
- did any regret not jumping?
Of course, the clearest case for going pro early was Duke's very first to leave early: Jay Heaps.
If he can't improve while staying at Duke, playing against lesser competition where he would be a greater focus, then how on earth is he going to improve in the NBA? He would not be a main focus and wouldn't play all that much (based on his current skills).
If he were to play another season at Duke and expose more flaws and weaknesses, then good luck in pro ball.
Per USA today, Austin will hire an agent. I'm in conference right now but will try to copy/paste the link.
Winning some sort of championship at Duke next year, playing with K and in Cameron, having a couple more UNC games on espn (rather than a mid-February Milwaukee-Detroit-Cleveland swing), maturing and growing as a player to make the early NBA years even better ... and then earning seven figures, playing against the best, and living an NBA life the very next year, also sounds good.
He can have a lot of NBA in his future .... or have some more Duke and a lot of NBA in his future. A win/win and he cannot really go wrong. I wish him the best either way. If it were me, I'd choose the latter.
And I think it's especially obvious that in JJ's and Shelden's cases that even after 4 years, and high draft picks, they weren't "ready" for the NBA. Now both are getting solid minutes, starting even, after a couple years of really struggling to get off their benches. I think AR has lots of pine time in front of him.
Gottlieb was just talking about the situation filling in on ESPN Radio....He and Andy Katz said similar things to what a lot of people have been thinking. Rivers was a nice kid, hard worker etc but extremely difficult to play with and does not think things will be worse off.
While I wish he would have stayed, all I can say is thank you Austin for the year you spent on the team. If the rest of the team had his competitive fire, I think we'd still be playing this season. Good luck in the NBA!
That said, I do wonder if we'll be a little more versatile offensively next year. Rivers was pretty one-dimensional in terms of offensive style (useless off the ball, more or less an iso player on the ball, limited passing ability). Next year, there is an opening to be very diverse offensively. Especially if guys like Cook, Gbinije, Murphy, and Sulaimon are ready to contribute. So there's certainly a chance we could be just as good offensively without Rivers. There's also the chance that those guys aren't ready and we take a big hit offensively.
Hopefully our young guys (and our seniors) step up and embrace the challenge. There is a TON of talent on next year's roster, even if we lose both Mason and Rivers. We'll still have (I believe) 7 top-30 recruits and another guy who has now been All-ACC, and another guy who is a 7-ft McDonald's All-American. It's a phenomenal situation that people can look at that roster and think we're in trouble next year. We'll be good. It's just a question of how good.
Interesting that the DBR chooses to use "Ahhhhh Seeya! Rivers Gone" as the front page lead. Interesting choice of words, considering the fan base uses it to taunt disqualified opponents. Are we due for a few days of "good riddance" Austin Rivers stories? If so, why?