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Duke05
10-20-2011, 10:30 PM
Apologies if this has already been posted; didn't see it elsewhere. Pretty good piece, with insights from practice and quotes from Coach K:


To estimate just how good combo guard Austin Rivers is going to be right away as a freshman, balance what the recruiting rankings suggest -- that he has the talent to be one of the country's best scorers and a one-and-done Lottery Pick -- with the language Krzyzewski uses about the McDonald's All-American. Before Kyrie Irving had even arrived at Duke in 2010, Krzyzewski said Irving had the ability to "transform" the Blue Devils' offense. That was 100 percent accurate. Before Irving suffered a toe injury eight games into last season, he was the best player in the country. He completely changed Duke's offense, and went on to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.

While the Blue Devils were stretching at the beginning of Tuesday's 8 a.m. practice, I asked Krzyzewski what kind of player Rivers would be, and the coach said, "I don't know."


He said that the team's August trip to China was huge for Rivers' development, but he needed to continue to improve. When I noted the difference in descriptors used for Irving and Rivers, Krzyzewski said, "He's not as ready as Kyrie was." While offering the caveat that it was easier for Irving to "transform" the team from the point guard position than it would be for Rivers from the off-guard spot, Krzyzewski added, "Part of it is that [Rivers] needs to learn to have fun with other parts of the game than offense -- with defense, with rebounding, with communicating."

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/luke_winn/10/20/Duke.Austin.Rivers/index.html?eref=writers

g-money
10-21-2011, 12:23 AM
Thanks for the article. Winn has done a very nice job profiling all the key team members. I particularly liked the last line:

"Duke hasn't proven anything yet, but when K's latest project is complete, it could easily be one of the top five teams in the country."

Btw, how 'bout the part about Mason and Marshall going at it in practice? Gotta love the intensity!!! (with apologies to Mrs. Plumlee)

Billy Dat
10-21-2011, 08:35 AM
IMHO, Luke Winn has really emerged over the past 5-6 years as one of the best young national college bball writers. His weekly power rankings, and accompanying graphics/graphs, are a weekly must read.

I think he's also an example of a writer who has come around to view K differently since the program's attempt to make itself more accessible. He broke in at SI right around the time when the narrative was K cloistered in his tower with the fingerprint security access, and a lot of his earlier profiles of this sort used to kind of poke fun at the perceived imperial culture of the program. It sounds like as he's gotten more access and gotten to know K better, his tone has changed.

I, too, loved the Plumlee brawl coverage. If Marshall is the one who lights a fire under his next oldest brother, then hand him the Team MVP award right now. If you saw Watzone's video interview with Miles from Operation Basketball, he said that Marshall was always his "favorite brother". Now we've got this fight...Mason playing the Jan Brady frustrated middle child...The Plumlees from Warsaw...An American Family!

NM Duke Fan
10-21-2011, 10:42 AM
"I asked Krzyzewski what kind of player Rivers would be, and the coach said, "I don't know."

He said that the team's August trip to China was huge for Rivers' development, but he needed to continue to improve. When I noted the difference in descriptors used for Irving and Rivers, Krzyzewski said, "He's not as ready as Kyrie was." While offering the caveat that it was easier for Irving to "transform" the team from the point guard position than it would be for Rivers from the off-guard spot, Krzyzewski added, "Part of it is that [Rivers] needs to learn to have fun with other parts of the game than offense -- with defense, with rebounding, with communicating."

There is much more here about the backcourt and other aspects of this year's team, it is worth a read:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/luke_winn/10/20/Duke.Austin.Rivers/index.html#ixzz1bQo4Q7Ew

COYS
10-21-2011, 10:53 AM
"I asked Krzyzewski what kind of player Rivers would be, and the coach said, "I don't know."

He said that the team's August trip to China was huge for Rivers' development, but he needed to continue to improve. When I noted the difference in descriptors used for Irving and Rivers, Krzyzewski said, "He's not as ready as Kyrie was." While offering the caveat that it was easier for Irving to "transform" the team from the point guard position than it would be for Rivers from the off-guard spot, Krzyzewski added, "Part of it is that [Rivers] needs to learn to have fun with other parts of the game than offense -- with defense, with rebounding, with communicating."

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/luke_winn/10/20/Duke.Austin.Rivers/index.html#ixzz1bQo4Q7Ew

Great read! K's quotes remind us just how exceptional Kyrie is. As many on this board posted, coach K has never talked up a freshman as much as he did Kyrie. Secondly, it reminds us that we can't expect the same performance that we got from Kyrie as we will from Rivers, at least initially. Coach K is a master of motivation. Last year he raved about Kyrie's ability, making it clear that he was getting the keys to the offense and, by doing so, helped inspire the confidence of the veterans on the team who were exceptional players in their own right and helped the team transform almost seamlessly from a half court team into one of the fastest teams in the country in one offseason. This year is different. Coach K is making it clear that despite Austin's talent, he still has many holes in his game that he needs to work on. I am sure that the ultra-competitive Austin takes these comments as a challenge and is probably working on those parts of his game in a gym at Duke as I type this. The team probably won't transition as seamlessly as last season, but it doesn't mean that Austin won't be able to become the type of impact frosh that Kyrie was later in the season. There are a lot of uncertainties surrounding this team, but I can't wait to see how it all plays out. Austin and the rest of the team have the talent to be a real contender come March. It's going to be interesting to see how bumpy the road is to get there as Austin and the rest of the team evolve.

COYS
10-21-2011, 11:02 AM
Great read! K's quotes remind us just how exceptional Kyrie is. As many on this board posted, coach K has never talked up a freshman as much as he did Kyrie. Secondly, it reminds us that we can't expect the same performance that we got from Kyrie as we will from Rivers, at least initially. Coach K is a master of motivation. Last year he raved about Kyrie's ability, making it clear that he was getting the keys to the offense and, by doing so, helped inspire the confidence of the veterans on the team who were exceptional players in their own right and helped the team transform almost seamlessly from a half court team into one of the fastest teams in the country in one offseason. This year is different. Coach K is making it clear that despite Austin's talent, he still has many holes in his game that he needs to work on. I am sure that the ultra-competitive Austin takes these comments as a challenge and is probably working on those parts of his game in a gym at Duke as I type this. The team probably won't transition as seamlessly as last season, but it doesn't mean that Austin won't be able to become the type of impact frosh that Kyrie was later in the season. There are a lot of uncertainties surrounding this team, but I can't wait to see how it all plays out. Austin and the rest of the team have the talent to be a real contender come March. It's going to be interesting to see how bumpy the road is to get there as Austin and the rest of the team evolve.

One other thing I forgot to add, for those of us who are worried about River's tendency to sulk a bit after making a mistake or having a call go against him, Winn's description of how he responded to K calling him out for just that should be very revealing. After being called out for not playing defense after making a turnover, he responded by making a number of excellent hustle plays on both offense and defense as well as having better offensive possessions. When asked about the situation, he responded with the advice Kyrie gave him.

"you can't just come in to Duke, be lackadaisical, and act like you're going to run s--- when you still have to learn everything." His response to being yelled at by Krzyzewski, he said, "was just to turn it up, and from then on, make sure he didn't yell at me again for the rest of practice."

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/luke_winn/10/20/Duke.Austin.Rivers/index.html#ixzz1bQtBpMne

I can't wait to see Rivers "turn it up" once he gets comfortable in Duke Blue.

roywhite
10-21-2011, 11:13 AM
One other thing I forgot to add, for those of us who are worried about River's tendency to sulk a bit after making a mistake or having a call go against him, Winn's description of how he responded to K calling him out for just that should be very revealing. After being called out for not playing defense after making a turnover, he responded by making a number of excellent hustle plays on both offense and defense as well as having better offensive possessions. When asked about the situation, he responded with the advice Kyrie gave him.

"you can't just come in to Duke, be lackadaisical, and act like you're going to run s--- when you still have to learn everything." His response to being yelled at by Krzyzewski, he said, "was just to turn it up, and from then on, make sure he didn't yell at me again for the rest of practice."

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/luke_winn/10/20/Duke.Austin.Rivers/index.html#ixzz1bQtBpMne

I can't wait to see Rivers "turn it up" once he gets comfortable in Duke Blue.

yeah, good stuff, and very much look forward to seeing Rivers make big plays

IMO, he's capable not only of making a big bucket or breaking down his defender in a critical situation, he's also capable of a key steal, sneaking in for a rebound and put-back, or disrupting an opponent's offense by shutting down his man.
He's a gamechanger.

TonyWR
10-21-2011, 12:08 PM
yeah, good stuff, and very much look forward to seeing Rivers make big plays

IMO, he's capable not only of making a big bucket or breaking down his defender in a critical situation, he's also capable of a key steal, sneaking in for a rebound and put-back, or disrupting an opponent's offense by shutting down his man.
He's a gamechanger.

Mark my words, Rivers will find his groove come ACC play. Tarhole fans are praying I'm wrong but this kid is special, everyone will see soon enough and River's will be one of the first players to cut down the nets at the ACC championship game.

Rivers+Curry+Dawkins+Kelly+Plumlees+The greatest coach ever = the sleeping giant that will come in mid season and take everyone by surprise.

sagegrouse
10-21-2011, 12:10 PM
Mark my words, Rivers will find his groove come ACC play. Tarhole fans are praying I'm wrong but this kid is special, everyone will see soon enough and River's will be one of the first players to cut down the nets at the ACC championship game.

Rivers+Curry+Dawkins+Kelly+Plumlees+The greatest coach ever = the sleeping giant that will come in mid season and take everyone by surprise.

I appreciate your remarks (from your lips to God's ears). Your logo had me confused for a moment --

sagegrouse

UNCleRod
10-21-2011, 12:15 PM
Mark my words, Rivers will find his groove come ACC play. Tarhole fans are praying I'm wrong but this kid is special, everyone will see soon enough and River's will be one of the first players to cut down the nets at the ACC championship game.

Rivers+Curry+Dawkins+Kelly+Plumlees+The greatest coach ever = the sleeping giant that will come in mid season and take everyone by surprise.

preseason #6 team in the country is not going to take anyone by surprise, that target on the duke uniform is just as big this year as it always is. If anything your going to have a few teams try to take advantage of your team without its leaders from the past few years and get payback on you guys. FSU, VATech, UVA, Maryland are all teams that will look at this year as a chance to take down you guys.

TonyWR
10-21-2011, 12:28 PM
preseason #6 team in the country is not going to take anyone by surprise, that target on the duke uniform is just as big this year as it always is. If anything your going to have a few teams try to take advantage of your team without its leaders from the past few years and get payback on you guys. FSU, VATech, UVA, Maryland are all teams that will look at this year as a chance to take down you guys.

True, Duke get's everyones best shot, whether ranked #6 or unranked but many of those teams that want to 'pay back' aren't going to get it as easily as they think and the reason includes Rivers (along with improvements in Kelly, Miles and Curry). #6 is fine with me!

Kedsy
10-21-2011, 01:32 PM
Great read! K's quotes remind us just how exceptional Kyrie is. As many on this board posted, coach K has never talked up a freshman as much as he did Kyrie. Secondly, it reminds us that we can't expect the same performance that we got from Kyrie as we will from Rivers, at least initially. Coach K is a master of motivation. Last year he raved about Kyrie's ability, making it clear that he was getting the keys to the offense and, by doing so, helped inspire the confidence of the veterans on the team who were exceptional players in their own right and helped the team transform almost seamlessly from a half court team into one of the fastest teams in the country in one offseason. This year is different. Coach K is making it clear that despite Austin's talent, he still has many holes in his game that he needs to work on. I am sure that the ultra-competitive Austin takes these comments as a challenge and is probably working on those parts of his game in a gym at Duke as I type this. The team probably won't transition as seamlessly as last season, but it doesn't mean that Austin won't be able to become the type of impact frosh that Kyrie was later in the season. There are a lot of uncertainties surrounding this team, but I can't wait to see how it all plays out. Austin and the rest of the team have the talent to be a real contender come March. It's going to be interesting to see how bumpy the road is to get there as Austin and the rest of the team evolve.

While I don't doubt that Kyrie was more ready than Austin is, I also suspect the difference in comments was yet another master psychological stroke by Coach K. Last year, Kryie and his unassuming personality joined a veteran team led by two senior All-Americans. Coach wanted him to overcome his natural tendency to defer and assert himself from day one, hence the "giving him the keys" talk. This year, Austin and his super-confident personality joins a team where everyone else has been deferring for the past two/three years, so the message is very different.

Don't misunderstand me, I believe K's comments about Kyrie being ready and about Austin not being quite so ready were both honest and accurate. However, I also believe the exact wording and the way in which he delivered the messages was deliberate and had a psychological purpose. He knows what sort of public words will get the best out of his players, and he wields those words with surgeon-like skill.

Troublemaker
10-21-2011, 03:25 PM
At the beginning of the season, there is a good chance Austin is going to shoot too much and turn the ball over too much and generally be inefficient.

If true, it's going to be difficult for us fans to stay patient because his inefficiency will lead to losses against the difficult early season competition we're playing. We could even lose to Belmont in game #1.

But I hope we fans do remain patient. Because we just need to look at the situation as a long-term investment. Give Rivers time to work out the kinks and hopefully by Feb or March, the investment will pay off in the form of an efficient 2-guard that can get a shot for himself (or a teammate) any time he wants to.

Add that kind of a player to what the coaching staff expects to be a very good if unconventional PG in Seth and very solid upperclassmen bigs who will lead the team, play defense, rebound and even score a bit this year, and that's a Final Four contender.

The key is just to stay the course and believe in the long-term plan. (Of course, I have no doubt the coaching staff will. I just hope our fans follow suit. No panicking!).