Mar 16, 2012; Greensboro, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Austin Rivers (0) dribbles as Lehigh Mountain Hawks guard C.J. McCollum (3) defends in the second half. The Mountain Hawks defeated the Blue Devils 75-70 in the second round of the 2012 NCAA men

Rivers Declares for NBA Draft

Freshman guard Austin Rivers has declared for the NBA Draft. Following a stellar freshman season which saw Rivers average 15.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 2.1 APG, he decided to make himself eligible for the draft on March 26. Rivers had arguably the best freshman year in Blue Devil history, unanimously winning ACC Freshman Player of the Year (only the second player to do so), garnering first teal All-ACC honors, setting the freshmen scoring record at the Dean Dome with 29 points in the 85-84 thriller victory, and becoming just the third Duke freshman and the first since Johnny Dawkins to lead the team in scoring.

Rivers is currently projected as a top-20 pick in the upcoming draft, and has expressed his desire to play for his father, Doc Rivers, who is currently the coach of the Boston Celtics. Rivers’ game translates well to the NBA, as a combo guard who can create offense for himself as well as his teammates with his quickness and ball-handling. However, Rivers still will need to improve certain aspects of his game in order to make a lasting impact in the NBA. If he were to play the 1 or 2 guard, he will need to bulk up in order to guard NBA guards, as at his listed 6’4″, 200 pound frame he will often find himself defending guards measuring in at 6’6″, 220. Additionally, one of Rivers’ biggest strengths is his ability to shoot, yet he shot a low 42.2% from the field and 36.5% from beyond the arc. If Rivers were to shoot at least 48% from the field and over 40% from three-point range, he could easily average over 20 points per game and be one of the game’s best scoring threats for years to come.

Rivers is just one of four Blue Devils under Coach K’s tenure to go one-and-done, joining Corey Maggette (1999), Loul Deng (2004),  and Kyrie Irving, who went first overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers in last year’s draft. Rivers comes from a family of athletes, as his father played in the NBA from 1983-1996 and currently coaches the Celtics, his older brother, Jeremiah, played collegiately at Georgetown and Indiana and is currently playing for KK Mega Vizura in Serbia, and his older sister Callie played volleyball for Florida and is currently playing professionally in Puerto Rico.

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