While Florida got encouraging news on 2010 small forward commitment Casey Prather on Wednesday, the news on 2011 point guard commitment Austin Rivers is more troubling.
Apparently, Rivers sounds as if he’s prepared to re-open his recruitment between Duke and Florida following his visit to Durham, N.C., the weekend of Sept. 19.
“I still love Florida so much, but after I visited Duke I have to sit back and think about it over the next few days, weeks or so,” Rivers told CSS. “It was a great experience, just an awesome visit, so it makes me think a lot about what I will be doing in the future. I’m just a junior so I am in no rush to make a decision. I want to take my time and make a smart one.
“I will definitely be back to Duke next year for an official visit, and I would definitely love to get back to Duke for a game this year. I went there a while back for a game against Georgetown, and I want to go back and just be around the atmosphere again. The passion about Duke basketball is just ridiculous. I want to go experience that again.
“But, I really haven’t thought about de-committing, committing to Duke or opening things up. Right now I just love Duke and Florida. Those are the only two schools. Schools have respected coach (Billy) Donovan and not tried to call or get involved since I committed. Duke didn’t start recruiting me until after I said I wanted to take a visit.”
I’m sure some Florida fans will be livid at Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski for interfering with Rivers, but keep in mind, this is part of the cutthroat world of college hoops recruiting. Nothing is final until a letter of intent is signed.
One of the top basketball players in Florida history, Al Horford, reneged on a verbal commitment to Michigan. More recently, top 2010 point guard recruit Josh Selby backed out of a verbal commitment to Tennessee and now appears headed to Kentucky. Tennessee sophomore forward Scotty Hopson backed out of a verbal commitment to Mississippi State to sign with the Vols.
What goes around, comes around.
And keep in mind it was Donovan and his staff who swooped in last summer to woo current UF freshman guard Kenny Boynton while Krzyzewski was overseas coaching the U.S. Olympic basketball team to a 2008 gold medal. Boyton acknowledged that Florida’s interest last summer tipped the scales in his decision to sign with the Gators over Duke. Had Krzyzewski been around, could things have been different?
Rivers, a Winter Park native and son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, committed to Florida at the end of his freshman year in high school. He’s the second-ranked prospect in the Class of 2011 according to ESPN.com and the eighth-ranked prospect in 2011 according to Rivals.com.