Austin Rivers: Why Duke Star Is Ready for NBA Stardom

Adam SpencerCorrespondent IMarch 19, 2012

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 16:  Austin Rivers #0 of the Duke Blue Devils looks on in the second half while taking on the Lehigh Mountain Hawks during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 16, 2012 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Duke experienced another embarrassing early-round NCAA tournament exit in 2012, losing to 15th-seed Lehigh.

It wasn't Austin Rivers' fault that the Blue Devils lost though, as he contributed 19 points in the loss.

The versatile guard has been one of the best freshmen in all of college basketball this season and needs to leave school to go to the NBA.

Here are three reasons Rivers is ready to make the jump to the next level.


Kyrie Irving did it.

Irving spent even less time on the court for Duke but still ended up being the first pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

And, in case you haven't noticed, he's doing just fine in Cleveland.

The favorite for the Rookie of the Year award is averaging 18.6 points and 5.6 assists per game for the Cavaliers.

Rivers is just as talented as Irving, so he should follow in Irving's footsteps and take his talents to the NBA.


He has a great support system.

How many college basketball players can say that they have a dad who is a head coach in the NBA?

Off the top of my head, I'd guess that there aren't very many.

Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics has been giving his son help for his whole life, something that wouldn't stop if Rivers jumped to the NBA.

Plus, there's always a chance (fingers crossed) that he could be drafted by the Celtics and play for his dad.

That would be a great fit for both team and player.


Simply put, he's ready.

When you can step into the ACC as a freshman and average 15.4 points per game like Rivers, there's not much to gain by staying in college.

He could use a little work on his passing skills, but that's not going to change much on a Duke team that would continue to rely on Rivers for points.

He's a scorer, and there is always a place for another scorer in the NBA.

He could get drafted and immediately become a J.R. Smith type of player. That is, he could be an offensive spark off the bench.

Eventually he'd become a starter and an all-star, but everyone has to start somewhere.