Duke Basketball: Coach K Issues a Challenge for Top Recruit

Hayden CoombsCorrespondent IIIJuly 12, 2011

The 2011 Duke recruiting class features one of the premier high school players in the nation, Austin Rivers.

Rivers will arguably be the best player on the Blue Devils roster next season. He will have to be if Duke wants to win another NCAA championship after losing Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith and Kyrie Irving.

Rivers has also been creating fairly high expectations for himself by saying things like, "Wearing number 0 next year! My nick name is going to be subzero! Cause of number and because my moves freeze people, got ice in my veins!!" He said this in a June 7 tweet.

He has also gone as far saying, in a Sporting News interview, that he wants to destroy LeBron James.

It is okay that Rivers expects a lot out of himself, but he has been very vocal about his skills. He has already started to rub some of the traditional Duke fans the wrong way with his confident personality.

Last season, we saw what can happen to a young player who has been given enormous expectations when Harrison Barnes failed to live up to the preseason expectations. Luckily for UNC and Roy Williams, Barnes re-captured his swagger late in the season and led UNC to the Elite Eight.

Coach Krzyzewski is a smart coach and he won't let that happen to his talented freshman. Yesterday, Coach K was quoted saying to The News & Observer about Rivers, "He's got to change. He's got to learn to become a complete player. For any freshman coming in, there's a huge difference in playing with older guys, more physical. It's a whole different thing."

Coach K wont let the expectations get too high for Rivers. Coach K knows better than anyone what Rivers is capable of. He also knows that Rivers will be forced to play in a system and won't have complete freedom on offense.

While I appreciate the swagger Rivers is sure to bring to Duke, I am positive that if Rivers spends less time talking and more time working on his game, he will not only achieve the level of excellence he desires, but also take Duke to a higher level as well.