This afternoon, Austin Rivers surprised just about every by committing to Duke.
The surprise, however, was in the timing of the commitment, not the end result. Rivers had stated that he was going to take his three official visits -- to North Carolina, Kansas, and Duke -- before making an announcement.
But seeing as he had already made his decision, what was the point?
"I didn't want to drag this thing out longer," Rivers told Evan Daniels, a recruiting analyst for Scout.com. "I didn't want it to grow where I was comparing Duke and North Carolina and Kansas. I just knew I wanted to go to Duke. I didn't see a point in dragging this out any longer."
Rivers, a Winter Park native, originally committed to his home-state school Florida as a freshman back in 2008, but has since wavered on that commitment. He reportedly fell in love with Duke last winter on an unofficial visit to the school, and just about everyone has believed this result was only a matter of time.
Nevertheless, this is a huge get for Coach K. Rivers in the consensus No. 1 player in the class of 2011. A combo guard, Rivers is a pure-bred scoring machine with NBA pedigree -- he is the son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers. He's 6'4", he has impressive athleticism, he can get to the rim and finish, and, most importantly, he is an absolutely deadly shooter with a killer instinct, in-the-gym range, and a knack for burying difficult jumpers.
Considering that Duke was able to land Kyrie Irving, who was regarded by many as the best point guard in a loaded class of 2010 back court players, this is a great sign for the direction of the Duke program, a program many thought was in trouble just a few short years ago.
Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler graduate this year, and there is a reasonable chance that both Irving and Mason Plumlee bolt for the NBA Draft after this season. Even if that is the case, Rivers will still be joining a back court that will have, at a minimum, Seth Curry, Andre Dawkins, and Tyler Thornton. Throw in the three talented freshmen (Michael Gbinje, Marshall Plumlee, Tyler Adams) joining a front court that should return Miles Plumlee, Josh Hairston, and Ryan Kelly, and Duke's future looks as bright as ever.
I've already gotten a text from a Duke fan friend of mine saying "Three peat?"
To put the proverbial cherry on top, Rivers made his commitment just one day before he was supposed to head to Chapel Hill for an official visit with UNC.
I bet the Cameron Crazies are loving that.
As we always do, here are a couple of videos that should demonstrate just how good this young man is going to be:
How about this one, where Rivers crosses up John Wall, then rips him on the very next possession: