Rivers, a senior at Winter Park High School (Winter Park, Fla.), is the No. 1 player in the class of 2011 according to ESPN and Rivals.com’s national rankings. Scout.com lists him as the No. 2 overall prospect and the No. 1 shooting guard.
The 6-foot-4 scorer and playmaker originally announced he would take official visits to his top three choices—North Carolina, Kansas and Duke—before making a commitment. He had scheduled a trip to Chapel Hill for tomorrow, October 1, and planned to visit Kansas on October 22.
He’ll visit Duke the weekend of October 15 during the Blue Devils’ Countdown to Craziness extravaganza. All signs indicate he will now attend that event as the team’s newest member rather than as an undecided prospect.
“He made that decision last night,” Winter Park coach David Bailey told The Sentinel Thursday morning. “Austin felt most comfortable with their coaches and their program. He just fell in love with their school.”
Bailey said Rivers called North Carolina coach Roy Williams and Kansas coach Bill Self to tell them he had chosen Duke and canceled his official visits.
Adam Zagoria’s ZagsBlog also reported last week that Duke coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Chris Collins visited Rivers at his home for two and a half hours on September 21.
“It was good,” Rivers told Zagoria. “I had a great time talking basketball with Coach K and Coach Collins. Basically they want me to be the leader of the team, someone who can come in and help the program win. He wants me to score and penetrate and be an all around player. He really trusts me and believes I can be one of the best players in college. He said I can learn a lot from him which I don’t doubt at all.”
Rivers averaged 23.9 points per game during his junior season and led Winter Park to its first state championship in school history. He also led his Each 1 Teach 1 AAU squad to the Junior Boys Super Showcase national championship in July, scoring a game-high 24 points in the finals.
He orally committed to Florida coming out of his freshman season, but he reopened his recruitment during his junior year and recently dropped the Gators from his list of college choices.
“I think it came down to the next 40 years after basketball and what will set him up for life after basketball,” Rivers’s AAU coach said to Scout.com about the decision.
Rivers joins five-star swingman Michael Gbinije and four-star big men Tyler Adams and Marshall Plumlee in Duke’s 2011 recruiting class.
UPDATE: Austin Rivers tweeted this around 2:00 p.m. today:@AustinRivers25
World i have decided to go to duke! Let’s go blue devils ha’