Winter Park junior basketball star Austin Rivers elaborated on his recruitment at the Sentinel's Varsity Basketball Media Day, saying he remains orally committed to Florida but Duke has pulled up right alongside of the Gators with a year and a couple of weeks to go before the stellar guard can make anything official.
Rivers, a 6-3½ guard rated as one of the top juniors in the nation by virtually every services, said being coveted by two of the premier programs in the country is a huge positive, but he wants to make sure it is not a negative for either.
"I still love Florida so much. I fell in love with that campus and that program the minute I saw it. But it doesn't help recruiting for the Gators at all when people take the words out of my mouth and put it out there that I'm undecided. I'm still committed to Florida. Duke wanted to recruit me, but they wanted to do it the right way out of respect for Florida. It's two unbelievable programs and I feel fortunate that they both want me."
"Both have really good coaches, really good programs, really good recruiting," Rivers said. "There are a few differences and a lot of similarities."
Rivers took an unofficial visit to Duke in September, and Blue Devils Coach Mike Krzyzewski made a recruiting stop at Winter Park High School later that month.
Rivers orally committed to UF in July, 2008, following his ninth grade season, when the Gators were riding high off back-to-back 2006 and 2007 national titles. Asked if Florida's failure to return to the NCAA tournament the past two seasons prompted him to look elsewhere, Rivers answered, "No. My dad ( Boston Celtics Coach Doc Rivers) was the one who felt I shouldn't totally close the door if there were other great schools out there recruiting me."
Rivers said he thinks Florida is on its way back to elite status with the addition of players like Vernon Macklin (6-10 Georgetown transfer) and Kenny Boynton (freshman guard).
"I think maybe Florida's overall balance of the team hasn't been as good as it had been. But I think it's only a matter of time before they put the pieces together. Coach (Billy) Donovan is definitely the guy who can do that."
There had been talk that Kentucky might enter the Rivers' sweepstakes after hiring Coach John Calipari. Rivers said that won't happen.
"I'm not feeling Kentucky," Rivers said. "I have a really good feeling right now about Florida and Duke, but I just don't want to go to Kentucky. Nothing against them. Great program, great coach. It's just not for me."
Rivers cannot sign a National Letter of Intent until November of his senior year.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun