He was one and done at Duke University.
He is a 19-years old basketball prodigy with NBA roots and can more than hold his own as a swing guard at 6-foot-4.
And that game winning three-pointer against North Carolina earlier this season only serves as a reminder that the kid can take and make big shots.
Yet when it comes to Austin Rivers, the perceived ego or cockiness that he plays with and hovers around him will either hurt or help him as teams start to fine-tune their NBA Draft wish list in the coming weeks. Right now you’d be hard pressed to find a more confident lottery pick.
Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers and Austin’s dad embraces the kid’s cockiness and dismisses the notion that it’s over the top, and chances are he’s not the only one out there.
“I’ve yet to meet a great player who was un-cocky,” Doc Rivers said recently. “Un-cocky Dwyane Wade? Un-cocky LeBron? Un-cocky Ray (Allen)?”
Instead, Doc describes Austin as, “driven, determined player and every coach he’s played for has loved that…He occasionally gets frustrated, just like I did.”
Like father like son.
Flip the script and the younger Rivers sounds just like his old man, but perhaps that is the point and reason success runs in the family. Would it be different if Austin Rivers came from a rougher background and his dad wasn’t one of the finer and more media friendly coaches in the NBA with titles to show for it?
Or does Rivers simply fall into that Duke University trend of too-cool-for-school players like Grant Hill and Carlos Boozer among others that all came out of the program with a certain cocky aura about themselves?
“You have to have an ego. Just make sure it’s a healthy ego,” Austin Rivers said. “You don’t want to have an arrogance that affects your team, and that’s something I’ve never had.
“On the court I’m confident in myself and my team where I feel we can do anything.”
Apparently teams like the New Orleans Hornets aren’t worried about Rivers.
While guard Eric Gordon has made no secret that he will test the free agency waters this offseason, don’t be surprised if the Hornets use their No. 10 pick on Rivers. If Gordon leaves New Orleans and the Hornets decline to match any offer, they just might take the approach of going with youth over dabbling in free-agency. Besides, after missing the majority of the season, there are still some red flags about Gordon’s health.
Not only is he younger, healthy and a player you can certainly help build around knowing Anthony Davis is the projected cornerstone of the franchise for New Orleans, but he also brings some swagger to a team.
Call it confidence. Call it ego or being cocky.
Either way don’t call Austin Rivers anything less than a Top 10 pick.