The correct answers are yes, no and no, respectively.
“Duke has prepared me for the challenges that are ahead both on and off the court,” Rivers said in a statement issued by the school. “I have learned so much from the coaching staff and my teammates that will help me succeed at the next level.”
A certain stereotype often is attached to one-and-dones, much like the cliched image of preps-to-pros who preceded them until 2006. They all hail from poor families and they’re poor students, possessing poor character and judgment. Basketball is their only “ticket” out, as they neither appreciate college degrees nor have the intellect to obtain one.
We’re comfortable with that perception draped on Kentucky, where Calipari’s revolving-door program is built on NBA-ready freshmen. A half-dozen one-and-done Wildcats were selected in the first round of the past two drafts. Calipari’s freshmen have been top-four picks in four consecutive drafts, including No. 1 picks John Wall (2010) and Derrick Rose (Memphis, 2008).
His success at recruiting and reloading has made Calipari the bane of his sport, as if one-and-done players are somehow dirty. Never mind that he said Brandon Knight, the No. 8 pick last year, transferred 23 honors courses upon enrollment at Kentucky and left as a freshman with 60 credits and a 4.0 GPA.
Paint them all with the same broad brush, the bad guys using college as a pit stop at best and a doormat at worst.
But when it happens at Duke, one of the nation’s most-pristine powerhouses, you have to reconsider everything. Rivers, the son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, isn’t coming out because his family is broke, or Coach K gets on his nerves, or education is meaningless to him.
He’s coming out because he wants to play with the world’s greatest ballers. The multimillion dollar contract he’ll sign in a few months is gravy.
“Austin had a terrific year as a freshman and has put himself in a position to pursue his dream of being a great player in the NBA,” Krzyzewski said in a statement. “He is an outstanding young man with an even more-impressive family. We are in total support of Austin, his family and his decision. We look forward to watching him continue to develop and excel at the next level.”
Coach K issued a near-identical statement when Kyrie Irving left as a freshman and became the No. 1 overall pick last year. Like Rivers, Irving comes from a sound background. His father, a former Boston University standout, graduated with an economics degree and works as a senior bond analyst at Thomson Reuters. Irving promised to earn his degree within five years and took a full course load while the labor dispute was being hammered out last summer.View Entire Story
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Deron Snyder is an award-winning journalist and Washington Times sports columnist with more than 25 years of experience. He has worked at USA Today and his column was syndicated in Gannett’ 80-plus newspapers from 2000-2009, appearing in The Arizona Republic, The Indianapolis Star, The Detroit News and many others. Follow Deron on Twitter @Its_Ball_Good or email him at email@example.com.
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