Coach K Upset Over Criticism On Austin Rivers' Character

Coach K Upset Over Criticism On Austin Rivers' Character

Published on June 28th, 2012

Duke Coach K called ESPN's Chad Ford himself to set the record straight about his former player Austin Rivers, and the rumor about his "character issues"...


Posted by Daye Kaba
 
Duke Coach K called ESPN's Chad Ford himself to set the record straight about his former player Austin Rivers, and the rumor about his "character issues":
 
Rivers’ former head coach at Duke, Mike Krzyzewski, even called me up concerned that I or someone else was questioning Rivers’ character.
 
I’m not. I’m questioning how his mental approach to the game, combined with his skills and physical tools, translate at the next level.
 
To be clear, I’m sure Rivers is a nice young man and I don’t have concerns about his character. In fact, Coach K believes that Rivers’ ultracompetitive personality is what will help him at the next level.
 
“He is an alpha dog. I think he will succeed in the NBA because of that,” Krzyzewski said. “He believes he’s going to be great. I’d rather have a guy like that than a guy who doesn’t believe in himself.”
 
He also acknowledged that Rivers, like every young prospect, still has a lot of work to do.
 
“He needs to be a better rebounder and a defender on and off the ball,” Krzyzewski said.
 
“Some players, they learn one punch. When you take that punch away, they get knocked out. He needs to use that aggressive mentality to work on new things about his game.
 
“When Austin came to Duke, I told him that every player is like a house: The more skills you learn, the more windows you have on your house. When he came to Duke, he had one really big window. He was an amazing scorer. The goal was to add more windows to his game. He’s in that process right now.
 
“I hope he gets a demanding coach at the next level who pushes him to keep adding to his game. That’s how he’ll become great. If he reverts back to just doing the thing he does well, his chances lessen that he’s a good player in the NBA.”
 
He also noted that despite rumors to the contrary, he liked working with Rivers.
 
“He was very coachable and he’s a very good young man,” Krzyzewski said. “I like him. He was never a problem. He fit in well. He likes the game. He was a good kid to coach.”
 
Coach K said that any chemistry issues with the team this past season, which ended with the No. 2-seeded Blue Devils being knocked out in the first round of the NCAA tournament, probably had more to do with its lack of seniors. He said that as players get older, they get more secure in who they are and what they can do and don’t feel as threatened by newcomers with the skills of someone like Rivers.
 
“We had a young team, maturity-wise, this year,” Krzyzewski said. “I would’ve rather had him playing with Nolan Smith and Kyle Singer. I think they would’ve reacted better to his aggressive attitude. We didn’t always use his attitude properly.”
 
Fair enough. Other than his father, Doc Rivers, no one knows him better.

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