Not even a month after the NABC requested that coaches not extend offers to kids until just before their junior year, Billy Donovan has wrapped up a commitment from a rising high school sophomore. Austin Rivers is not just any high schooler, however. He is the brother of recent Georgetown transfer Jeremiah Rivers and the son to Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
There are a couple of ways to look at this story, and to denigrate Billy D. would be highly hypocritical on my part. However, something has to be said for a man that absolutely shuns the suggestions of the NABC. Especially if that man is widely considered one of the nation’s top coaches.
However, the same arguments shall be waged by the Florida faithful that we voiced a few months ago. How much was this decision based on Donovan’s recruiting? How actively did he pursue Rivers? Did he press for a verbal? We don’t really know these things. What we do know, however, is that Rivers has been tearing up the AAU circuit and had a solid freshman season. Furthermore, this certainly cannot be blamed on faulty advising. Rivers has an older brother who has been through the recruiting process, and a father who has been in the game since his playing days at Marquette. Perhaps this is the case of a kid knowing where he wants to play, and ending the process before it begins.
Thus, where does this move fall? Is it Donovan defiantly turning a deaf ear to fellow coaches and doing whatever he pleases? Is it further signs that the recruiting process is evolving? Or, is it an isolated incident that had more to do with a kid’s eagerness to sign than a coach’s eagerness to wrap up a star?
At the very least, this makes Donovan look bad.
Winter Park’s Rivers, son of Doc Rivers, commits to Gators (Orlando Sentinel)