Remembering When Austin Rivers Was Arguably The Best Player In The Nation
Here’s a fun throwback video from 2010 of top ranked (#1 on Rivals, #2 on Maxpreps, #3 on ESPN) prep player Austin Rivers going at 2010 #1 NBA draft pick John Wall during an Elite 24 scrimmage. In the clip, Austin “crosses” Wall, scores on a layup and talks about how it felt playing against a talent like Wall, who was also a former #1 ranked player in high school.
If the only thing you knew about Austin was he’s a Dukie and/or he plays in the NBA on a team coached by his Dad, you are probably shocked to hear that the constantly (unfairly) criticized Clipper, who recently signed a 3-year $35 million deal despite being called “the worst player in the league” by a bunch of idiots on social media, was once considered by many, the “best player in the nation.”
We even made a mixtape called “Austin Rivers The BEST Player in the Nation.”
Austin also was named the USA Today Player of the Year – over Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bradley Beal – after averaging 29 points a game, leading his Winter Park team to a state title and averaging 20 points a game while leading the USA 18 team to Gold in the FIBA Americas U19 World championship. He also participated in a few All-American games and was selected co-MVP at the Elite 24 game after putting up 25 points, 4 boards and 4 assists.
But even back then, with all the accolades and success, Austin was still having to deal with the criticism that comes from being the son of a well-known NBA player and coach. In the following interview from the Under Armour/Brandon Jennings Invitational, Rivers talked about growing up rich, the unique issues he has to deal with and trying to make a name for himself.
“My Dad earned it. That’s what I’m trying to do now. Pretty soon, 12, 15 years from now, people are going to be talking to my kids, talking about how does it feel to be Austin Rivers’ kid. That’s how it’s going to be.”
It’s been a little over 4 years since this video was released and the 10th pick of the 2012 NBA draft is still taking punishment because of his last name and still trying to earn respect. Unfortunately, no matter what he does on the court, he might never get it from the masses, but when he racked up 21 points, 8 assists and 11 stitches in a playoff loss to the Blazers earlier this year, he got my respect.
BONUS VIDEO: JOHN WALL
Back to the very first video in this post. I don’t want anybody thinking John Wall was shown up at the Elite 24 midnight madness scrimmage, so here’s a mix of what he did.