Sources: Duke's Rivers leaving for NBA draft

Duke guard Austin Rivers
March 23, 2012 11:50:50 AM PDT
Duke freshman guard Austin Rivers will declare for the NBA draft, sources said Friday.

He will make the formal announcement next week after spending the weekend at home in Orlando.

CBSSports.com reported earlier Friday that Rivers was planning to enter the draft.

The Blue Devils' staff knew in the latter part of the season that Rivers was going to leave, multiple sources with direct knowledge at Duke told ESPN.com.

The NCAA's deadline for a player to declare for the NBA draft is April 10, although the NBA's deadline is April 29. There is no longer a period during which a player can work out for NBA teams. A player can withdraw his request to enter the draft by 5 p.m. ET June 18.

Rivers will become the fourth player under Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski to play one season for the Blue Devils before leaving for the NBA. The other three were Corey Maggette, Luol Deng and last season's No. 1 draft pick, Kyrie Irving.

Rivers, son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, is expected to be a first-round draft pick.

Rivers, whose memorable buzzer-beating 3-point shot over North Carolina's Tyler Zeller catapulted the Blue Devils to a stunning 85-84 win Feb. 8, averaged 15.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists at Duke.

The Blue Devils also are waiting on the decision of junior forward Mason Plumlee, who has decided to declare for the draft but won't actually send in his paperwork until he learns if he's a likely first-round pick. Duke's staff is gathering information on the subject for him before April 10, although technically he has until April 29 to declare.

The Blue Devils still have plenty of guards, with the return of Seth Curry, Tyler Thornton, Andre Dawkins and Quinn Cook. And Duke fully expects incoming freshman Rasheed Sulaimon to be an impact player.

But Duke isn't staying idle, either. It is still in the hunt for one of the top two players in the class in Shabazz Muhammad out of Bishop Gormon High in Las Vegas, although so are Kentucky, UNLV, UCLA, USC and Kansas.

Duke had Central Michigan wing Trey Zeigler on campus for a recruiting visit Friday, according to sources. The hope is that Zeigler, wherever he signs, could play immediately next season with an NCAA waiver after his father, Ernie, was fired March 14 as the Chippewas' coach.

Sources also said that Duke could be among a handful of schools that UConn forward Alex Oriakhi talks to, after he announced Thursday he's transferring from the Huskies for his senior season. Oriakhi can play immediately as long as the Huskies' 2013 NCAA tournament ban, stemming from its poor academic progress report, is upheld.

The Blue Devils also return Ryan Kelly, who missed the ACC tournament and the NCAA tournament second-round loss to Lehigh because of a foot injury, Marshall Plumlee (and possibly Mason), as well as Alex Murphy, Josh Hairston and Michael Gbinije in the frontcourt.

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