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Duke’s Austin Rivers hits buzzer beater against UNC 02.09.12 at 9:10 am ET
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I’m not sure what’s better: The deadeye 3-pointer Duke freshman Austin Rivers made against rival North Carolina to beat the buzzer or Doc’s reaction. Now, the coach’s Celtics host the Lakers. A good week for the Rivers family.

Read More: Austin Rivers, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Duke University
Irish Coffee: Austin Rivers ‘would be great for’ Celtics, says Doc 01.19.12 at 12:51 pm ET
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At the tail end of Doc Rivers‘ weekly interview on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Morning Show (click here to listen in full), the Celtics coach opened up about the possibility of coaching his son Austin Rivers in the NBA.

“I would love the opportunity, I guess,” said Rivers. “It would be uncomfortable. I just think that would be a strange thing to do. Having that said that, I wouldn’t mind. He can score, and I think that would be great for us.”

The best prep guard in the country as a high school senior last winter, Austin Rivers averages a team-leading 13.8 points per game for No. 4 ranked Duke this season, shooting 43.6 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from beyond the arc. Once projected as a surefire lottery pick, his stock has slipped to No. 21 on ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford‘s Top 100 NBA prospects list. So, what must improve for him to have an impact at the next level?

“Just his whole game,” said the elder Rivers, who despite running practices for their teams once or twice has never coached his four kids. “I think he can score in this league right now. I don’t think he could have any problem with that. I think defensively — just the knowledge on the weak side of the ball — is where he would have to improve.”

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Read More: Austin Rivers, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers
Doc Rivers to Austin Rivers: ‘Never settle’ 07.18.11 at 11:55 am ET
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Austin Rivers competes in the slam dunk contest at the McDonald's High School All American basketball Jam Fest at Chicago State University in Chicago, Monday, March 28, 2011.

Austin Rivers continues to illustrate his brilliance on the court. (AP)

After dunking over former Celtics forward Rasheed Wallace twice during his debut at the SJG Greater NC Pro-Am (a.k.a “The Rucker of the South”), Duke University’s No. 1 basketball recruit and son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers, Austin Rivers, continued to put on a dazzling display of moves at the event, which includes high school graduates, college players, current NBA players and former pros. His latest victim, thanks to a Tim Hardaway-esque killer crossover: NC State’s Lorenzo Brown (see embedded video).

Also, SLAM Magazine sat down with Austin Rivers at the NC-Pro Am, and the nation’s No. 1 player in the Class of 2011 explained his father’s advice …

  • SLAM: What is the one thing that you’ve learned the most from  your father (Celtics coach Doc Rivers)?
  • AR: “Just never to settle, man. There have been so many kids that have talent that have just stopped getting better. That’s one of the reasons that I have been ranked amongst the top players for so long. Even when I was ranked No. 3 in the country, that really bothered me because I always want to be the best. You can rank me 100 or 1, but I’m always going to work to be the best. That’s the main thing that my dad taught me: Never settle.”

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Read More: Austin Rivers, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Duke University
Inside the Game: Shelden Williams and the Art of Rebounding 01.05.10 at 10:41 pm ET
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For a player whose career had been filled with uncertainties, one thing was for sure about Shelden Williams.

“Shelden has proven he can defend and rebound,” President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge said at Williams’ introductory press conference this summer.

Williams understands his role on the Celtics

Williams understands his role on the Celtics

The Celtics were drawn to those defensive skills when they signed him during the offseason. They were looking to add another big man to their bench and believed he had the potential to help their team down low.

His rebounding contributions are even more critical now that Kevin Garnett is sidelined. Although he is not the first man off the bench,  Williams tries to make an impression on the boards whenever he can.

Before he began his NBA career, Williams had made his mark on Duke University. In fact, he had made it on backboards around the NCAA.

He graduated from Duke in 2006 as the school’s all-time leader in rebounds and blocked shots. Williams pulled down 1,262 boards over his four-year career and averaged 9.1 boards per game, including 11.2 as a junior. He became the third player in NCAA history to score 1,500 points, nab 1,000 rebounds, block 350 shots, and pick off 150 steals, while earning consecutive Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Williams was selected by the Hawks with the fifth pick in the 2006 Draft. That season he led all rookies in double-doubles and ranked third on his team in rebounds. Even as his playing time decreased and he was eventually traded (he was sent from the Hawks to the Kings to the Timberwolves over the course of two seasons), Williams stayed focused on attacking the boards.

Now on the Celtics, he has accepted the team’s defensive mentality. He is currently averaging 3.5 boards in 13.5 minutes and has recorded 8-, 9-, and 10-rebound games. Even though Williams has only played a total of 377 minutes (9th on team), he has recorded 99 rebounds (7th). He has also grabbed 33 offensive boards (4th), more than Rasheed Wallace and just seven shy of Garnett in 500 less minutes.

As part of WEEI.com’s “Inside the Game” series with the Celtics, Williams explained the art of attacking the glass.

Learning at a Young Age: As a teenager, Williams led Midwest City High School (OK) to the Oklahoma Class 6A State Championship.
“I was taught that very early on. My dad always told me about the importance of rebounding and playing defense. Those are two things that are will. If you want to do it, you have a will to do it. Those two things were taught to me at an early age and just kind of stuck.”

Williams admired him for his game, not his style

Williams admired Rodman for his game, not his style

His American Idol: The soft-spoken Williams admired one of the most colorful athletes to ever play the game of basketball.
“During my time period coming up, it was Dennis Rodman. He was always going after every single rebound whether he’d be over the top or not. I think that watching him be relentless, I learned from that.”

Leaving a Legacy: During his record-setting career at Duke, Williams grabbed a personal-best 19 rebounds against Virginia Tech in 2005.
“[My record] is very important. My shot blocking and my rebounding record will be there for a while so I scratched  my name on the stone, so to speak. My whole career that I was there, no one had averaged a double-double and that’s something I set out to do. I was able to accomplish it in my junior and senior year.”

There’s a Thought Process: In order to be successful, Williams educates himself on his opponents before they take the shot so he can put himself in the best position once the ball is in the air.
“[When you go in for the rebound] depends on where the shot’s been taken from. You kind of play percentages. If the ball’s on the other end of the court and I’m on the opposite block, more often than not it’s going to come off the opposite of that block. Also you’ve got to take into account the guy who’s shooting it. Has he been missing his shot? Does he tend to be short a lot of the time? Whatever the case may be, you try to think about that as well.”

Offensive vs. Defensive: This season the Celtics have been outperformed on the offensive glass. Williams says there is a difference on both ends of the court.
“Defensive rebounding, more often than not for a big, you’re already down there. Most cases you play around the block, closer to the basket. Whereas for offensive rebounding, if you’re setting a pick out there on the wing, you’ve got to run into there. Like I said, there’s a big difference because most time on defense you’re already in the paint … Any time the ball goes up I try to attack the glass. More often than not, not everybody’s attacking the glass all the time, so I try to make myself available, especially on the offensive end, to I keep the ball alive.”

Make the Extra Effort: At 6-9, Williams still works hard to make sure he has the edge over his opponents at the basket. On this particular day of the interview, he was the last player to leave the court after practice.
“[I] just try to rebound as much as I can. I try to make the concerted effort.”

PREVIOUS ENTRIES

Inside the Game: Paul Pierce and the Art of Versatility

Inside the Game: Kendrick Perkins on the Art of Shot-Blocking

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