Prior to the NBA Draft on June 28, players are invited to the NBA Combine taking place today and tomorrow in Chicago. Austin Rivers, who led Duke in scoring this year with 15.4 points per game, is projected to be a first-round pick in the draft. Fellow Blue Devil Miles Plumlee, who just graduated, is also in attendance at the combine, where players’ speeds, heights and skills are measured. Andrew Beaton, sports editor for The Chronicle, spoke with Rivers about his preparation for the draft leading up to the event.
The Chronicle: How’s your preparation for the draft been going?
Austin Rivers: I’ve been working a lot, working hard. I feel like I’m ready now.
TC: Where have you been working out?
AR: I’ve been working out in Orlando—I’ve got a trainer down there named Jamie Clark. I’ve been working out with him a lot, about every single day. I feel good.
TC: Is there anything you’ve specifically been focusing on in your workouts?
AR: Obviously the combine stuff, we do a little bit of that. The other days, [I’m working on] just getting in great shape and just keep getting better at everything—coming off screens, a lot of pick and roll stuff, shots off pick and rolls, passing off pick and rolls and stuff like that.
TC: Do you pay attention to mock drafts?
AR: I don’t look at it—it really doesn’t matter. People don’t know what’s actually going down or what’s happening inside the NBA, so I never really look at the mock drafts.
TC: Have you had the chance to stay in touch with people from Duke?
AR: I’m up here with Miles [Plumlee]. Miles is up here for the combine, so they roomed us together. I always stay in touch with [sophomore Quinn Cook] and all those guys.
TC: Have you spoken with any Duke players currently in the NBA for any advice?
AR: I talked to Elton Brand, Grant Hill and all those guys and they’ve told me to just keep working hard, stay focused and enjoy the process—it only comes around once.
TC: What has it been like watching your father [Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers] in the playoffs?
AR: It’s been fun watching him. I wish him the best, and I’m really proud of him. They got a huge win against Miami [on Tuesday] and the Heat are not an easy team, obviously. They have the ability to win the series now going back to Boston.
TC: Is it fun to be able to support him the way he attended many of your games at Duke this year?
AR: It is. Because of the lockout it made our relationship closer than it ever was.
TC: Have you two talked about what it would be like to play together?
AR: Yeah, just a little bit. We’ve just talked about the situation, but I’ve more talked about it with my agent. You just have to handle it like professionals. When it’s time to be father-son time it’s time for that, but when it’s basketball time it’s coach-player time. I doubt that will happen. I don’t think that will happen, but if it does, it does.