Rivers already providing material for Duke haters

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If you’re a great scorer, what’s most important: Confidence, supreme athletic ability or a great shot?

If you’re Austin Rivers, it doesn’t matter. You’ve got two of the three.

The Duke recruit – ranked as the No. 1 player in the class of 2011 – spoke to the Raleigh News & Observer Wednesday about his goals for next season, the skills he needs to work on and the influence of his dad, Doc, the coach of the Boston Celtics.

But the best part was this exchange:

Q: You scored 46 points in a game as a high school sophomore? Is that right? How did you do it?

A: I’ve always been a scorer. I’ve always been a great scorer. That’s one thing I’ve always had confidence in myself as far as me thinking I’m better than anybody. I’ve always had a mind set where I’ve always felt you need more than one person to guard me. Especially now that I’m a lot better than I was back then. They basically just played man, and it was just one on one. And that’s not going to work out too well. I got hot. And things got going and shots started falling.

Two thoughts: If you’re a Duke fan, you love Rivers’ attitude. Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler will be gone next season (probably Kyrie Irving, too), and somebody’s gonna need to fill their scoring roles. Rivers is the guy.

On the other hand … a quote like that — “I’ve always had confidence in myself as far as me thinking I’m better than anybody” – is prime material for opposing fans and defenders. Austin’s gonna hear that more than once.

Want more? I’m also on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.