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Thursday, July 10, 2008
Donovan Strikes Gold

By Dick Vitale
ESPN.com

Billy Donovan struck gold once again!

He can flat-out recruit … he's a salesman deluxe, baby! You'd better believe his reputation helps as players have an incredible desire to compete for him. It is a great asset in the recruiting wars.

It also helps to win basketball games and the two national championships on his resume certainly stand out. They help his credibility as a teacher, motivator and winner.

Recently he received a verbal commitment from Doc Rivers' son, Austin, to attend Florida. That's right, the same Doc Rivers who stood tall with the gold trophy as the Celtics responded from a disastrous season in 2006-07 to capture the NBA championship in 2007-08! Austin, at age 15, is a future PTPer.

Austin Rivers just completed the ninth grade and he became the youngest recruit to commit to Donovan. Rivers also competed at a Steve Nash Skills Academy, telling you a lot about his potential.

He comes from some great stock as his dad was a special, intense competitor as a player at Marquette. Austin's brother, Jeremiah, played at Georgetown before recently transferring to Indiana. Doc's daughter, Callie, is a standout on Florida's volleyball team.

The one thing I can say about the Rivers family is the ability to create motivated youngsters is impressive.

It is a win-win situation for the Gators, the Rivers family, and a young man who gets to play for a coach that relates well to the modern-day athlete.