D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera is a 6’4,” 220 lb guard from Indianapolis’ North Central High School, the alma mater of basketball players Eric Gordon and Jason Gardner as well as singer Babyface and Subway pitchman “Jared.” The efficient and rugged sophomore, who, at times, was asked to play power forward for his high school team, helped lead the school to a State Title in the largest classification for Indiana, 4A, scoring twenty-five points in the state semi-finals and generating sixteen points and six rebounds in the Indiana State Championship game. Among those coaches in attendance for his state title game were Tom Crean, Bruce Weber, Roy Williams, Matt Painter, and Tubby Smith. After the season, the Associated Press named him to the Indiana All-State team, the only sophomore to make either the First or Second-Team All-State. Smith-Rivera’s recruitment has naturally heated up and he spoke with us in his native Indiana about his recent achievements and the latest in his recruitment.
Can you talk about the run and experience of winning the state title?
I mean it was a great experience, but I really didn’t know how to feel after the game. It was a great feeling afterwards, but I had butterflies before the game.
I wasn’t there, but I heard it was a pretty big crowd.
Right, right, it was a pretty big crowd, but, throughout the season, we didn’t have too much fan support. As we kept winning more and advancing, they started showing up.
What about making Second-Team All-State, regardless of class, in Indiana?
That was also a great feeling. I mean being All-State as a sophomore in this state was a big honor. It was a real honor to be associated with all of those guys at the top.
The forty-one point game you had the other at the AAU Tournament. How does that stack up with some of the other best games of your life? Were you just feeling it that day? What happened?
Yeah, it was actually my career high so far. It was just one of those days, where I envisioned it just going in. I was hitting everything.
Let’s move to recruiting. Which schools are recruiting you? Who’s [private] offered so far?
Purdue, Louisville, IU, Xavier, Cincinnati, Tennessee. They’ve all offered.
Now, which schools have expressed interest? I’m sure there’s been a lot more than that.
Right, right. Absolutely, um, Kentucky has been expressing a lot of interest lately. Ohio State has been showing a lot, I mean, a lot of interest lately. North Carolina and Georgetown too.
In terms of a position, here they have you playing the one and two, while in high school, you played the four. What are most schools recruiting you as? And where do you actually like to play?
I prefer to play either or in college. I mean I’d like to be a combo guard. I think my versatility can be valuable to them.
Do you have a go-to move at this point? You caught it a lot on the high post and would either shoot the turnaround or blow by your man on a pump fake.
(laughs) I can’t be giving away my moves right now. I do like to catch it there though and also just outside of the three-point line.
Now, you are one of the relatively rare kids who can function in either a half-court offense or just run and play full-court. Do you have a preference?
I like to play full-court. I love to get up and down.
Go back for a second to having to play the four for your high school team. What was that like and how do you think it helps you for when you come out and play a combo guard during the AAU season?
(Laughs) Right, right. It was a pretty awkward experience actually. I mean I played forward when I was younger because I was bigger than everybody else. I think it helps me see the floor a little differently.
How big are you now?
I’m 6’4″ and about 220.
Who do you try to model your game after?
Deron Williams. Definitely Deron Williams. I think he’s the most complete guard, right now, in the NBA. I just try to watch him and tailor my game towards his.
Have you taken any visits recently or do you have any planned?
Not recently, but I plan on taking quite a few in the near future. I plan on seeing Kentucky and Ohio State. If, on the same trip, we go to Washington D.C., then I’ll see Georgetown, Virginia, and possibly North Carolina.
Will your mother be the one that you’ll be seeking guidance from, whenever you do decide?
Most likely. Most likely, my mom.. and my father too.
Her name came up a lot when I was doing some background work.
What will you be looking for ideally in a college, whenever you do decide?
How good their business program is. I plan on majoring in business when I get to college. Hopefully, a program that gets up and down the floor and a coach that trusts me with the ball. That’s really all I’m looking for.
Do you have any time in mind for when you’d like to decide by?
Sooner rather than later.
Well, now you’ve got more schools coming after you.
Right, right. I guess if I had my choice I’d rather get it over with sooner though.
Has Duke expressed any interest in you at all? I heard they’ve recently come into the picture.
They sent a letter to me recently, very recently actually. I haven’t been able to speak with them, but I’d definitely like to. I liked Duke a lot when I visited for the tournament…the Bob Gibbons.
Well, what’s your impression of Duke from afar?
Well, they just won the National Championship. What can you say? They’re a great school, have a great basketball program, and have Coach K. I visited there last summer and saw a lot of the facilities.
Do you have plans right now, in terms of camps?
Well, right now, I plan on playing for Adidas Nations.
Do you watch a lot of college basketball?
I watch a lot more college basketball now than I do the NBA. It’s a lot more competitive and passionate. Those guys are playing for something.
Big Ten? ACC? Big East?
I watch all of them really.
Did you have a favorite as a kid?
Well, when I was a kid, I really only watched the NBA. Now, everything’s changed.
What would you like the audience to know about you?
I take the game very seriously and I love my family dearly.
That’s good to hear. Now, would distance from your family be a factor at all?
No, not really
Absolutely. Any time. [/private]