This article was written by Kelly Patrick, a contributor with KentuckySports.co.
D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, a 6-3 210 lb , top 25 prospect in the class of 2012 prospect according to both rivals.com and scout.com will be moving from Indiana to Mouth of Wilson, VA to attend prep school Oak Hill Academy for his senior season. He has been receiving attention from multiple top programs nationally including Louisville, UCLA, Florida, Georgetown, Ohio State, Wake Forest and Texas. This weekend Smith-Rivera visited Louisville, who have become a major player in his recruitment since Richard Pitino Jr. came back from Florida (where he was heavily recruiting Smith-Rivera) to join his father’s staff at the University of Louisville.
“I came down on Friday afternoon (To Louisville). My parents came down with me as well as my little brother. Coach (Rick) Pitino wanted me to come down this weekend for the visit and it was good.” Said Smith-Rivera. “It was nice and everything was just as expected. I am really good friends with Rodney Purvis and he talked about how beautiful the campus was and how all the gymnasiums and other (facilities) were really nice. So it was a pretty good visit.”
Regarding his discussions with Pitino during his weekend visit “He told me he wanted me to play eighty percent at the point and twenty percent off the ball” Smith-Rivera said “What he said to me made a lot of sense and it was a great visit. I have a lot of interest in Louisville right now. They have (made me a priority) right now with (Richard )Pitino Jr. coming over from Florida where he was recruiting me. And now that he has come to Louisville it was like putting two and two together so I am a pretty high priority I think.”
Smith-Rivera also said regarding the level of interest Louisville is showing him vs. other schools, UCLA in particular, “Louisville is recruiting me really hard right now and this will be my first time out to UCLA and there are a lot of things expected, maybe some things that could put them over the top. It is all about a gut feeling for me right now.”
Aside from UCLA and Louisville, Texas and head coach Rick Barnes are said to be really putting a lot of energy into Smith-Rivera. Smith-Rivera’s Spiece Indy Heat AAU coach Jared Quarles said regarding his visit to Texas: “He really liked it. It made him want to be in Texas. He toured the campus and saw the facilities. Coach Barnes walked him around for a couple of hours. I don’t know if he expected to be with coach (Barnes) that long. Texas assistant coach (Chris) Ogden basically set everything up. I know they really enjoyed it. He really liked Coach Barnes’ attitude. [It was] straight forward, letting him know where he stood, where he fit in the program. Barnes told him he could get better in his program, which is something D’Vauntes can benefit from, especially with the guards they’ve (Longhorns) had.”
Apparently aside from many top schools in the country thinking Smith-Rivera’s stock is on the rise, he also seems pretty confident “I have really noticed a pickup in my game lately. I think it is all the hard work I have been putting in and I think people are starting to realize I am the number one point guard in the class. I just think with the work I am putting in and I go out there every day and bring it every game. It is really paying off”, said Smith-Rivera.