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Hoops Recruiting Report
Saturday, March 23, 2002

By Thad Mumau
Special Correspondent

Georgia guard motivated by ECU's league slate


Rivers relishes Pirates' underdog role and building project status

Belton Rivers is happy to be a Pirate, and unlike many freshmen, the combination guard from Atlanta is not concerned about playing time.

"Right now, Iím not thinking about starting," said the prolific scorer from Frederick Douglass High School. "Iím not even thinking in terms of playing time. The East Carolina coaches said I would play if I worked hard. How much, I donít know. Weíll just have to see how things work out."

Rivers committed to ECU March 18 after averaging 32 points, 6.1 assists, five rebounds and 2.5 steals his senior season. He hit an average of 4.5 three-pointers a game and exploded for 10 treys in a 36-point performance against Clarkston High School.

On another occasion, he torched the same school for a career-high 42 points with eight threes. Douglass was eliminated by Lakeside in the regional playoffs despite Riversí 37 points, none of which came in the first quarter. He nailed nine threes in his final regular-season game on the way to 33 points, also against Lakeside.

"Beltonís range is three or four feet behind the arc," Douglass coach Frank Robinson said. "The kid is amazing the way he can shoot the basketball. He can pass it, too. He isnít a jet like some of these little scooters, but heís pretty quick."

Rivers has good size at 6-3 and 190 pounds, size that will help him in Division I wars.

"He can take a hit and not be affected," Robinson said. "Heís a Timex because he keeps on ticking. Belton is a really tough competitor."

Talking about Riversí role with the Pirates, the Douglass coach said, "I saw them play a couple of games, and it looked like Belton will be surrounded with good men. They need a scoring guard, and he will sure fit in there.

"I see him as a two guard who can back up at point guard. And thatís what East Carolina needs. Belton is already bigger than a lot of college guards. Itís hard to find a guard his size that can play one or two."

Rivers has no qualms about playing either of the guard positions.

"I see myself as a combo guard," Rivers said. "I like the point, but I will play anywhere they want me. I think I am going into a good situation at East Carolina. They told me I will play both guard spots."

Although he has become known as a big scorer, Rivers foresees no glitches in taking on the point guard mentality when called upon ó a role normally associated with being a floor general while assuming the bottom slot on the list of players to get shooting opportunities.

"Not really," Rivers said. "I can do whatever I need to do. Adapting to that way of thinking wonít be hard at all."

Coach: Fans in for a surprise

ECUís membership in Conference USA was a factor in Riversí decision as he chose the Bucs over South Carolina, Kansas State, Tulane and Rutgers, all of which offered scholarships.

"Itís great the teams we will be playing," he said. "The conference weíre in means some TV time and a lot of competition. I want to play the tough teams."

Robinson feels East Carolina followers and other fans in Conference USA are in for a treat.

"Belton is a sleeper," he said. "Not many people know about him. He is going to surprise a lot of people.

"He can jump ó he will dunk on you ó and he can take the ball to the basket. Heíll go by you. If you pick him up, he will dump to a big guy. Play off of him, and heíll drain the three."

The Pirates became interested in Rivers a bit late, but not too late.

"They came to see me play twice," he said, "and both times were late in the season. I had gotten some mail from them, but nothing serious. Then, when they came to see me play, I got interested."

Riversí only official visits were to East Carolina and Alabama State. He is qualified for freshman eligibility as he has a 2.9 grade-point average and a 19 on the ACT. He plans to attend the second session of summer school in Greenville.

"Iím pretty excited," he said. "I like the coaching staff at ECU a lot, and I like being the underdog. I look forward to being part of a building project, and I think we have the players to be a good team."

Rivers, who is not ranked in the top 300 seniors, is the second member of Bill Herrion's 2002 recruiting class. The other is Kinston (NC) High School's 6-7 Corey Rouse, who signed in November.

Rivers will sign during the spring signing period which begins April 10.

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02/23/2007 02:39:44 PM

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