Mandy Mitchell

The Mitchell Report: Rivers, wheelchair kid and superpowers

Posted January 13, 2013

This will serve as my weekly column for notes about things I find interesting outside the Triangle. Enjoy my insights. I will enjoy sharing them ..

Rivers struggling

Quite a few Duke fans have noted the absence of Austin Rivers and how that may be the reason Duke is much better this season. It's essentially the same roster, so it's hard not to point to Rivers as the root of last year's problems. He is definitely a guy who could have benefited from some humility. His professional career is not off to the best start. Over the last five games he is averaging less than 2 points. His best moment of the season came last month against Minnesota when he went off for 27 points. That is the reason his season average is up to 7 ppg. Otherwise, it would be hovering around 4.

He arrived on the Duke campus thinking he was ready for the NBA. He played like his teammates should be in awe of his presence on the court and now he's proving he's not ready to be a pro. It's ok. Lots of 20 year olds aren't. Think of what he could have learned from even one more year of tutelage under Mike Krzyzewski. This isn't to say he can't become a good player. He just didn't have the talent to be a "one and done".

The new Car

It seems NASCAR fans should be looking forward to the start of the season next month. The new "GEN 6" car is getting good reviews from the drivers so far. The most encouraging thing I heard this week was from Dale Earnhardt Jr. following the big wreck during a Daytona testing session. He indicated this wreck would officially put an end to the "tandem racing" we've seen recently in restrictor plate races. If you are unfamiliar with that kind of racing, it's when two cars "team up" and one car pushes the other. It's a type of drafting that became very popular with the COT (Car of Tomorrow). The drivers seem to feel the new car has an old feel and that would be great for the sport. I would love to see NASCAR get back to real racing and not have to resort to sideshow driver feuds to entertain us.

Wheelchair kid

Many people around here were excited to see the story of Will Privette (Wheelchair kid) storming the court after NC State's win over Duke. He became a quick celebrity. Even NASCAR Champion Brad Keselowski noticed Privette. He tweeted: My favorite part of duke nc state game? Seeing the guy in the wheel chair rush the court. That was awesome!

In case you didn't hear, Privette is OK and has an excellent college   story to tell his kids one day!

Using his superpowers

I was wondering if we would all grow tired of Johnny Manziel like we did of Tim Tebow. I'm going to go ahead and say no. Let me first say this. I love what Tebow brought to college football. It is so nice to have someone who really is a good person and stands for good values and works hard. I think that's great. However, it is also nice to see someone, like Johnny Manziel, who is using his superpowers. He is THE MAN in most parts of the country and he's enjoying that. He rubbed some folks the wrong way when he posted this  picture to twitter a few weeks back after a successful trip to a casino. But this week he showed his sense of humor when he posted this picture . Manziel should enjoy his fame. I'm not saying get into trouble, but enjoy it. Few people have that kind of power. Most of us would love to try it out.




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  • VT1994Hokie Jan 15, 2013

    Mandy. I have enjoyed your articles on a weekly basis. You're the best writer on the WRAL Sportsfan. I also enjoy listening to you on the WRAL Sports news cast.

  • VT1994Hokie Jan 14, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Rivers won games for Duke last season. Most people talk about River's attitude. I have praised Coach K for years. Coach K plays the players that can help the team win.

  • 903 mens national championships Jan 14, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Regardless of his agenda, Coach K is coaching the 5 on the floor at any given time. If Rivers is on the floor doing something that benefits himself and hurts the cause of helping the team win, do you honestly believe Coach K is going to start him and call plays for him? He did get pulled from the starting lineup one time last season, but even in that game I seem to recall he ended up playing the same number of minutes as he did when starting.

  • Voice of Reason 23 Jan 14, 2013

    lol - that same old fairy tale, claiming Duke players don't do well in NBA.

  • dickle Jan 14, 2013

    RE: Johnny Football -
    The college football kids I respect are the ones who took their bowl game shopping cards to give underpriviledged kids a Christmas they otherwise wouldn't have had. That showed maturity & consideration for the less fortunate & I got a lot of respect for them, not some super-talented showoff AH, ala JF & Cam Newton.

  • VT1994Hokie Jan 14, 2013

    Rivers had his own agenda based upon what I have heard and read. I really enjoyed the story yesterday about the Wheelchair student from State. CJ did a super job in coming to his assistance. I'm just happy that he didn't get hurt.

  • 903 mens national championships Jan 14, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Agreed. Not the part about blaming Coach K, but that Rivers can't be the only one to blame when Duke's season doesn't meet the normal standards. There was clearly a weakness last year at the point guard position and Coach K designed the offense to take advantage of the weapons he had available to him that gave him the best chance to cover that up. Rivers' ability to breakdown the defender and get into the lane was a weapon that was utilized. It worked well at first because teams were facing Duke for the first time and didn't have much tape to prepare for it. But in the back half of conference play, teams did know what to expect and by March, it was alot harder for Duke to succeed with their offense due to everyone having plenty of game tape and evidence of teams that were able to defend it well.

  • DurhamDevil Jan 14, 2013

    View quoted thread

    You are wrong, back(again) (if you can) the article carefully.

  • bblack Jan 14, 2013

    View quoted thread

    1. Cream Puffz wasn't on the Academic AA team.... All ACC-Academic Team. (Nice Try)

    2. UNC's Academic Player of the Year would LOVE to help run a business with Big-Puffz, but he's too busy at this moment.... Playing in the league.

  • baldchip Jan 14, 2013

    The NBA usually teaches humility to college hot shots-especially early entry hot shots! Rivers was destined to get trimmed-sooner or later. Suke is far better off with him in the NBA.

    Similarly, when CJ Leslie & Lo Brown have their attitudes straight, State is off the charts good. Without Leslie or Brown, well they're only a good team. That puts alot of pressure on them.

    Keep writing Mandy. You're good. WE're glad you are in the Triangle!




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