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Saniya Rivers is ready to be the next Kevin Durant – Game Up News
  • Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Saniya Rivers is ready to be the next Kevin Durant


Jun 9, 2021

Saniya Rivers had to switch high schools due to a tragedy and learned a tough lesson about fandom in the process.

When Saniya Rivers was a sophomore in high school she was already dominant on the basketball court at Laney High School in Wilmington, North Carolina. Yes, the same Laney High School that Mike Jordan graduated from before eventually becoming Michael Jordan. 

But she’s already drawing comparisons to another modern-day G.O.A.T.

“I’ve been getting compared to Kevin Durant since my freshman year just because we look the same lengthwise and that we just move the same,” Rivers said. “That’s definitely a player I look up to because if I’m getting compared to him why not just go with it.”

It’s more than just the long strides, smooth jump shot, and the ability to get to the basket that has many comparing Rivers to Durant.  Her numbers are Durant-like as well: 36.8 points, 11.5 rebounds, 5.3 steals, and 5.1 assists per game as a senior.

With a WNBA already loaded with top-tier superstars, Rivers’ game is developing into one that will fit right in with the best.

Past Gatorade National Girls Basketball Players of the Year have gone on to have incredible success – they’ve combined for nine WNBA MVP awards, 49 All-Star appearances, 14 WNBA championships, 14 WNBA first-round draft picks and two became Hall of Famers.

Rivers earned the Gatorade Player of the Year award as a sophomore at Laney High School for the first time on her way to becoming a three-time winner. The next two awards, however, would not come at Laney, but rather Ashley High School 16 miles south.

Hurricane Florence crashed into Wilmington and the River’s home in September of 2018, and as a result, her family had to make an immediate pivot.

“It wasn’t anything that we could really ponder over, we had to make the quick decision and our quick decision led me across town,” Rivers said.

Basketball fans at Laney, classmates, and River’s teammates felt scorned by Rivers departing even though it was not her decision. Instead of being empathetic to a high school kid who lost their home, the school turned on Rivers. A life lesson was learned at a young age when, upon returning to her old school as an opponent, the crowd of parents and classmates pelted Rivers with boos.

“I got hated on for a little while,” Rivers said. “A team that I put my all into for two years and helped get far and the next thing I know I’m coming back to play at their home court and they are booing me. I guess most people didn’t know it was because we had to, it wasn’t a choice I made, but it’s something that I don’t regret because look where we at now.”

Where we are at now is the recently announced Gatorade National Girls Basketball player of the Year along with the three-time North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year (one at Laney High School and two Ashley High School).

Rivers will be a freshman at the University of South Carolina in the fall. She has set the bold goal of winning four championships in four years, putting a target on her back once again.

But if the beginning of her basketball story is any indication, things are only going to get better.




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