It was a tale of two seasons for Rivers, whose emergence down the stretch helped the Huskers make a run to the NCAA Tournament. While he averaged 3.0 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game, Rivers insertion into the starting lineup solidified the Huskers' rebounding and defense over the last month of the year. He averaged 4.9 points on 56 percent shooting and 4.6 rebounds per game over NU's final nine contests, as he returned to the starting lineup to give the Huskers a bigger lineup. He had five games with at least five rebounds in that run, including a career-high nine caroms in the Big Ten quarterfinal loss to Ohio State. That was one of three times where he led NU in rebounding in 2013-14. Rivers averaged 6.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game in the postseason, including eight points and nine rebounds against the Buckeyes on March 14.
In Big Ten play, he played in 15 games and averaged 2.8 points and a 3.3 rebounds per game. After playing just three minutes in NU's first four Big Ten games, a solid week of practice helped Rivers return to the rotation, and he had four points and two rebounds in 14 minutes in a win over No. 18 Ohio State. Rivers saw his minutes increase and he continued to make major contributions to NU's success. Against Illinois on Feb. 12, he matched his career high with seven rebounds in 28 minutes of work. He made his first start since Nov. 30 at ninth-ranked Michigan State on Feb. 16, and came through with six points, seven rebounds and a pair of assists in 24 minutes to help the Huskers to their first road win over a top-10 team since 1997. That began a run where he averagd 6.8 points on 89 percent shooting and 5.5 rebounds per game, including a 4-of-4 effort from the field at Illinois on Feb. 26.
Rivers started six of the Huskers' first seven games of the season, but then played just six minutes in NU's final five non-conference games. He played at least 19 minutes in each of the first five games, highlighted by a season-high 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting off the bench against UMass on Nov. 21.
Rivers emerged as a starter in the Huskers' frontcourt, as he moved into the starting lineup during the second half of the season. Rivers, who moved into the starting lineup after Brandon Ubel suffered an elbow injury in early January, remained a starter for the remainder of the season, as he started the Huskers' final 17 contests. He was one of only four Huskers to appear in all 33 contests, while averaging 5.6 points and 3.4 rebounds in over 25 minutes per contest.
Rivers, who played a lot of power forward in the Huskers' four-guard attack, reached double figures four times, including twice in Big Ten action. He averaged 6.2 points per game in conference play, including 40 percent shooting from 3-point range. Rivers started 15 conference tilts in addition to the Huskers' two conference tournament games in Chicago. Rivers played a major role in NU's win over Purdue with six rebounds, four points and a pair of assists in 24 minutes before fouling out. He was held scoreless in 20 minutes against Ohio State in the quarterfinals, marking only the second time he was held scoreless since moving into the lineup.
Rivers' first career start at Nebraska was a memorable one, as he nearly carried the Huskers to an upset at No. 22 Michigan State on Jan. 13. He scored 18 points on 8-of-8 shooting and grabbed six rebounds in a loss to the Spartans that was decided in the final moments. His other double-figure effort came against a ranked team with team-high 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting and added six rebounds against No. 11 Ohio State on Feb. 2. Rivers had six rebounds in four Big Ten games, including six boards, nine points and a career-high five assists in a win over Penn State on Feb. 9. He also had six boards, seven points and a pair of assists in the Devaney Center finale against Minnesota on March 6.
Rivers was the Huskers' primary frontcourt backup during the first half of the season and provided a steady effort. He had seven points, four rebounds and a pair of blocked shots against NCAA qualifier Valparaiso on Nov. 15. He matched his personal best with seven rebounds and in a then-career best 32 minutes at Wake Forest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Nov. 27. Rivers was slowed by a sprained ankle suffered in the opening minutes at Oregon on Dec. 15, and played just 11 minutes in a two-game stretch before breaking out against Central Michigan. Rivers, who had never been in double figures in his college career, propelled the Huskers to their best offensive output in three years, totaling a career-high 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting and added seven rebounds in 25 minutes in an 89-75 win. He totaled 14 of his 20 points in the second half, as his 20-point effort matched the most bench points by a Husker since November of 2010. One week later, he closed non-conference play with his second-straight double-figure effort, as he scored 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting and added six rebounds in a win over Nicholls State.
Rivers was one of three freshmen to see action for the Huskers, as he earned playing time on the wing and in the post. He appeared in 19 games, averaging 1.1 points and 0.8 rebounds a game while averaging 8.3 minutes per contest. Rivers was an active player inside as nearly half of his rebounds were on the offensive glass.
After playing a total of nine minutes in the Huskers' first four games, Rivers got his first opportunity against eventual NCAA qualifier South Dakota State. Rivers set season bests with eight points and five rebounds, hitting 3-of-5 shots from the field in 18 minutes off the bench. He continued to play well off the bench against Wake Forest in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Nov. 30, totaling three points and three rebounds, including a pair of offensive caroms, in 17 minutes. He also played well in a come-from-behind win at TCU on Dec. 10, totaling five points and an assist in 13 minutes of work and had a season-high two assists along with two points in 18 minutes against Alcorn State on Dec. 17.
In Big Ten action, Rivers played in Nebraska’s first three games as the Huskers were down a pair of regulars, including a career-high 20 minutes at No. 6 Ohio State on Jan. 3. He played just seven minutes over the next eight games before playing two minutes against Michigan on Feb. 8. He saw action in five consecutive games late in the conference season, including eight minutes of action at No. 6 Michigan State on Feb. 25. He also played three minutes in the Huskers' Big Ten Tournament opener.
Rivers came to Nebraska following a distinguished prep career, winning three state titles at Hall High School in Little Rock for Coach Eric Coleman. Rivers, who first started midway through his freshman year, was a three-time all-conference performer and helped Hall High School win three state titles (2008, 2010 and 2011) and earn a runner-up finish (2009).
As a senior, Rivers led Hall to the Class 7A (largest class) state crown and a 23-7 record, averaging 19 points, seven rebounds and three assists per game. He was a consensus first-team all-state performer and was the MVP of the state tournament, scoring 19 points and grabbing six rebounds in the title game against West Memphis after scoring 23 points in a semifinal win over Rogers High School. He was rated as the No. 46 small forward nationally by ESPN, was a three-star pick by both Rivals.com and Scout.com, and also was ranked among the top 150 overall prospects in the country by various scouting services. He was also named the state MVP and selected to the All-Southern Boys basketball team by the Orlando Sentinel following his senior campaign.
As a junior, he averaged 14 points, six rebounds and three blocks per game, leading Hall to a 28-3 record and a Class 6A state title. A first-team all-state selection, Rivers had 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists in a 64-59 win over West Memphis in the Class 6A state title game. He had four games with at least 20 points as a junior, including a season-high 26 points against Jacksonville.
He played AAU ball with the Arkansas Wings and Coach Ron Crawford, helping the 17-and-under team to the 2010 AAU National Championship in Orlando, as well as the Best Buy Classic Championship in Minneapolis in 2010.
David is the son of Phillis Rivers and Ezell and Karen Rivers and was born on Feb. 22, 1993. Ezell Rivers played collegiately at UALR from 1982 to 1985. The younger Rivers was recruited by Clemson, Wichita State, UTEP and Tulane among others before selecting Nebraska. Rivers is a ethnic studies major at Nebraska.