Jeremiah Rivers preparing for final home game

Wednesday at Indiana basketball availability was essentially Jeremiah Rivers Day.

Rivers is the only senior on the Indiana basketball team and therefore the only person who will be honored after Thursday’s 9 p.m. game. Rivers said his post-game address will be short. “I’m not going to make an Oscar speech,” he said.

I don’t believe him. I told Jeremiah I’m taking the over. Rivers can talk.

Indiana coach Tom Crean has had days when he’s been satisfied with Rivers and days where he hasn’t been so satisfied. But on Wednesday he pointed out that the 6-foot-5, 210-pounder helped the program a lot once he found a role and bought into it.

“He sees the game in a different lens than what he saw it when he came in,” Crean said. “I think that’s what’s been very valuable for us and very valuable for him. That’s how I hope he’ll be remembered and how I hope he can finish this season, being that very valuable contributor.”

Rivers came to Indiana from Georgetown after his sophomore year, sat out a season while he watched what was essentially a post-apocalyptic IU squad go 6-25 in his year on the bench and expected to be a major offensive weapon last season.

He tried to be with mixed results, averaging 6.0 points per game as mostly the starting point guard. He averaged 3.4 assists per game, but also turned the ball over 80 times, struggled at the free throw lane and ran into problems because he couldn’t keep teams honest with a 3-point shot.

So this offseason, Crean convinced Rivers to take a different role. To play more off the ball and contribute with his defense and rebounding. He took to it quickly.

“I was just like, ‘I’m gonna do what I do to get on the floor and play,'” Rivers said. “That’s what I’ve done. For me, it was just like, ‘I’m just gonna find what it takes to get on the floor.’ That’s what my whole concern was, and help the team win, that’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

This season Rivers has yet to take half of the 166 shots he took a year ago. He’s averaging just 3.6 points per game and his rebounding numbers are even down from 4.3 per game last year to 3.0 this year.

But Crean said that isn’t how he should be measured.

“I’ve said this all year,” Crean said. “You can never look at the stat sheet and see his value. You’ve gotta look at so many of the other qualities. The turnovers that he causes. The deflections that he gets. The responsibilities that he has in guarding different people. Understanding where people are supposed to be, and when he can really just lock in and use the talent that he has, the skills that he has, and the mindset that he’s developing, that’s when he’s at his best. I think that was the most important thing for him and for us is to get him in a role that he could absolutely flourish in. There were some times this year that he has. There’s been other times that he hasn’t. I think that’s what’s most important, and I think he can finish it that way.”

After he is finished, Rivers said he has a few options. He wants to take an NBA shot, and he obviously has an in in the league with his father, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers. But he said he also has a budding music career. He’s learning how to produce hip-hop songs and can make his own beats. He said he’s been in discussions with record companies about joining with them when basketball is over.

AUDIO: Tom Crean Part 1

AUDIO: Tom Crean Part 2

AUDIO: Kory Barnett discusses Jeremiah Rivers’ senior day

AUDIO: Jeremiah Rivers reflects on his career.

10 comments

  1. Rivers is a classy kid who has handled the pressure of rebuilding very well. Very courageous of him to man up, put his head down, and play basketball these last few years.

    I had the pleasure of sitting near him at a local restaurant a few weeks ago as he dined with his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. Seemed like a well-spoken guy who was humble despite his fed-with-a-silver-spoon background.

    Best of luck to him in the future.

  2. I really give this kid a lot of credit. He was out of position last year and came back this year and played a role important to the team. He seemed to play hard even though he was in a complete different position from last year. I didnt hear him complain and he went out and did the best job he could! For that he will be successful in whatever he chooses in life! It show he has a lot of moxie even when change must be made – whether he liked it or not he played hard! Good man

  3. He is a classy guy. He has had unjustified criticism heaped upon him and he never seemed to flinch. I don’t know if he has an offensive game that will transcend to the pros but I hope he does well wherever he goes.

  4. I have nothing but respect, admiration and gratitude for this man. I am sure that Doc Rivers well knows that his biggest accomplishment in life was not coaching in the NBA and taking the Celtics to the tile. These were a distant second to having raised a son of Jeremiah’s quality.

    And, I hope Coach Crean really understands how much his present and future players should feed off their experience sharing the uniform with Jeremiah Rivers. Proud to have you as a Hoosier.

  5. Interesting TTG will tear down people for their opinions on this blog and talk nicely about a kid that has not lived up to his hype and is a whiner on the court.

  6. What hype IU 99? Hype that IU fans put on him. We knew what we were getting when he transferred from G-Town. He has never been a scorer. Very classy kid, nothing but respect for JR and his family.

  7. I’m coming out of posting retirement simply to give props to Jeremiah and the effort he’s given to the team, especially during this transfer year and this season. A guy with his bloodlines (including his younger brother) and Georgetown background probably set much higher goals for himself on the court (in terms of PT, scoring, assists, etc.), but he’s embraced the defensive stopper/calming effect (though he can battle plenty when needed!!) role to a T. Can’t thank him enough for his senior leadership on a team that’s needed it for 3 years running.

  8. IU 99, get a life.

    Jeremiah, you’ve done your best in a tough situation. For that we thank you and hope that when you come back to visit ‘the old alma mater,’ happier days and more wins will greet you.

    The best of luck to you wherever life takes you from here.

  9. Thank you Jeremiah for your contributions to IU basketball. I wish you much luck at whatever you move into next. To you negative folks… go “censored” yourselves.

  10. Happen to pass by this article and read the comments..I’m a sports fan, yet an interested bystander in the IU world, but I commend the young fella for his character as well….& more so I commend the IU fans that have left classy comments about J. Rivers….You guys have kept it real and reminded me of my College days when you supported those who wore your school’s colors and gave their all…despite their point totals….– IU 99 hateration looks good on you…. This kid never had hype…I think I have, however, seen some hype about his younger brother.

Comments are closed.