Jeremiah Rivers signs to play in Serbia

Former Indiana guard Jeremiah Rivers said Wednesday that he’s signed six-month contract to play with KK Mega Visura, a team in the Serbia A League based in Belgrade.

Rivers said he worked out with 10 NBA teams before the NBA Draft, including the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks. He said the New York Knicks told his agent he was under consideration to be a second-round pick, but they eventually went with Kentucky forward Josh Harrellson.

Rivers said he believed he would’ve had an opportunity to try to play in the NBA Summer League or to get an invite to a training camp, but his concerns about the NBA lockout made him decide it wasn’t a good idea to wait. Rivers, whose father Doc is the head coach at the Boston Celtics, has a better understanding than most graduating college players of the labor situation, and he doesn’t see a quick resolution.

“The whole lockout thing, it’s a mess,” Rivers said.  “It’s craziness right now. I think a majority of the rookies, even the first and second rounders are going overseas. And I think it’s just a matter of time before we hear about the big-time guys like Kobe (Bryant) and Amare (Stoudemire) going over there.”

Rivers sounded shaky about the idea of going overseas in March when he was asked about his basketball future, but he seems to have come around on the idea.

“I think it’s a good opportunity, not just for me the basketball player, but me the man,” he said. “Just being a human being and culturally experiencing something different at this point in my life.”

Europe is an interesting fit for Rivers, who developed a reputation as a strong man-to-man defender, but notoriously struggled on offense. He started at point guard as a junior at Indiana after transferring from Georgetown, but was moved into more of a supporting role as a senior because he was committing too many turnovers, he didn’t have much of a jump shot and he shot 57.8 percent from the free throw line. Considering that European teams tend to want their American players to be their top scorers, it would seem that Rivers would have a hard time sticking.

However, Rivers said he’s made a number of improvements in his offensive game since the season that he was able to show in events like the Portsmouth Invitational and his NBA workouts. He’s been working with an offensive coach in Florida, and he said now that he’s out of school, he’s been able to work out with his father more this summer than he ever has before.

“It’s more of a mental thing to get back to a certain way or a certain confidence and feeling every time I take a jump shot,” Rivers said. “One thing that was really holding me back. I was using too much upper body, I wasn’t relaxed. It’s a longer process than you think it is. It takes a while build up repetition. I wouldn’t say I’m there yet, but it’s so much more improved than it was at the ned of the season. I’ve been hitting threes and mid-range jump shots. I’m being more aggressive. It’s really it just takes time. I wanted it to happen the next day, we all wanted it to happen faster, but sometimes it doesn’t workout. But I’m very satisfied with where I’m at right now.”

 

3 comments

  1. Dobro došli u Srbiju, Jeremiah! (Welcome to Serbia!) My homeland is a much different place than the States, but I am sure Jeremiah will see that Serbs are a fun people who love their basketball. Just stay away from those Serbian girls and the rich foods; you may never want to come back here.

  2. Sorry, I like the kid, but if his dad wasnt Doc, there is ZERO chance he would be “considered” in the draft, let alone the 2nd round??? I wish him the best in Europe.

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