That’s A Wrap: Jeremiah Rivers

  • 03/25/2011 2:45 pm in

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our attempt to make some sense of the 2010-11 season. Sit back. Relax. Grab some popcorn. Get your read on. Today: Jeremiah Rivers.

Final Stats (32 games): 3.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.1 spg, 45.8% FG, 75.0% FT in 22.4 minutes per game

Raise your hand if you had Jeremiah Rivers getting 19 starts during his final season in Bloomington. All of you with your hands up, put them down. You’re lying.

While many wrote Rivers off as an afterthought following a frustrating junior season where he was given the keys to run the IU offense, the senior from Winter Park, Florida bounced back and went out on a high note.

Rather than accepting a role coming off the bench, which is how he started the year, Rivers worked hard and earned his way back into the starting lineup. It was probably lost in the shuffle to the casual observer, but the maturity shown by Rivers and his improvement as the season moved along was a bright spot on this team.

Although his scoring, rebounding and assist averages were down due to a decrease in minutes, his field-goal percentage improved (from 40.4 percent as a junior to 45.8 percent as a senior) as did his free throw percentage (from 57.8 percent as a junior to 75 percent as a senior). The lift in both categories was significant given the limits of Rivers’ offensive game.

He was Indiana’s most reliable perimeter defender. He did have his share of rocky efforts in several of Indiana’s losses, but credit Rivers for a brilliant defensive effort on Demetri McCamey in the win over then-No. 20 Illinois on Jan. 27. McCamey shot just 2-of-11 and was hounded by the IU senior from start to finish. Evidence below:

Shining moment: The defensive lockdown on McCamey and 10 points, four rebounds and three assists in an 84-83 overtime loss at Michigan State on Jan. 30.

Bottom Line: On a team that played for pride down the stretch, Rivers deserves applause for fighting hard all the way until the final buzzer of the Big Ten Tournament. He was justifiably a target of criticism during much of his junior season, but he responded admirably to Tom Crean’s preseason notion that he’d have to “earn his way into minutes on this team” by doing just that.

Filed to:

  • Casey B.

    Appreciate his fight.

    But let’s be serious — in his senior year, he was about as good as a mediocre freshman.

    Kinda tired of hearing about how much Rivers and Pritchard improved, in all honesty.

    I know it’s not all about offense, but when you have two starters who average a whopping six points per game – combined – that’s pretty terrible.

    If it’s fair to knock Watford in the game he scored 30 because his defensive assignments scored more, then why isn’t a similar rule applied to Rivers?

    If he holds his man to 9 points but only scores 3, is he really making that much of a positive impact? I have a hard time saying yes.

  • Anonymous

    As unbearable as his offensive game was at times, you gotta appreciate this guys tenacity.

  • Anonymous

    Your shining moment is erroneous. McCamey plays for Illinois and IU won that game at home.

  • Casey B.

    He’s citing two separate games – one in which he locked down on McCamey, and another vs. Michigan State.

  • Anonymous

    I got it. Thanks. Sounds like he is saying his defense and offense in the Illinois game.

  • Defense in Illinois game and points, rebounds and assists at Michigan State.

  • Anonymous

    I get what you are saying but if Rivers averages 3-4 points a game and his man averages 18-20 a game and Rivers holds him to 8-10 points, then he did his job and helped the team. He flat out frustrated a few guys and caused a lot of turnovers this year, all while keeping his TO’s down from last year. We had guys who couldn’t guard my grandma, and we had guys who couldn’t put the ball in the hoop. Rivers (and The Pritch) didn’t score much but they did what they were asked to do usually, it just didn’t translate to too many wins. Admirable to leave Georgetown and come here under the circumstances.

  • You journalists (professional bloggers) and your disdain for the Oxford comma…

  • Anonymous

    lol. Yeah, it’s just kind of foggily written.

  • Updating the uniform would be a travesty.

  • Plane1972

    I’m with you. My traditionalist tendencies are loosening. I draw the line on the candy stripes, but I think we could use some update on the uni’s. We could take it slow and start with the road gear first if some are not ready for a full-on change.

  • MillaRed

    Just my opinion Casey, but that’s the past. This kid came to IU when we were rock bottom. Could have gone anywhere. Had ups and downs etc. But he was here. And for that I am thankful. I just want to send him off with a polite “thank you” for his efforts at this point.

  • Normally I don’t respond to many comments and you’re certainly entitled to your opinion, but to call Rivers “as good as a mediocre freshman” is an unnecessary slap in the face, IMO. He transferred to IU when the program was at rock bottom. From what I observed this year, he played just about as well as he could have, which is all you can ask for.

  • oldred1976

    I was somewhat disappointed that Coach didn’t use Jeremiah in a Box and one defense and use VO as his backup. I thought for sure it would have worked in the game against Boston College, maybe some other teams also. I realize it takes a certain amount of understanding of Gee I’ma Tree.
    Never the less Good luck Jeremiah and thanks for being a Hoosier!

  • Casey B.

    I’m not trying to be offensive, I’m simply trying to inject a dose of reality into the discussion. His numbers look similar to a freshman’s – that’s all I mean. If it came off as a personal attack, that wasn’t my intent. I certainly appreciate anyone who was willing to come here during that extremely low point. It’s the reason I’ve criticized the notion that anyone from that era should be pushed out the door. I’ve stood up for and appreciate all of those guys.

    My point is…I don’t think I’ve ever seen more guys with sub-5 ppg averages praised so highly as I have during this time at IU. Now, some of that is reflective of the state of the program, but some of it, in my opinion, is also reflective of our desire to scrounge up some sort of positivity out of all of this as opposed to what the numbers really tell us.

    By anyone’s standards, 3.8 ppg by a senior guard who starts 19 games is just not good. It just isn’t. You can sugarcoat his performance by saying he was a “lock down” defender all you want (which, he wasn’t always either), but my point is that his performance wasn’t anything I’d call praiseworthy or extraordinary.

    Watford gets roasted for his defense even though he goes out and scores 17 ppg. I guess I’m just seeing a double standard there. If it’s OK for some guys’ only functions to be defense (Rivers, Pritchard), while putting up dreadful offensive stats, then why isn’t OK for some guys’ roles to be simply to score? So many problems with this team were due to having one-sided players, and I just think it’s a bit odd to praise Rivers as a defensive specialist who shouldn’t be looked to for scoring, and then turn and call Watford out for doing essentially the exact same on the other side of the ball. It doesn’t add up.

    I find it kind of odd that of all the comments, this is the one you respond to, though. What about the incessant “Capo and Elston should be told to transfer” discussions that seem to run rampant at times? I find those more offensive and insensitive than anything.

  • Casey B.

    Dude – it’s a retrospective. The whole point of this post is to take the opportunity to have a look back on the season. I’m just voicing my opinion.

    I have nothing against Rivers. I’m just saying in my opinion, his impact on this team has been way overblown. I appreciate his effort too.

  • I didn’t take it as a personal attack at all and said you were entitled to your opinion, just as everyone is here.

    As far as your thoughts on why Watford is criticized, I believe some of that has to do with the fact that it seems as if he doesn’t play hard all of the time and is immensely talented. And a lot of times that can be more frustrating to watch.

    Rivers’ role on the team wasn’t to try and score, so you can’t really fault him for only scoring 3.8 per game. He didn’t have the ball in his hands nearly as much as other players.

    And you’re right on the transfer stuff, which we’ve tried to police as much as possible. Unfortunately I can’t read every comment as closely as I’d like, but I encourage people to flag comments deemed to be offensive so we’re able to look at those more closely.

  • IUeconAlum

    Don’t mess with perfection.

  • Casey B.

    Fair enough. No doubt Watford’s ceiling is much higher, so I can understand some of the frustration stemming from the notion that he isn’t playing his hardest. An interesting thought, nonetheless.

    I guess my main point is simply that I feel we overstate Rivers’ overall impact a lot. My point about his ppg average isn’t that his role should’ve been to score, but rather that I just have a hard time supporting the argument that someone with that low of an average can have as profound an effect on games as it’s often made to seem Rivers did.

    As you even conceded, he had several games in which his defense, for one reason or another, was not there. From a performance and results standpoint, that’s kind of a big deal. “Several” games are the difference between a postseason team and a non-postseason team (not to say any losses were solely his fault; not at all).

    Now, his effort, particularly this season, isn’t what I’m questioning. I don’t think I ever perceived him as not trying or slacking. For that, and his willingness to transfer to a team in much worse shape than Georgetown, I’m thankful and appreciative.

  • IUeconAlum

    Good luck in the future Jeremiah. Once a Hoosier always a Hoosier.

  • Casey B.

    And as far as the transfer comments, it’s tough to draw the line between what’s inappropriate and what’s simply someone’s opinion. It’s more a difference in philosophy than it is anyone intentionally taking swipes at players.

    But I do believe that the “you chose to join the Hoosiers when were in the dumpster, and we’ll support you when you struggle as well” attitude is one that should be applied to and employed with all of our guys – even Capo, Elston and Roth.

    If Rivers gets that treatment, so should the rest, people.

  • ldiu

    I often wondered if CTC didn’t recruit JR with the hope of getting his younger brother. We lost on both ends. I wish him the very best with his future.

  • I believe he recruited him hard while he was at Marquette.

  • We updated the uniforms this last season. If you saw the 2010-2011 uni’s next to 2009-2010’s, you would notice that the Indiana across the chest is smaller and in a slightly different font.

    I like pretty much everything about our uni’s and shoes. I don’t really care that some of the dudes wear different shoes. They’re all pretty similar, all of them being Adidas, of course.

    I wouldn’t mind us changing our warmups and losing the short sleeve Bowling Style shirt with Indiana on the back in Cursive, and i wouldn’t be opposed if we lost the Candy Stripes. I mean they’re cool, but i think change is good.

  • JerryCT

    Rivers won games for us with his rebounds, defense and loose balls. In fact without him I doubt we win any B10 games this year. Perhaps the most glaring example was last year’s Minn game when he took over the defense on Joseph to win the game.

    SInce defense is 65% of the game citing offensive stats is a weak case for those wanting to be critical.

    His conversion from leader at the point to coming off the bench, from poor foul shooter to among our best was remarkable.

  • Bryan

    I think in his junior season, Jeremiah tried really hard to be the guy he always wanted to be, but was forced to face some cold realities in his game. Some people pack it in at that point, but I applaud him for accepting what he was good at, and what he could contribute to the team, and working hard to earn back his playing time this season.

    He was a key guy in during the bright spot in the Big Ten season, and I wonder how things would have been different had the Michigan State game gone our way. He still played hard afterwards, but he didn’t seem quite like the same guy after the Spartans forced overtime.

    Thanks for signing on with this outfit Jeremiah. Leaving a Final Four team to help with a reconstruction effort could not have been an easy decision, but IU definitely benefited from your presence.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Getting ready to watch Yogi on TV then head down tonight to watch Cody play in the 3A game and the hometown Kokomo Wildkats play in the 4A title game! Great basketball day!

    On a side note . . . congratulations to coach McCauley at Kokomo High School. He probably doesn’t remember playing against me (small school) or even with me (1 AAU season), but I remember him and I’m not surprised at all he has the Wildkats back in the title game! He’s a great coach and really knows the game of basketball. Kokomo better hope he loves high school BB because he’s definitely the type coach who could step up to the college ranks and be successful if he chose to do so. Congratulations once again, Brian.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    That’s a good point. It’s a plus or minus thing. If you hit your average (even if it is only 3) but you hold a guy 8-10 points below his average, then it’s an 8-10 point swing in your team’s favor.

    Nice work.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    When coaches and players talk about recruits coming to IU, they always say something like, “We want guys in the ‘candy stripes’ who wanna . . .”.

    I’m fine with many changes, but the candy stripes are IU basketball!

  • Diesel

    Played against McCauley once in an open gym, the guy can still ball too.

  • Casey B.

    I see what you’re saying, but that’s also kind of a tricky stat.

    I guess I’m just seeing inconsistency in how players are valued. When Watford scored 30, he was still criticized for giving up a lot of points. In that instance, the logic being used is that what matters most is INDIVIDUAL plus/minus – that if the net value of a singular matchup is not in IU’s favor, that player didn’t help the team. Even though he scored a career high, it was labeled a faliure; a bad effort.

    But when we look at Rivers, we then choose to look at the effect of his performance from a wider scale. If you use the “Watford Principle,” Rivers came out on the negative end of his individual matchup almost every single game.

    That’s where I’m struggling. We’re not assessing performances with consistency. We want to like Rivers, so we find a way to argue his impact was positive. We want to blame Watford, so we find a way to spin a 30-point performance as a failure.

  • Anonymous

    I played against McCauley in HS too. My wife went to HS with him, and was friends with him all through school. The guy is a total gym rat! Would show up one hour before school in August to shoot FTs and 3s.

    A lot of people don’t know it, but his 1st year at Kokomo, he pulled a CTC and kicked about half the roster off the team, because they wouldn’t buy into his program goals. His first year, they were AWFUL! One of the worst season’s in Kokomo’s history. Obviously, his gameplan worked very well, though, as he has won two consecutive NCC titles, 2 sectionals in 3 years and is now in the state title game. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

    Also, Aceman, if I know Brian like I think I do, I guarantee he would remember you if you played with him!

  • Does everyone want names on the back too? Or maybe just pictures of each players face on the front. CTC talked about how he wants players who know why we wear the candy stripes and the button down warm-ups.

    IU is a team, a tradition, not just a stepping stone to the NBA (pUKe, OSU). I would be sick if we instituted the baggy shorts down almost to your shoes. I know its just my opinion, but i hate the new uniforms that every other team wears.

    I know Im ranting now, but its not because Im an ‘old timer’ who is stuck in the golden years. As a 22 year old I love the tradition of my state.

  • Anonymous

    If you watch the 4A game tonight, one kid who doesn’t get much pub at all is Balentine from Kokomo. He isn’t a high-major talent, but he has a pretty shot. He has a really good shot at making the Junior all-stars, and considering the talent statewide in that class, he must be pretty solid!

  • Anonymous

    I think CTC meant that he wanted players who understand the storied tradition that IU has. The reason that the candy stripes mean something is because we can look back at the ’76, ’81 and ’87 teams and see them wearing those pants. The pants themselves mean nothing. Tradition is what makes them special.

    Being a player at IU and running onto the court at Assembly Hall wearing the candy stripes is a privilege. You are running on the court where Benson, May, Turner, Thomas, Alford and Cheaney played and won championships. If that doesn’t mean anything to you as a recruit, I don’t think CTC wants you here. It isn’t about the pants; it is about what they stand for.

    If we got rid of the candy stripes, it wouldn’t tarnish our tradition at all. Personally, I hope they don’t get rid of them. I think they are retro-cool!

    I think recruits want to play for IU for lots of different reasons. I don’t think the style of our warmups has much bearing (if any) on their decisions, though.

  • Anonymous

    I personally want to love Watford, and at times I do. I think it’s more likely to be the result of most people realizing not everyone has the skill to score 30, but defense and rebounding are mostly effort stats. When you’re frequently torched by your man or you’re 6’9″ and don’t rebound people tend to think you aren’t giving 100%.

  • Anonymous

    Yes. You are the only one.

  • InTheMtns

    There’s not really a need to update the candy stripes into something amazing — they already are amazing. Personally, I love the tradition.

  • InTheMtns

    There’s not really a need to update the candy stripes into something amazing — they already are amazing. Personally, I love the tradition.

  • Casey B.

    Totally. I think Watford’s issues stem more from his lack of “the mindset” Crean is hoping for and less from a lack of desire.

  • MPmike

    I still can’t understand why River’s brother is the number #1 player in coming out of high school, his father was a great college player and good NBA player and now coach, but J. Rivers is a medicore college basketball player at best. I thought he had a better junior season. He did not improve on last year.