That’s A Wrap: Jeremiah Rivers

  • 03/24/2010 7:32 am in

Jimmy V ClassicWelcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our attempt to um, wrap up the 2009-10 season. Sit back. Relax. Grab some popcorn. Get your read on.

Final Stats (31 games): 6.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.3 spg, .6 bpg, 40.4 % FG, 56.7% FT, 2.8 tpg.

There are expectations. And then there’s reality.

So it went for Jeremiah Rivers in his first on-court season at Indiana.

The expectations: He’s a coach’s kid. And as a coach’s kid, he’s supposed to be fundamentally sound, supposed to have a heightened feel for the game.

He’d transferred from Georgetown, and was part of their Final Four team. He may not have shown much offensive moxie, but that was of no matter: he could defend, possessed athleticism, and most important, he was the ballhandler the Hoosiers were lacking during their woeful 2008-09 campaign.

During the open scrimmage before that season, attendees praised Rivers as far and away the best talent on the court.

To quote the tired rallying cry of the Cubs, it was wait till next year on Rivers, when he was eligible to play.

Next year arrived this season. And it produced far different results than many expected. Instead of being the calming, mature presence IU needed, Rivers had the highest turnover percentage (a staggering 21.6 percent) out of himself, Verdell Jones (13.4 percent) and Jordan Hulls (14.8 percent), the primary ballhandlers.

He was oftentimes out of control and erratic. And lacking a high-percentage jumper, defenses could sag a bit on him, negating his ability to take it to hole. His free-throw percentage was a paltry 56.7 percent. He attempted five threes this season, and made none of them.

Yet, every once and a while, Rivers would dart to the basket for a pretty two or throw an on-point pass to a teammate for a score.

And lest we forget, Rivers is an above-average rebounder at the guard position and a solid on-ball defender. This is of value to any team.

When Crean decided to stop starting Rivers the last two games of the season against Northwestern, the team seemed to have its head on a bit straighter, instead of being out of the game from the start.

There’s still a way to find a niche for Rivers next season off the bench. If used right, he brings some solid attributes to the table. But as far as that calming presence many expected?

That ship seems to have sailed.

Filed to:

  • Will

    Rivers is horrible. I am not sure how anybody could watch him play and think he has any shot to contribute. Crean could go to the HPER, recruit a good intramural player and that guy would hurt the team less then Rivers. My main problem with Rivers is that he carries himself like he is a stud and he is so far from that its not even funny.

  • marcusgresham

    Here's hoping (and it's a faint glimmer I'm afraid,) that Rivers is the kind of person who gets angered enough by the criticism to decide to bust his can all summer to improve to show everyone they've been wrong about him. Hoping……

  • psvirsky

    While he may have been a disappointment, there's definitely still hope for him. Maybe with Roth and Creek back we'll have enough shooters that he'll feel okay not forcing the issue and just dishing after his drives. Well, that, and I hope he takes several hundred 15 foot jumpers a day. If he can stop and pop from mid-range, things would get a lot easier for him.

  • I don't know who disappointed me more this season Pritchard or Rivers.

  • JerryCT

    The early season JR was much different than the late season JR. His attitude tanked late but his FT% improved alot………..go figure.

    I would like to think Hulls, Jones, Creek can get over the top of ball screens next year. If not there is no way JR should sit the bench . Why ? Becasue he is our best perimeter defender and rebounder from this position which triggers our transition offense in which Creek completely thrives.

  • valpohistory

    He needs to take a hard look in the mirror. He has all the talent in the world: athletic, quick, good leaping ability/rebounding and he really is an excellent ball handler (and I use that term loosely and more geared toward the ability to get the ball up the floor against pressure). The decision making has to improve as well as his shooting or else he will not have a spot in the rotation for long. The players below him are going to only get better and if he wants to see the floor, he needs to work this summer. If he improves, he could easily become who everyone thought we were getting, however, we all thought we were getting this same JR when he transferred from GT. Rivers is athletic enough that he could go to the league, but not with the way that he makes mistakes over and over. If he straightens his head out, AND I MEAN IF!!!!!!!!!!!!, he really could be a ball player. The Rivers we had at the beginning of the season, we see him next year, we could be a much improved team.

  • valpohistory

    Agreed 100%. If he really works at his game, I don't see why JR can't be the leader we thought we were getting. He cuts down on TO's, keeps shooting free throws well (as he did at the end of the season, not the 50 some % he shot as the whole season), and drives to the hoop more with a more developed jumper, he really could be our point guard we thought we were getting.

    As for the ball screen comment, absolutely. My personal guess, is that Rivers is a proud player, and that he works his tail off and starts for us next year. Just a prediction. I feel like he will just have his role adjusted. None of the three from Hulls, Jones, and Creek are talented enough to guard a Manny Harris, an Evan Turner, or even and Etwaun Moore. Creek, possibly, but not Hulls or VJ. And, all three of them aren't good enough rebounders that they can rely on them to start the transition game that you eluded to in your post. Unless CTC decided to run a zone permanently, there is no way that he could sit JR most of the time. If Rivers didn't improve anything else this offseason, which is highly unlikely, he would get a lot of minutes for that reason only.

    Also, I have a question. Was it just me, or looking at this seasons schedule, the games that we played outstanding in, ala Maryland, Pitt, Kentucky (granted Creek was on fire too), and Michigan, and the two games against Illinois….. Rivers stepped up big time and led the team on the court. That is probably the type of leadership that we are really going to need from him. We've seen it and I feel like that's the reason that people are so rough on him. It's frustrating to see him play so well against some of these better teams but then he completely folds some games.

  • oldsportsdude

    I just hope as Rivers goes into next season we do not have another Devan Dumes problem. What I mean I hope that Rivers when inserted into the game does not get desperate knowing his time is running out on his career. He certainly was disappointing. Hopefully since he is a coaches kid he works on his game this summer and improves.

  • 47250HoosierFan

    hey JR, just go back and watch every possesion of yours from every game last year and you will see why you hit the bench late, make those adjustments and you will be fine…no need to force the issue next year we will have some shooters for you to get the rock to! Have a great summer!

  • MillaRed

    Sorry guys I just don't see it. A 4th year junior, son of an NBA head coach, Final Four veteran? If he doesn't get it by now, he never will. He had an entire off-season to reflect on who and what he would be for the Hoosiers this year. IMHO, he is the biggest dissapointment by a landside.

    I agree with Ryan, an on the ball defender that can rebound, but cannot shoot and makes mental mistakes? That is the 2nd or 3rd guy off the bench. Not a starter.

    The last straw for me was when JR started getting on his teammates after he clearly through the ball to San Francisco. I really hope he proves me wrong, but I just don't see the kid taking IU to another level next season.

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    Yes, yes, yes, we know Jeremiah has potential and needs some work. Everyone here is right. Now, what happened with the Moses visit? Did he come down from Mt. Sinai with two stone tablets? Passover is just around the corner!

  • HoosierCrabbe

    Jeremiah Rivers was by far the most disappointing player this season. He's almost useless on the offensive end, and with his high turnover rate it's just bad news bears.

  • GFDave

    Rivers disappointed me too, much more than anybody else. I didn't like the way he played. He had a certain amount of arrogance that hadn't been earned and he also lacked possession-by-possession intensity. He couldn't seem to settle for making the simple play, especially when he got to the rim.

    I hope that hitting the pines at the end of the year got his attention. His off season hinges on taking shots and changing his attitude. I hope he hears it from his dad and/or somebody else from outside the program. The more voices the better. Crean can only say it so many times.

  • Sallad

    He's still here, actually. It's a two-day visit. The Indy Star had an update on it, but there obviously isn't much information at this point.

  • JerryCT

    I hope you are wrong too.

    When I saw the team in PR it was clear that the entire team was not able to play at the pace of JR. Creek seemed to be the only player who could stay w him on the break and it was a beautiful thing to watch our early blitz of OleMiss. CTC also stated for another month afterward that the team was struggling to keep pace w JR when he pushes it. I think when Creek went down he lost his only consistent buddy on the break.

    His game disintegrated from early season . I think we will see the early season JR next year.

    If however you think playing weak perimeter defense is helping our offense or will result in winning games or help us come back from deficits you are wrong. I would rather play JR, Olapido w Creek on the break than Jones, Hulls because we would be more likely to get a stop, a rebound and a break for Creek to get a pop…………….unless of course Jones and hulls can handle the screens next year.

  • There's no formal update at this point. If anything concrete comes out on the visit, we'll certainly pass it along.

  • MillaRed

    As far as this season went Jerry, it didn't matter what JR brought on defense if the other 4 guys on the floor weren't getting it done. Most of JRs apologists note his defense but let me remind you……

    I cannot count on two hands the number of times JR threw the ball directly to a defender resulting in a fast break layup. He throws the ball away consistently. I cannot overlook these horrible flaws and give the guy a starting nod because he can hold Etwaunne Moore to 10 points instead of 16. It isn't enough. Throw in his attitude problem and I'm feeling pretty good about my stance.

    I hope I am VERY wrong. All I am saying is I just don''t see it.

  • MillaRed


  • Bryan

    Did Rivers disappoint compared to the guy he was at Georgetown, or the hype that started to surround him before the season started? There were a lot of mighty projections for the kid being thrown around, based on him seeing more minutes at IU, playing his style of ball, and adding his experience at Georgetown.

    Well, in hindsight, perhaps he was erratic because he never really got a chance to play his preferred style of play at the collegiate level, and this was the first year he had to try that out? With the Hoyas, he pretty much functioned as a defensive guard, and brought the ball up slowly so that they could set up the Princeton offense and get Roy Hibbert the ball, and was rarely asked to shoot.

    In this season, he was a solid defensive guard, who had trouble at times doing the more uptempo things we wanted him to do, but had never really done before against quality competition. Almost as though he was better at things he'd actually done at Georgetown, and rusty at stuff he hadn't. Hmm…

  • MillaRed

    I'm not sure we were watching the same basketball team this season.

    His preferred style of basketball? What does that have to do with making 3rd grade turnovers 5 times a game? The preferred style on this level is not be make terrible decisions game in and game out. Princeton offense or not.

    I understand he is wearing an IU uniform and there has to be some level of support here. But I find JR's backers at times absolutely mind-boggling. He was the worst point guard in the Big Ten by the numbers, lack of leadership and attitude.

  • marcusgresham

    He had 3 stone tablets, but he dropped one—I saw it in “History of the World: Part I”

  • MillaRed

    Rivers – IU – 6 ppg, 4.3 rb, 3.4 ass, 2.8 TO
    McCamey – Illinois – 15 ppg, 3.5 rb, 7 ass, 3.4 TO
    Payne – Iowa – 8.7 ppg, 3 rb, 3.8 ass, 3.2 TO
    Lucas Perry – Mich – 4.8 ppg, 1.6 rb, 1.7 ass, 0.9 TO
    Lucas – Mich St – 15 ppg, 1.9 rb, 4 ass, 2.4 TO
    Joseph – Minn – 9.4 ppg, 2.9 rb, 3.0 ass, 1.9 TO
    Thompson – NW – 14.2 ppg, 1.9 rb, 4.1 ass, 1.7 TO
    Turner- Ohio St – let’s not go there
    Battle – Penn St – see above
    Kramer – Purdue – 6.7 ppg, 3.0 rb, 2.3 ass, 1.4 TO
    Hughes – Wi – uhhh, not going there

    The thing that jumps out at me about JR in terms of expectations are his pedigree, his off-season and his great athletic ability. It jsut didn't add up. If he was such a great defender, why was he nowhere to be found in the post-season accolades?

    The numbers above reflect a lot. Michigan and Purdue really didn't have a true point guard. Many of the others were underclassmen without “Doc” in the backyard teaching the basics.

    Sorry if this is so brutal but last season left a bad taste in my mouth and JR had a lot to do with it.

  • HoosierChan77

    JR needs to be one of our “hustle” guys . If he would accept that role (u know do all the dirty work defend,rebound dive on the floor) then the Hoosier Nation would love this kid. Take my advice JR and good luck!

  • JerryCT

    Good legwork……I love to see the stats. What we are missing here however are all the defensive items like blks, steals, deflections, 50/50 balls , taking other players out of their game etc. Since we never get those we have to rely on our impressions which makes for all the nice arguing that makes you and this site a helluva lot of fun

  • MillaRed

    For the record Jerry, JR averaged 1 steal per game. I would say he probbaly blocked more shots than any PG in the BT but usually after he gave up the ball himself.

    If there is one stat that we should concentrate on it's the one Ryan already posted. a 21% turnover ratio? You have to be kidding me.

    Once out of every five times JR touched the ball last season, he turned it over. OUCH!

    Did I say OUCH? OUCH!

  • Bryan

    My point wasn't “was he a Big Ten quality starting point guard.” I don't really believe it, and your rant about JR defenders can be saved for someone who cares about that fight. My point was “were we disappointed in his play because we expected him to be something he hadn't shown in previously at the D-I level.” I say this because there was a lot of talk last year about “here comes Rivers, he's gonna get minutes here, he's worked on his game by himself for a year, he'll enjoy playing uptempo, and here were go.”

    What he turned out to be, shockingly, was a guy who could play D, and had trouble running an offense. In other words, the same freaking player that suited up for the Hoyas for two seasons.

    As for pedigree – dude was only a 3 star recruit when he came out. What kind of pedigree is that? There are also other coaches and NBA players sons that don't quite measure up. Tell me how great Jeffery and Marcus Jordan are, or find the bronze statue of Saul Smith at Kentucky. All of that stuff means crap, but it apparently turned Rivers into a world beater after one redshirt season.

  • MillaRed

    Fair enough. So let's discuss your point.

    “were we disappointed in his play because we expected him to be something he hadn't shown in previously at the D-I level.”

    I am not sure what he did at Georgetown honestly. Were we expecting him to start and get more minutes? I would say yes. Were we expecting him to play completely out of control and be the worst shooting guard in the Big Ten? I think not.

    So if you want to summarize this by saying Rivers is who he was at Georgetown then so be it. But that argument suggests there is no improvement for D-1 basketball players between their SO and JR seasons, in particular with an entire off-season in between transfers to work even harder. Especially when as you put it, “He was out of his element in a Princeton offense feeding Hibbert.”

    Your point is valid honestly. I think what ate at me was his attitude and his demeanor as if he was “all that” etc. when clearly he wasn't.

    As far as Pedigree goes, I am talking more of an ability to coach up a kid and be a heady basketball player. I am not expecting Doc re-created.

  • tg1438

    Not defending the kid at all, because he disappointed me this year too, but the amount of zone IU played this year probably took some of the looks for the defensive team away that he may have gotten.

    My hope is that with more athletic guards next year (healthy Creek, VO, Sheehey), and the guards we have this year IU will be able to run more, wihch allows JR to run more. Also with better shooters next year (healthy Creek, Hulls, Jones, Roth) the lane will be more open for him to penetrate and kick or get all the way to the basket. The improvements should allow for a more versatile offense, with different mixtures of players.

    My big thing with JR those is when he does attack the basket just shoot a nice little floater, or a layup, or dunk the darn thing. Stop the fancy up and under dipsy doo stuff. Way less athletic guards have shown you can effectively get to the basket and score (Coverdale did it pretty well).

  • MillaRed

    I share in your hope TG. Am I too hard on JR? Maybe so. At the end of the day he is a Hoosier. And for that I need to get behind him. Since I am there, why not give him a push?

    Thing is, I think he could be better with a few tweaks here and there. Perhaps that is my frustration. He is underachieving?

    Anyway, I made my point. I'm rooting for him too. But if I see him toss another floater to a defending small forward 3 times a game next season my heads gonna pop.

  • JerryCT

    Thanks to you I had to look into the stats. The facts show JR shot better than Jones, Watford, Dumes and the same as Hulls………..I would not have guessed that from all the comments. In fact if you and Ryan want to sit JR then you are sitting down our:

    1. team leader in assists
    2. 2nd leading rebounder
    3. team leader in steals
    4. 2nd in blocked shots
    5. tied w Hulls for shooting % at guard ( for 31 game season )
    6. Did not lead the team in TO's , that dubious distinction goes to Jones

    Why not sit a guard who had:

    1. less than 1/2 the assists w 1/2 the TO's as well
    2. ranked about last in rebounds
    3. less than 1/2 the steals
    4. exactly “0” blocked shots
    5. about the same pts/gm
    6. shot no better %

    I did not like JR's apparent attitude toward season end but the facts show we would have been alot worse w/o him .

  • MillaRed

    My goodness Jerry. I was surprised to see this from a savvy ITH guy like yourself. You are really looking inside the numbers. But dude, come on.

    He was a good rebounder because our team clanked at a 30% clip. He had many opportunities.

    Verdell shot probably 5-6 times more, and with a hand in his face because JR couldn't penetrate and kick worth a crap.

    Comparing anything about him to Hulls, Watford and VIII is truly an injustice.

    I have beat this topic to death. Sorry ITH fans. Didn't mean to get under anyones skin. I just think the kid was a bad influence on the team and an integral part of that long losing streak.

  • hoya fan

    Georgetown fan here. He was always horrendous on offense. Blaming the gtown system was just a convenient excuse, but in reality he just has no offensive skills.

    Transferring to IU rather than accept that he was getting the playing time he deserved seems like a reflection on his attitude (which others have noted). Rather than stay and work incredibly hard to improve his game, he tried to take the easy route, blame others, and try to get playing time he hadn't earned.

  • MillaRed

    Very interesting, but not at all surprising. You basically reflect on everything IU fans learned the hard way this year. Thanks for your input.