IU’s lone senior, Jeremiah Rivers, will step on McCracken Court in Assembly Hall for the final time tonight.
The Indiana Daily Student caught up with Rivers as he reflected on his past with the Hoosiers and looked to his future after college. ?
IDS: When you first transferred from Georgetown in 2008, you spent a 6-25 season sitting on the bench. Did you ever think, “What did I get myself into?”
RIVERS: Never. I knew it’d be a different opportunity for me. I definitely came from a winning program. I only lost six games my whole career there, so obviously it was different. But at the same time, I felt like it was something I needed and it’s been a blessing. It’s been a journey. My whole college career has been a journey. There have been ups, downs, highs and lows, but at the end of the day, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m definitely happy standing here as a man.
IDS: Coach Tom Crean talked about how when you first came to IU, you had some academic issues. What were the problems there?
RIVERS: My credits didn’t transfer, and I was in a crazy hole. I had to put ungodly hours in school my first semester here. I had to do 18 hours first semester, 18 second semester and then I had to do six or maybe nine in the summer. I was just doing a crazy amount of hours, at least for a college athlete. I know some people do 18 like it’s nothing, but for me it was just a constant grind.
IDS: What will be your lasting memory of playing at IU?
RIVERS: All the shared memories with my teammates. All the things we’ve enjoyed in the locker room and on and off the court. It’s been real special for me to have such a close relationship with each player here. We have countless memories of laughs and cries and the whole works.
IDS: On the flip side, has there been a bad memory you’ll never shake?
RIVERS: Just losing in general, it’s just tough. It definitely hurts, but I think it also helps you grow in a lot of ways. It helps you find out who you are as an individual and it helps you to see everybody else grow. Sometimes you’ve got to fall down before you rise.
IDS: What’s it been like being the guy who often defends the opposing team’s top scorer?
RIVERS: It’s always fun. It’s always challenging. I’ll be looking forward to doing the NBA workouts, and I’ll be guarding the same players. It’ll be the same type of deal. I’m looking forward to each and every challenge, day in and day out. Whether it’s in practice or it’s in the games. I feel like I’ve come a long way with my game on a lot of little things.
IDS: What do you see yourself doing after graduation this spring?
RIVERS: I’m just going to continue playing basketball. That’s what I do. If you love what you do, you’re not going to give up on it. After the season, I’m going to fly to Boston, sit down with my dad and have a talk about moving forward with basketball, about certain teams in the NBA, workouts and kind of go from there. If I do well, I do well. If not, just keep pursuing it.
IDS: What about coaching?
RIVERS: Oh yeah, later on. Probably not for another 15 years I would say. I’ve got some music things going on right now that’s making me a little money so I’m going to continue to go with that.
IDS: What music things do you have going on?
RIVERS: I produce it, so I distribute it to certain artists. Right now I’m in the works with Maybach music, which is Rick Ross’ company. I get signed on, and that’s going to be a big break. It’s looking good.
IDS: How did your college career go for you compared to how you thought it would coming out of high school?
RIVERS: Definitely different, that’s for sure. Completely different from what I was expecting. But at the same time, a part of me is very humbled and happy it went that way, just as far as my experience as a man and as the way I’ve grown, matured and a lot of the pain, suffering and hardships I’ve been through. It sets an example for the rest of your life moving forward in your future, inside and outside basketball. I feel like I’ll know how to go against the grain when things are tough.
IDS: Any preview of your speech you’d like to share?
RIVERS: My speech is going to be short and simple. I’m not going to give an Oscars speech or anything like that. I’m just going to definitely give my thanks out to the fans, my family, my teammates and friends — really just the people I love. Hopefully I’ll be real ecstatic from winning, so who knows what I’m going to say.
Rivers' IU career at a glance
Career points per game: 4.8
Career assists per game: 2.6?
Career shooting percentage: 43 percent?
Career minutes per game: 25
Career high points: 15, Dec. 22, 2009
Career high assists: 10, Nov. 28, 2009
Career high steals: 4, Jan. 24, 2010
Most improved stat from last season to this season: Free-throw percentage — went from 57.8 percent to 78.4 percent
*All stats compiled going into today’s Wisconsin game and account only for time at IU