Rivers No Longer Shies Away From Dad's Shadow

Bloomington – Jeremiah Rivers has come to realize there's no escaping the shadow of his father. After steering clear of playing for Tom Crean at his father's alma mater two years ago, Rivers didn't shy away from Crean a second time around. Rivers talks about his IU decision...

Bloomington – Jeremiah Rivers has come to realize there's no escaping the shadow of his father.

When the 6-4, 205-pounder originally signed with Georgetown coming out of high school, he passed on the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of his father, Doc Rivers, and play at Marquette. Jeremiah had known then-Marquette Coach Tom Crean for nearly 10 years and developed a strong relationship, but he shied away from playing at his father's alma mater.

"That was the ultimate factor in my not going to play for Coach Crean at Marquette in the first place," Rivers said. "Otherwise I would have been there."

What Rivers found out at Georgetown, though, was that there were going to be expectations and attention thanks to his roots no matter where he played. So when he came to the decision after his sophomore season to leave the Hoyas in pursuit of more playing time and more freedom, he wasn't hesitant about playing for Crean a second time around.

"The shadow of being Doc Rivers' son, that's going to be with me for the rest of my life," Rivers said. "I have to overcome that and deal with it. I've realized that whether I'm at Marquette, Georgetown, Florida, Georgia Tech, it's always going to be with me."

That realization helped convince Rivers that Indiana was the right fit for him, picking IU over Georgia Tech and Central Florida. He'll sit out the 2008-09 season as a transfer and then have two years of eligibility remaining.

"It had a tough decision between IU, UCF and Georgia Tech," Rivers said. "With Indiana, I just liked the history of the school and the environment. I've only visited there one time in my life (during an unofficial visit two weeks ago), but I liked the atmosphere, the education I can get, and it just seems like a really good fit for me."

He also appears to be a very good fit for Indiana. While his sophomore season averages of 2.5 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 18.6 minutes are modest, he's expecting to do a whole lot more in all areas with the Hoosiers. One of the biggest reasons is that he's counting on having a great deal more freedom to show off his skills than he had for the Hoyas.

"Freedom is an understatement - I'm looking forward to being able to go out and play basketball," Rivers said. "Not that I wasn't playing basketball at Georgetown, but it wasn't for me. Nothing against them. I had two good years there, we won and everything. But I want to be happy on the court and enjoy what I do and do what I do best. I wasn't able to use my skills and talents."

Rivers was one of two players to depart the Hoyas program at the end of the season, along with Vernon Macklin. Macklin announced earlier this month that he was transferring to Florida after averaging 3.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 12.8 minutes on a Georgetown team that went 28-6. But like Rivers, Macklin was looking for a chance to do more than Coach John Thompson III was willing to provide.

"Honestly, a lot of kids would be happy with my situation at Georgetown, playing 20-25 minutes per game, finishing most games at the end," Rivers said. "A lot would be satisfied with that, but not me."

That led him to Indiana, where he expects to run the show as the team's point guard beginning in 2009.

"I can come in and run the team as a true point guard," Rivers said. "I wasn't able to show a lot of my skills and talents at Georgetown. I'll come in, be a leader, run the team, penetrate. You'll all see soon."

He's coming into the Hoosier program at one of its most challenging times. The Hoosiers have only two scholarship players returning from last year's squad, and Crean has had to scramble to get the team's scholarship number up to nine with Rivers' recent decision.

But what others might see as a situation to stay away from, Rivers sees as an opportunity to be part of something special.

"I know Indiana has been through some tough times the last year or two, but I think right now is the best time to be a part of it," Rivers said.

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