Bloomington – The good news is that Devon Dumes has identified a player in early workouts who's impressed him as much as anyone.
The bad news is that player can't play this fall.
Jeremiah Rivers has only been on the Bloomington campus for about three weeks, having spent the better part of the off-season traveling with the Boston Celtics and his father, Celtics Coach Doc Rivers. His attention has now turned from the Celtics' championship run to helping build a winner in Bloomington, and the Georgetown transfer already had Dumes and the other members of the team taking notice during open gym.
"We had a box out, someone missed it, and (Rivers) screamed from way down there," said Dumes, motioning to the other end of Assembly Hall. "I didn't even know he was in here. It feels like you're always on the clock with him."
Rivers know he'll have to make just about all of his contributions this season with his words instead of his actions. He'll be learning right along with the other 11 newcomers during preseason workouts on the practice floor, but when the games start in November he'll be on the bench alongside Coach Tom Crean.
"I wish I could be out there more than anything," Rivers said. "I love basketball and I've been playing forever."
He won't be playing this year due to NCAA rules that require Division I transfers to sit out one season before resuming their playing careers. Rivers says he plans on taking the opportunity to spend plenty of time on his own game, but he'll also be tutoring some of the Hoosiers' younger players as well.
With two years of experience at Georgetown, Rivers is one of only three scholarship players on IU's roster who has ever played a minute of Division I basketball. He's looking to share his experiences and knowledge as best he can with his new teammates.
"I've been through a lot of places and won," Rivers said. "I've had success winning, averaging 15, 20, 25 minutes at certain times during the season. I've been to the Final Four, so in some ways I know what it takes to win. In some ways I have a lot to learn, and I know Coach Crean is going to help me with that and the team with that."
That process is underway, as the team has started workouts now that school has started. Rivers said the first couple of workouts have been about running through drills and getting acquainted with Crean's system. It's all a part of getting ready for an IU basketball season that will have different players on the floor, a new coaching staff on the sidelines, and ultimately a new direction for the program as a whole.
Rivers is excited to be a part of that in whatever role he can this year before returning to the court for the 2009-10 campaign.
"I have to approach (sitting out) as positively as I can – that's the only way you can approach it," Rivers said. "For me, it's working on my game, knowing that every day I have to get better."
Rivers Looks To Make Most of Wait
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