Bloomington – If you're in search of Hoosier guard Jeremiah Rivers these days, it's a good bet you can find him somewhere in the bowels of Assembly Hall.
Whether it's morning, noon or night, the junior transfer from Georgetown is around somewhere.
You might find him in the weight room with strength coach Jeff Watkinson, adding some muscle to his frame so that he can be the one delivering the blow instead of taking it. You might find him on the practice court shooting one of the 500 free throws he says he gets up on a daily basis in an effort to improve on the 52 percent success rate he had as a Hoya.
"I live here," Rivers says. "I almost have a cot in the locker room for me. I'll be here at 7 a.m., 9 a.m. I want to be great and I want this team to succeed, and we will. I'm trying to take every necessary step to get there."
If you're not adventurous (or foolish) enough to wander the halls of the Hall in search of Rivers, that's okay this season. After sitting out last year as a transfer, he'll return to action and is expected to play a very important role for Tom Crean's second Indiana basketball team.
"He's going to have a huge responsibility in how we play to win," Crean says.
That's welcomed news for Rivers, who's looking forward to showing off something other than a nice wardrobe and some fine pre-game dance moves this season.
He's also eager to show off some more skills than he was able to during his two seasons at Georgetown. Rivers developed a reputation as a lockdown defender for a couple of very good Hoya teams, but he did very little offensively. In 68 career games he scored just 128 points in John Thompson III's Princeton-style attack.
"It's going to be an all-around 180 (degree change) from Georgetown," Rivers said.
Rivers believes he can and will do a whole lot more offensively now that he's at Indiana. He said he's worked extensively with IU assistant coach Tim Buckley on his perimeter jump shot, while assistant Roshown McLeod has been teaching him the "tricks of the trade" in the post.
He thinks it will add up to him being a reliable offensive weapon who can go inside or out.
"My 3 pointers (are better), mid-range, my post-up game is going to be a really big factor," Rivers said. "I'm 6-4, 6-5, and I'll be able to take most point guards down there and just destroy them. That's what I'm looking forward to."
Crean has known Rivers since he was kid and has also seen a great deal of improvement in Rivers' offensive game during the last 12 months.
"He's rapidly improving, he's stronger," Crean said. "His athleticism has come out at Indiana."
While he's expecting to do more than he did during his two-year stint in the Big East, Rivers will also look to be the same sort of shutdown defender that he was with the Hoyas. He's also being counted on to provide a veteran presence on the court.
"He's a season vet that we didn't have last year," Verdell Jones said. "Devan was a veteran last year but he came from JUCO. Jeremiah has played in a Final Four, won championships. He's a lock down defender. He's great going against him every day. If I can score and go by him, I can go by anybody."
Jones has had the opportunity to match up with Rivers for a year on the practice floor and during open gym, but soon he'll finally get the chance to play alongside him in games that really matter. That's an exciting thought for Rivers, whose anxiously awaiting next Friday's Hoosier Hysteria and more importantly the Nov. 13 season opener against Howard.
"I'm ready to roll," Rivers said.
Rivers Ready To Offer A Whole Lot More
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