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Rivers Ready To Get Back On The Court

first_imgThe Bulldogs welcome back a pair of double-digit scorers this year, but also return one key component that the team was without for the bulk of last season in junior guard, C.J. Rivers.Rivers started in 11 of the first 16 games of 2015-16 before suffering a broken bone in his left hand. The injury forced him to the bench for nearly the rest of the season before returning for the season finale at the MVC Tournament. Rivers will take to the court with the rest of the team this Friday, Nov. 11, for the Bulldogs’ first game of the season against South Dakota with tipoff scheduled for 8:35 p.m.While the injury physically sidelined Rivers, it helped him grow as a leader and a more cerebral player.”It helped in two major ways,” Rivers said of how the injury made him better. “First, it forced me to be more of a leader because the only way I could be a leader was to be vocal. Second, I saw things from a different perspective. I was able to take everything in and pick the coaches’ brains.”The role of a vocal leader forced the normally soft-spoken Rivers outside of his comfort zone, especially for a player who just in his second year in the program.”The toughest part was being so young and I only had one season under my belt and didn’t know what I needed to be saying,” Rivers said. “Learning that helps me now to know what needs to be said and when.”Before the injury, Rivers had earned a starting role primarily due to his defense while averaging 3.8 points per game. In the game before being sidelined, Rivers poured in a career-high 13 points against Indiana State and appeared to be hitting his stride. But three days later he went to the floor at UNI’s McLeod Center with the near season-ending injury. Watching the next 14 games and countless practices tested Rivers’ resolve as the Bulldogs struggle on the court.”Obviously, I wanted to be on the court, and that was the toughest part,” Rivers said. “We went through a tough patch, and I felt helpless having to watch my team and not being able to help.”Rivers worked his way back onto the court and spent the entire offseason trying to return not just to form, but to expanding his game and becoming more of an offensive threat. During the summer months, Rivers committed to making 100,000 jump shots, a feat he accomplished.”I’ve been shooting and getting acclimated after the injury to my shooting hand,” Rivers said. “Just getting the feeling and muscle memory back in that hand was the biggest thing for me to accomplish.”With those hours of hard work and frustration of being sidelined for nearly all of the Valley season last year, Rivers is more than excited to get back under the bright lights on the Knapp Center court.”I’m chomping at the bit,” Rivers said. “I’m looking forward to putting everything together that I’ve been working on through the offseason. I’m excited to help my team out.” Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more