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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Red and Jeremiah

Great article from this morning's Boston Herald about the unofficial role Red played in recruting Jeremiah Rivers and Jeremiah's encounters with Red. This piece is further illustration of the tremendous influence Red had on the game. The entire article merited posting. Please enjoy....

On a side note, got to love how Rivers doesn't remember any of the actual converstions w/Red. Let's hope he doesn't have the same problem when JTIII speaks.

Doc’s kid took Red’s advice to heart
By Mark Murphy
Thursday, March 15, 2007

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Jeremiah Rivers doesn’t remember his actual conversations with Red Auerbach so much as the intensity.

From the first time his father, Celtics [team stats] coach Doc Rivers, introduced him to the late team president three years ago, Jeremiah Rivers held on to each word as if he might lose one valuable piece of wisdom.

“I can’t remember one particular conversation with him, only because I just tried to focus so hard on everything he said,” Rivers said yesterday. “I didn’t want to miss anything. I just remember trying to pay attention to each word he said.”

Rivers is a freshman backup point guard at Georgetown, the NCAA East Regional’s second seed, which plays No. 15 seed Belmont in a first-round game today at Joel Coliseum.

Georgetown can actually thank Auerbach for taking part in the recruiting effort.
“The first month my dad got hired I went up to Boston, and (Auerbach) was sitting there in (director of basketball operations) Danny Ainge’s office smoking a cigar,” he said. “I knew who he was, and I had heard about everything he had done for the game, so I was kind of shocked to just see him sitting there like that. Then my dad asked, ‘Do you know who this is?’ and all I could say was ‘Sure, of course, I know who he is.’ ”

Auerbach got right to the point.

“I remember him asking me where I was going to play,” said Rivers, then a high school junior being actively recruited by the Hoyas. “When I told him I was thinking of Georgetown, he told me that he lived right there in (Washington) and that he would be seeing me all the time.”
As such, Rivers discovered that he had just joined two distinct branches of the Auerbach family - the Celtics, through his father, and Georgetown, through the legacy of former Hoyas coach John Thompson and his son, current coach John Thompson III.

Though wheelchair-bound, Auerbach was true to his word. He maintained his presence at Georgetown practices.

“I could go and talk to him about anything,” Rivers said. “I was still kind of shocked every time I talked to him just because he was a person who had done so much for the game. He was just so extremely smart. I don’t think he had lost anything because of his age at all. He was very alive.
“That didn’t surprise me, because you could tell that he’s a teacher. That’s what it is with someone like him.”

Rivers subsequently became part of a fitting Georgetown tribute after Auerbach died last October. The team, dressed to the man in suits and ties, filed into Auerbach’s wake two days later.

“My dad was the one who told me that he died, and I could tell he was really upset,” Rivers said. “Coach Thompson Sr. was there. I saw Bill Russell. (Robert) Parish was there. There were so many legends there, but it wasn’t a sad situation. Everyone was just there talking. It was a more a celebration of what he’s done than anything.”

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