Basketball: Riewer’s pro career on hold

Staples-Motley graduate Jordan Riewer plays basketball for Adria Oil KK Skrljevo in Croatia. He planned to play in Australia starting in March until COVID-19 canceled the season. Submitted photo.

What was supposed to be a second season playing professional basketball in Australia for Jordan Riewer, turned into a two-week vacation.

After spending most of the winter in Croatia, Riewer planned to play with Newcastle in March. His girlfriend, Jazmen, who he met playing in Australia last year was also playing for Newcastle. After two weeks, they were flying back home because COVID-19 shut down the season.

“I was bummed out about it,” Riewer said. “My girlfriend plays on the same club down there and we were going to live together, so the whole timing of it was kind of crazy. We got in there in the second week of March and two weeks later we were coming home because the season was canceled.”

Riewer played his high school ball at Staples-Motley where he’s the all-time leading scorer with 1,957 points.

He committed to the University of Jamestown, but after a coaching change, he walked on at Minnesota State University Moorhead to play for Staples native Chad Walthall — who recently was hired as head coach.


“(Walthall) was the head assistant coach at the University of Iowa and I had originally committed to Jamestown because they were my only offer,” Riewer said. “I didn’t know who was going to be the coach at Jamestown and then a week later coach (Lynn) Peterson, my high school coach, told me Walthall got the job at Moorhead State and he asked if I would be willing to walk on my first year.”

After redshirting his first year, Riewer started four seasons. He finished his career with the Dragons as the all-time leader in 3-point percentage at 45.2% (227-502). His 1,389 points puts him 11th all-time in school history.

“I’ve always been known as a shooter,” Riewer said. “When I get to places I say one of my biggest strengths is shooting the basketball. I’m very confident in shooting the basketball. That’s kind of how you have to be especially if you want to play at a high level. I’m not the biggest, quickest or most athletic guy in the world so I just continue to learn as much about the game as I can and use my IQ the best I can.”

His senior year at MSUM, Riewer earned Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Player of the Year honors. He was named All-NSIC twice and earned All-American honors as a junior.

“NSIC is arguably one of the best if not the best DII conference in the country,” Riewer said. “I think the region has kind of proven that recently.”

Riewer knew he wanted to continue playing after his time at MSUM. At the end of his senior season, agents reached out to him. He played in Germany his first year after graduation and it was a wake-up call for him.

“My time in Europe was just basketball,” Riewer said. “That’s all I would do. Practice two times a day. That’s what it is.

“It was right back to square one for me. It felt like I was a redshirt freshman all over again. My first two months in Germany I felt like I knew basketball and it’s just a whole new level over there. Not just the physicality of the league, but there are just so many little things and detailed things that you don’t really think about. They are very structured over there. A lot of sets, but a lot of it makes sense. There are very good coaches and players over there. They are very underrated and I’ve learned a lot about basketball.”


In Australia, the league Riewer played in was a little more laid back.

“One thing we do a lot more of in Australia, which I like, is you are a lot more involved in the club,” Riewer said. “You come to an agreement with certain commitments that could be coaching a 15-and-under team, working youth clinics and get your foot in the door that way and you can make a lot more money that way too. It’s a lot easier on the body in Australia.”

After a few years of traveling the world playing pro ball, he likes it.

“I’ve been to four different countries now as far as living and playing there,” Riewer said. “You just adapt and learn new cultures and I love learning new things, so it’s been really good and quite interesting.”

One of those interesting things was having beer poured on him after a road win in the playoffs when he played in Germany.

“The fans over there are nuts,” Riewer said. “We are playing in Hamburg and we end up winning and their fans were pissed. They poured beer on us as we were walking toward the tunnel, but that's normal over there I guess.”

Once the COVID-19 situation subsides Riewer hopes to go back to Australia in January of 2021.

“It’s been good. I’ve met a lot of great people that I can call friends now and it’s been really good,” Riewer said.

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