By Dylan Manfre
Jessika Schiffer is one of the newest members of the women’s basketball team and is already providing a creative touch on and off the court.
Her contributions during Rider’s exhibition game against TCNJ on Nov. 3 were felt as she wove around the court with precise off-the-ball movements and nonverbal cues. She pulled out those tools of her repertoire because according to her, the fans were loud and she did not know if her teammates would be able to hear her.
Her movements away from the ball are as important to her as scoring. Schiffer did contribute five points on 2-of-5 shooting from the field in her first action as a Bronc and according to Head Coach Lynn Milligan, her game is still a work in progress with Rider’s system.
“[That is] the only thing Jess is lacking right now,” Milligan said. “As far as her development as a point guard, being able to score, being able to run the offense, shoot the 3[-point shot] … she’s got all of that. The only thing she needs is reps in our system and that’s coming every day.”
The exhibition gave Schiffer a craving for the upcoming season.
“It was nice to see how games went on,” Schiffer said. “I loved it. I’m excited for the season to start.”
The junior guard came to Rider this summer after transferring from the University of Buffalo. She primarily left becasue was that she was looking for a change. Schiffer did not want to provide any further specifics about whether the atmosphere of the team or the culture of the program contributed to her departure.
After being recruited by Rider out of high school and not attending the university, she is thriving in the cranberry and white and gelling well with her new teammates. She provides the Broncs with a lot of depth at the guard position.
“The versatility in our guards is definitely bolstered by Jess,” Milligan said. “And then you throw in the development of Makayla [Firebaugh] and the health of Amanda [Mobley], the development of [Lenaejha Evans] and the development of Molly [Lynch], that group of six guards we have is strong.”
Milligan said Schiffer was one of the most conditioned guards she’s ever seen and that she works with a smile.
“She has a real discipline about herself and a real work ethic. She’s always in a good mood but she’s not afraid of the work,” Milligan said. “She’ll be in here in the mornings, she’ll be in here at night, she’ll be in here on her days off. She’s a worker and she wants to be great.”
A true artist
Outside of basketball, graphic design brings Schiffer just as much joy as the sport itself and is her creative outlet.
Schiffer has about 17 pairs of shoes, mostly Nike’s that she wears outside of practice and games since Rider Athletics is sponsored by Adidas. Schiffer enjoys customizing shoes, particularly Nike Air Force 1s. To an interview with The Rider News she wore a self-designed white pair.
One side of the shoe had purple drips coming from the Nike swoosh, and on the other side, there was a teal green dragon. On the heel of the shoe was her name in a decorative script.
“I care a lot about the shoes I wear with my outfits,” Schiffer said.
She got into graphic design because of her mom’s self-owned business where she printed designs onto clothes. Schiffer posts many of her designs to her Instagram account @J.S.Customs_.
Schiffer played on Germany’s U23 3×3 National Team that consisted of her and four other teammates. 3×3 has recently garnered a lot of popularity recently and is now an Olympic sport.
“The pace from switching from offense to defense is really quick,” Schiffer said of the sport. “You could lose the ball and the next second you get a 3-pointer in your face.”
Schiffer is another dynamic guard in Rider’s system and it is only a matter of time before she begins to flourish into the scoring talent she was at Buffalo.