Re: The next big player out of Chicago
I'll believe it when I see it with my own eyes. I just haven't seen it myself yet since he's put it all together as a legitimately elite prospect as a junior. Like I said, I'm not doubting Blackshear but there are a lot more high-scoring 6'5" wings than 6'7", 6'8" prospects with the skillset of Richmond. Blackshear can play two positions. Richmond can play four. So the next time I see Blackshear, I'm going to need to see a scoring ability and a physical agressiveness that is so beyond Richmond's that it negates being less versatile and three inches shorter. And that could very well be the case. I don't know.
The whole "Richmond takes too many plays off" thing is overblown and I've never quite agreed with it. I think it's a perception that's been shaped by some people who don't like his attitude and has kind of taken hold. I think there's some truth to his bad attitude/anger issues but I've never seen any evidence of him being soft and circumstancial evidence at best of him taking plays off.
I realize I've cut him a lot of slack over his high school career and it's primarily not because he's an Illinois recruit but because I truly believe this: Ron Ashlaw is a terrible coach. The last time I saw Richmond play in person was in December at the Assembly Hall. He picked up one early foul and Ashlaw was panicking, imploring him to not pick up a second. Richmond wanted so badly to challenge so many shots but wouldn't do it. I atually thought it was a sign of maturity that he wasn't fighting his coach like he would've two years ago. When he's in college and his coach isn't an idiot, that'll be a good thing if he keeps listening.