Seton Hall coach Shaheen Holloway admitted the obvious this past October: Kadary Richmond had to perform at a high level for the Pirates to reach expectations.
Four months later, as Seton Hall is soaring, the point guard from Brooklyn is leading the way. The 6-foot-6 junior was at his best Wednesday night, notching 15 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists in a 84-72 victory over St. John’s, the Pirates’ seventh win in nine games.
“Every single day, we just talk and I tell him every day, you have to understand the stigma that was on you before this year,” Holloway said. “That’s there, people listen to that, people read that, and you gotta change that. And the way you change that is the way you play every single day, and it starts in practice. And to his credit, he’s carrying it out. I think he’s taken [positive] steps. He’s still not where he should be or where he wants to be. It’s steps.”
Lack of consistency was always the knock on Richmond in his first two college seasons. He would play great one game and be a no-show the next. His motor came under criticism. Lately at least, he’s putting it all together. He has enjoyed a strong season, averaging career-highs of 10 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals, along with 4.0 assists and shooting 40.7 percent from 3-point range. Holloway, a former point guard who was the star of last March for coaching 15th-seeded Saint Peter’s to the Elite Eight before taking the Seton Hall job, has been a major plus for Richmond.
“He’s just not allowing me to be mediocre, always wanting more from me and my team,” said Richmond, who tied for a game-high plus-17 rating in 39 strong minutes. “He just pushes me every day and reminds me of my goals and the player I want to be.”
Richmond has been particularly good against St. John’s. In the first meeting in Newark, he burned the Red Storm for 19 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Beating his hometown school, though, isn’t important to him. His sole focus is on stacking wins.
If he keeps playing like this, Seton Hall may have a chance to reach the NCAA Tournament in what was expected to be a down year. As Holloway said before the season, the Pirates need their point guard to excel, and lately it has been hard to find fault with his game.