If there’s one player who really stood out in the Rainmen’s home/season/franchise opener it was Brian Silverhorn. Silverhorn didn’t even break a sweat dropping 29 points, including shooting an obscene 7/10 from behind the arc. The next best player for Halifax was the man who backed Silverhorn up at small forward – Kadiri Richard. Richard played just 15 minutes but managed to block six shots and grab 7 boards.
It’s unfortunate that two of the team’s best players split minutes, but Richard didn’t seem phased – after every big play the first guy standing on the bench, cheering and swinging a towel around was Richard. He’s a long, athletic player with great timing and, by all accounts, a great attitude.
I spent some time trying to look into Richard’s basketball background and the reason that he’s as good as he is became pretty obvious. Richard was a stand out at Virginia Union University, a traditionally black university with a great academic reputation and one of the best NCAA Division II programs – they consistantly beat Division I opponents. Both Charles Oakley and Ben Wallace played for Virginia Union. Richard played his high school ball for the legendary Oak Hill Academy, a Virginia prep school whose list of alumni includes Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Rajon Rondo, Steve Blake, Josh Smith, Jerry Stackhouse, Stephen Jackson and numerous other NBA and college stars. You don’t spend high school and college in elite programs without learning something.
It’s pretty awesome for Halifax that a player with Richard’s credentials and skills is living in a house in Bedford and playing for the Rainmen. I can understand why Richard didn’t get in the game more: Boston was missing enough shots that blocking wasn’t really all that important. I anticipate/hope that Rick Lewis gets the two of them on the court at the same time in the future. Richard provides protection around the rim that the undersized Rainmen could seriously use, and his shot blocking let’s the team run their impressive fast break offense (the highlight of the game definitely came when Richard blocked a shot, pinning the ball against the backboard, threw an outlet pass to Devino Williams who lobbed an alley-oop pass off the backboard to Eric Crookshank who threw down a two handed dunk). Richard also doesn’t take anything off the table on offense – he only scored three points in fifteen minutes, but he also only took two shots (both good takes to the basket) and a free throw. He also added three assists and this video of his high school and college days show that he take the ball to the hoop. Halifax has plenty of jump shooters but its rare to find a slasher who takes it to the rim with this much power.
The two road games revealed something else that both Richard and Silverhorn have in common: they’re both being used wrong. Silverhorn is not a primary scoring threat – he is just a shooter. We need people cutting and kicking to him, or him trailing on fast breaks. Our offense can’t be to make one pass to him and have him jack it up. Likewise, Richard is not well used when he is bodying up against the other team’s power forward. He ends up getting in foul trouble. He is excellent coming from the weak side for the block because of his speed and length, but it’s a waste to have him trying to guard a man in the post.
If you’re at a Rainmen game, make sure you pay attention when he’s on the court. And when he’s not, take a look at the bench after a big play – I can guarantee that you’ll see Kadiri Richard, huge smile on his face cheering on his teammates.
(I didn’t mention Jermaine Anderson, even though he is probably the most accomplished player on the team. The reason is that he didn’t really “standout” in the first game. The way he plays is so effortless that I didn’t even notice him chipping in six assists and 17 points. He also got those six assists without having spent much time with the team. I think that once he gets used to playing with these guys he is going to be among the best players in the league and put up triple doubles most nights. I also think that there is a zero percent chance that he is still playing for this team in 12 months.)