Aug. 15, 2003
He can easily be labeled the most exciting payer on the Florida State men’s basketball team. His explosive moves to the basket and thunderous dunks are enough to take over the momentum of a game and bring Seminole fans to their feet.
It is a label he has grown to accept, along with the responsibilities of being a marquee player.
Anthony Richardson is in his sophomore season as a forward on a revitalized FSU men’s basketball program. His 6-9 stature and 190-pound physique makes for a powerful combination of athleticism and finesse.
Richardson gave his hometown fans of Raleigh, N.C. a reason to cheer throughout his high school career at Leesville Road High School as he was named the only player out of North Carolina to play in the prestigious McDonald’s All-America basketball game in 2001.
That honor, he says, is the biggest accomplishment of his basketball career to this day. He was rated the No. 1 prospect in the state of North Carolina by recruiting guru Bob Gibbons, and has since continued to prove his worth in the college ranks. He credits the experience of being a McDonalds All-American in helping him get ready for the “showbusiness” aspect of sports that is bound to engulf him in years to come on his path to the next level.
“It really prepared me because it put me right in the spotlight,” explains Richardson. “As a high school player, it really doesn’t get any better than that. It really helped me learn to deal with the media, all the questions and all the cameras in my face.”
Richardson capped off his freshman season with the Seminoles ranking in the top five of four different statistical categories including blocked shots, assist, three-point field goals made, and steals. He put up these numbers coming off the bench and averaging only 17.6 minutes per game. We can just imagine the impact he will make with more playing time on a team with a new coach, Leonard Hamilton, and a new game plan that stresses team unity and defensive intensity. Right now their goals are simple.
“Everything has been real team orientated, just trying to get better everyday as a team. We want to be able to reach our potential this year.”
The roles of the players on this team might be different from game to game in an effort to provide the team with the best opportunity to win games.
“Everybody will play a big part in everything this year because we really feel like we don’t have one person that can carry the team, so everybody’s going to have to play to everyone’s strength,” says Richardson.
Individually, Richardson has made it a habit to cause havoc for opponents’ defenses. What makes him unique on the hardwood is his ability to play inside and out. He can take his man of the dribble, post up his opponent in the paint or rise over his defender and drain a jump shot.
Richardson thanks his brother, who is three years older than him, for teaching him the game of basketball and influencing him to become the best athlete he can be. His older brother set an example for him to follow and laid the groundwork for his success in high school and so far in college.
“My older brother was my biggest influence. He’s what I tried to be. Playing high school basketball and everything, I wanted to be like him,” states Richardson. “Then I got to a point where I didn’t want to be in his shadow anymore, so that’s why I worked even harder to get out of his shadow.”
Before Richardson could get out of his brother’s shadow, he first needed to make the middle school basketball team. His biggest disappointment came when he was cut from the basketball team in the seventh grade. He did not let his misfortunes keep him down for long. Instead, he learned from this set back and used it as a form of motivation.
“Getting cut turned my life around and it made me work harder because I didn’t want to get cut anymore. That changed my whole life and it changed the way I looked at basketball,” says Richardson.
Now, his will to succeed in the classroom and on the court is evident. Academically, Richardson persevered through hardships that almost cost him a full basketball season and is now on the ACC Honor Roll for his excellent grade point average. Athletically, he is driven by the thought of one day being able to provide for his family in the process of reaching his ultimate potential as a basketball player. He believes his ability and skill on the court will place him in the National Basketball Association, where he envisions his future will be in the next five years. Richardson’s goals are set high and his drive to achieve them is even higher. Realistically, he understands the differences between playing in the NBA compared to college hoops, and in his dreams of NBA stardom, playing for a specific team is none of his concern.
“I think with the NBA it’s different, its not like college because with the NBA everybody’s trying to get in. With college, you pretty much know you’re going to get in, so you get to choose. The NBA is different, you want to get in with the worst team possible so you can get in and play right away,” explains Richardson.
He does, however, have a preference on what player he would enjoy teaming up with in the pros. There is one player whom he admires and studies in order to mirror his game after.
“I would love to play with Tracy McGrady (of the Orlando Magic) because that’s the guy I really look up to right now in trying to reach my potential,” Richardson states.
For now, Anthony Richardson must look towards the present and focus on the basketball season ahead of him. The setting is set and the opportunity is awaiting. Richardson will have the chance to showcase his skills and abilities as he steps on the court to compete in the toughest conference in college basketball, the Atlantic Coast Conference.
By Angel Maldonado
Sports Information Student Assistant