Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
2017 St. Patrick Big Man Nick Richards Has a Huge Ceiling
WEST ORANGE, N.J. — It was hard to miss Nick Richards during St. Patrick’s 55-40 victory over Bergen Catholic Sunday at the Hoop Group Tip-Off Showcase.
He was the 6-foot-11 gazelle ripping down rebounds, altering shots and showing some nice footwork and touch around the basket. He finished with 9 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks in the win.
“It feels good,” Richards told SNY.tv. Asked what he wants to work on, he said, “Mostly face-ups, a little bit back-to-the basket, jump hooks, all the little tricks. If my guards don’t give it to me, I try my best to get it off the rebound.”
A sophomore who transferred in October from St. Mary’s High School on Long Island in order to face “better competition,” Richards has only been playing organized basketball for two years. He already has interest from schools like Villanova, UConn, Kansas and Creighton, and one can only imagine just how high his ceiling will go.
“He’s got a tremendous, tremendous upside to him,” St. Pat’s coach Chris Chavannes told SNY.tv after the win. “He didn’t start today for medical reasons, he had some strained hamstrings.
“He needs to work on his face-up game, timing on defense and offense and developing a role.”
In last Friday’s 69-61 victory over arch-rival Linden, Chavannes said he saw Richards dominate in the paint unlike anyone he’s seen in recent memory. And he has coached teams that featured Dakari Johnson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Derrick Caracter.
“In all my years at St. Patrick’s before, I’ve never seen someone dominate the game like this,” he said. “It wasn’t even about points, it was about fear and Phil [Colicchio’s] kids are tough kids but they pannicked with the ball, they wouldn’t go in there, even when he wasn’t in there. He blocked six or seven shots in the first half of the game.”
Richards visited Villanova for their Midnight Madness event and has also been to Seton Hall. For now, though, he and his family are not emphasizing recruiting all that much.
“I’ve had a few [schools], but I’m not looking at that right now,” Richards said.
“We’ve had calls from Kansas and various schools, but I think his family would rather him just focus on the season,” Chavannes said. “They want him to just focus on basketball.”
Sophomore guard Jamir Harris scored a game-high 17 points for St. Patrick, while junior guard Rakym Felder went for 11 points, 2 steals and 2 assists…St. Patrick is now officially back to its original name and is no longer known as The Patrick School, which is good for tradition…Junior point guard Bryce Aiken did not play because of a hip flexor, and Chavannes said he may sit Aiken out for the team’s upcoming trip to the Under Armour Holiday Classic in San Diego. “If I don’t feel like he’s ready, I’m not going to play him at all,” Chavannes said. The Celtics play Lawndale on Friday…Minnesota assistant Kimani Young recently watched Aiken play, and Aiken told SNY.tv he hopes to visit Illinois and Missouri at some point.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.