Extras from Richardson interview

kareemrichardson

Kareem Richardson

I spoke earlier this week with former UE player and assistant Kareem Richardson, who recently started work as coach at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, for a story that will run in Thursday’s paper.

Here’s a sampling of what Richardson had to say about his first head coaching gig:

Richardson served as an assistant at six other Division I schools — UE included — before last season on Louisville’s staff. He accepted the UMKC job during the Cardinals’ national title run. “I knew going in we had a chance to be pretty good,” Richardson said. “I’d be lying if I said I knew we’d be a national championship team. But the experience is once in a lifetime to be able to go through that kind of run with that pressure. What a lot of people don’t realize – one of the neatest parts of what we did in the NCAA tournament is to do it as the No. 1 of No. 1 seeds under the ‘pressure.’ We really didn’t get caught up in our seeding per say.”

Richardson said he’ll use what he learned from Louisville’s Rick Pitino and apply it to the Kangaroos’ playing style: “Getting the opportunity to work under coach Pitino and emphasize my beliefs as a pressure defensive team couldn’t have happened at a better time, so I’ll take a lot of the things we did at Louisville with different presses and trying to create offense through defense.”

Richardson officially started work at UMKC, which has never made an NCAA tournament, last week. He described making one a “very high” priority. ”I don’t believe you can accomplish things without having goals, and it’s something that has to be talked about,” Richardson said. “I’m not afraid to talk about it, but obviously talk is cheap. It’s certainly and accomplishment I hope we can pick up.”

So how do you turn around a program that’s had one winning season since 1985? “You’ve just got to be able to change the culture into a winning culture and hopefully that will lead to a lot of community support,” Richardson said. “Kansas City is great – really similar to Louisville in that it’s a college sports in a big town. You’ve got your Chiefs and your Royals, but the people in Kansas City really seem eager for the University of Missouri-Kansas City to do well.”

During the NCAA’s evaluation period last weekend, reports linked UMKC to offering two Indiana high school players. “I’ve been in it for 16 years now, and I feel like that’s one of the positives from being in different places – a recruiting base,” Richardson said. “Having coached at Indiana State, the University of Indianapolis and Evansville certainly gave me connections there in Indiana and throughout the Midwest. I’m going to use all the connections I can. Obviously I have some in the Missouri and Kansas City area as well.”

Richardson on the state of Aces basketball: “I follow the program very closely. I’m a Missouri Valley guy and love watching the league. Obviously, what Marty (Simmons) has done there – he develops players probably as well as anyone out there. On paper, he probably doesn’t always have the best talent. But he pulls the best out of kids, develops kids and does a heck of a job there. So I’m following the program really closely and excited about what Marty’s doing there.”

Would UMKC schedule UE? “It would be pretty neat to play against Evansville,” Richardson said. “They could come to our place. We could go to their place. I’d certainly be up for that. I’ll be honest with you. I haven’t had the chance to talk to Marty about that at all, but it’s something I’d certainly entertain. I don’t know what his thoughts are about it. But that would be pretty neat.”

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