Book of Malachi: The Malachi Richardson Interview

6'5" Malachi Richardson of Roselle Catholic, Photo by Andrew Slater
6'5" Malachi Richardson of Roselle Catholic (NJ), Photo by Andrew Slater

Named after the prophet who wrote the last Book of the Old Testament, 6'5" 195 lb wing Malachi Richardson is one of the top wing prospects in the class of 2015. Noted for his three-point shooting prowess, the sophomore guard, given the nickname "Shoota," has expanded his game by scoring more off of the dribble, rebounding better, and an improved commitment to defense.

After a solid freshman campaign at Trenton Catholic, the Hamilton, NJ native decided to join a talented Roselle Catholic squad (19-5) with, at least, four high-major players, including 6'8" Syracuse-bound Tyler Roberson, Richardson has more than carved out his niche, averaging more than fourteen points, five rebounds, and four assists per game. Although affectionately given the nickname "Country" because of his slightly less urban, Central Jersey roots, Richardson has assimilated well into his new school and lives an hour's drive north in nearby East Orange, NJ. This past October, he and his 5'11 Roselle Catholic teammate Asante Gist, a freshman, were among the forty-six players selected nationally to head to Colorado Springs, CO to participate in USA Basketball's Men's Developmental National Team Mini-Camp.

Malachi, which translates loosely as "My messenger" in Hebrew, credits his mother, who was a point guard at Virginia State, and grandparents for instilling in him the importance of doing well in school. As a result, he's been an honor roll student throughout high school.

The self-professed Kobe Bryant fan has already accumulated eight formal scholarship offers, including Ohio State, Indiana, Miami, Rutgers, and most recently Southern Methodist, and generated interested from Syracuse, North Carolina and recently Duke University. Coach Chris Collins of Duke, who has successfully recruited New Jersey for more than a decade, called Coach Dave Boff of Roselle Catholic to speak with him about the Blue Devils' interest in the sophomore wing.

Recently, Richardson felt some lingering discomfort in his legs and was sidelined for what was feared to be, at best, shin splints, but an MRI has cleared him to play as the Roselle Catholic Lions are poised to make a playoff run in the New Jersey state tournament and eventually for Nike's Team Final on the AAU circuit.

After a recent game, Coach Dave Boff spoke about Malachi Richardson, the person and player. "Malachi is one of the best players in the country in his grade for a reason. He does a lot of things well: fantastic shooter, great passer, makes his teammates better, and, you know, as a person, he's a fantastic kid. He's an honor roll student and very excited about his grades and works hard on his grades. He's a very good teammate and really just does all of the things that we ask of our players. He's very coachable and, like all young kids, he has his moments where you wish he would be a little bit more focused, but overall he's really just a pleasure to coach and a fantastic teammate."

On things that Coach Boff would like to work with Malachi on in the coming years: "The things that I'm going to talk to him about in the offseason are continuing to improve his on-the-ball and off-the-ball defense, which I think all kids can do that. That's a staple for us. Then, in terms of his offensive game, I think he needs to be able to break people down off of the dribble a little bit more. We're going to work with him over the summer on getting his shots against different types of people. As far as his overall game, I think he does a lot more now, but I also think he's only scratched the surface of the things that he can do offensively. You know, right now, I'd even like to see him get in the post and use his strength and his size. That's something that he doesn't do as often as I'd like to see. So, as talented as he is and as good as he is, there are some things that I think we can do to take him to the next level."

"I think he's a two, a straight two, no matter how tall he gets. I think he's hopefully going to grow a couple of more inches. I think he's a straight two man no matter what because he shoots it so well. Like I said, he can make plays off of the bounce and those are some things that we'll work on in the offseason."

"He's also working on his strength and conditioning, which all of our kids do. You know there are some that work on it harder than others, but being stronger and quicker makes guys not only player better, but have more confidence. When you know that you're stronger than the guy that you're playing against, you take to the court with a lot more confidence on both ends of the court."

Roselle Catholic Coach Dave Boff on his conversation with Coach Chris Collins about Duke University: "We kind of thought that he was a kid that might be able to fit in to the type of style that they play and, you know, Coach Collins seems to agree with us. He's going to come and watch him play a couple of times and hopefully Coach Krzyzewski will come up and watch him play, but I think everyone looks at him and thinks he can play in a Duke style of system. He's unselfish, he shoots it, he's got good length, he's got good strength. He does a lot of things that it seems, you know, watching them on TV that those kids do well. He can shoot the three, plays well in transition. He also now, you know, he's a part of USA Basketball, as is Asante Gist, another player on our team. I think that with how hard Coach Krzyzewski has worked to take USA Basketball with the types of kids I think it says a lot. I think it also says a lot about our program that a couple of our kids are able to be in the USA Basketball program. I think that they are trying to get kids into USA Basketball that are not only great players, but good people and good students. With Malachi, he certainly fits that mode."

Legendary scout Tom Konchalski of HSBI Report on 6'5" Malachi Richardson: "People talk about him being a second guard, but I don't really think that he quite is now. He can shoot the three and he's a very good three-point shooter, but he's, you know, a big wing who's probably more of a 3/2 than a 2/3 right now. He's a guy who has a great touch, who has a lot of athletic ability, and has a good body. You know he's grown an inch since his freshman year at Trenton Catholic Academy and he's got a lot of potential. If he wants to be a two guard, he's got to be a little better playing off of the dribble, a little better playing with the ball, and he's got to work awfully hard at guarding a two guard because, right now, his better defensive nature is as a three man. What he is right now is a skilled wing with good size and a lot of athleticism..and at an early age, in terms of only being a sophomore, so he has an awful lot of potential."

After a pair of recent games, I spoke with Malachi Richardson.


BDN:Duke has recently expressed interest in you.

Malachi Richardson: I haven't really talked to them yet, but my coaches have gotten in touch with them recently. So, I really can't say too much yet about how interested they are in me. I'm sorry.

What do you know about their program and about Coach K?

Coach K, I mean, he's the Man! (laughs) I know Kyrie. He's one of the best players. He's just tremendous. I mean they've got a great program and have been good for a long time. They've also had a lot of great players that have made it to the NBA.

You're still just a sophomore, but recruitments tend to vary a lot. You've already earned some scholarship offers, but what's the latest in your recruitment and how do you feel about the process overall?

Well, I've been receiving a lot of interest from a lot of schools, but I had seven offers from Indiana, Ohio State, Miami, Rutgers, Seton Hall, James Madison, and Cincinnati. Then, recently, I just got an offer from SMU.

Oh, congratulations.

Thank you.

That's an impressive list of offers. In terms of your overall timeline, where do you feel that you are in the process? Is it still early?

Yeah, it's still early.

When you played in that tournament in Columbus, I believe that you visited Ohio State, but which schools have you visited so far and do you have any plans to visit any in the near future?

Oh, I've visited Ohio State, Rutgers, and Seton Hall so far.

What have you seen, so far, as they benefit of coming to Roselle Catholic from Trenton?

Oh, it's been big. It's very different…living in North Jersey. They call me "Country" because it's so different and I'm from down there. 

Oh, really, I thought "Shoota" was your nickname. These guys want to come up with new ones.

(laughs) No, these guys want to call me "Country" up here.

There goes my research. What do you feel are your strengths and weaknesses right now?

I'd say that rebounding is one of my weaknesses. Also, my defense. My strength is definitely my jump shot, but I just want to become a total player though so. 

Do you feel like you've gotten better off of the bounce, so to speak?

Yeah, definitely, a lot better.

What are you working on most right now?

Everything. I'm just trying to improve across the board.

Is there a player that you try to model your game after?

A little bit after Paul Pierce and a little bit after Ray Allen

I've heard the Ray Allen comparison a couple of times.

(laughs) Yeah, well..

I was actually looking at some of the basketball diaries that you had written for a site when you were younger and you always signed off as Malachi "Shoota" Richardson. Did that name stick?

(laughs) Yeah, a little bit.

Well, you can still shoot it. Those were actually useful for background material.


In one of the entries, you were writing about how your grandparents would give you a little money if you made the honor roll. 

Oh, yeah, yeah. (laughs)

Are you still a good student?

Oh, yeah, I made honor roll. I had five As and two Bs.

Well, that's good to hear. I know that you were part of USA Basketball's developmental team this past October?

It was a great experience actually. Just being around a great bunch of players and coaches. Just being able to play against the best competition in the country.

Now that I think about it, how was playing in the altitude in Colorado? I've heard other guys talking about having to adjust very quickly and experiencing an almost choking feeling during sprints.

(Laughs) Oh, yeah, that was definitely tough. It was definitely tough. Just walking up to the gym was tiresome. 

Right, and how was the competition? Was it the best you've faced so far?

Oh, it was great. I really feel like it got me prepared for a lot of things, coming up for the high school season and the AAU season. It was an honor.

I know that your taller than me, but what's your current size? 

(laughs) I'm 6'5" and around 195 right now.

Did you grow up a fan of any team, either pro or college?

Oh, I'm a Kobe fan. So, yeah, I'm a Lakers fan.

Check out the kicks (Kobe Bryant sneakers). 

(laughs) Smart man.

(laughs) Well, they're definitely comfortable. By the way, what do you like to do in your free time, if you have any?

Oh, I just like to play ball. (laughs) That's what I do. 

Who do you turn to for guidance? I assume that your grandparents are, at least, among the people that you turn to..

Yeah, my grandparents and my mother. Those are the ones that I count on.

This is more of a recruiting question, but what are you looking for in a college and  a college program, whenever you do decide?

Being able to graduate early. Instead of having to go for four years, I'd like to try to graduate in three. That's something that I'll definitely be looking for.

What about distance, conference, etc.?

Distance isn't an issue, but I'd like to compete in a good conference. So, I'd probably say the Big East, ACC or the Big Ten. But, yeah, distance..I don't see that being a factor at all. 

What would you like the audience to know about you as a person?

That I like to have fun.

Out of curiosity, how did you get the name Malachi?

Oh, it's biblical.

Do you have a little update on your shin injury? I heard "shin splints."

(laughs) Well, I can't really say too much about the shin yet. I don't really know yet, but I'm going to have an MRI.

How long have you had it?

It's been a nagging injury for about a month or so.

I've heard people getting or, rather, suffering from them, but thankfully never had one. Will you be out for a while?

No, probably or hopefully just one game and be back.

So, it's not that bad?

No, it's not that rough. We're just being careful.

Is this your first real injury, if you will?

Yeah, you could say that. I mean the first time I've ever missed a game or anything like that for school.

I didn't ask you before, but do you do any strength and conditioning at this point?

Yes, I've been working out and training over at Adrenaline Sports. Just trying to build up my upper-body.

Another very talented player, who was part of that USA Basketball mini-camp, Tyus Battle, said he was going to be playing for Team Final this upcoming AAU season, will you be back with them? Have you guys ever played together?

Yes, I'll be playing with Team Final this year too. Oh, and I have played with Tyus before. He's a great, young player and he's just gonna get a lot better than he even is now.

You were mentioning before that they call you "Country" sometimes. Do you still live in the Trenton area and commute?

Oh, no, I'm over in East Orange. It's not that far.

You were also mentioning the importance of your mother. Did she play basketball as well?

Oh, yeah, she played basketball in college. She went to Virginia State.

Oh, so, she went to Virginia State. Was she a guard?

Yeah, she was a point guard.

Does she help you at all on the court?

(Laughs) Oh, yeah, she helps me with everything!

Thank you very much for your time.

No problem.

Good luck with the shin.



2013 Duke Football Schedule Announced

DURHAM, N.C. -- Seven total home dates including five games in Wallace Wade Stadium against teams that reached bowl eligibility last season highlight the 2013 Duke football schedule released by the ACC office on Monday afternoon.

Duke’s 12 opponents combined for a 2012 overall record of 74-78 (.487) while seven of the 11 FBS teams either posted a winning record or reached bowl eligibility. Only two ACC schools – Duke and Pittsburgh – will play 2013 schedules with all 12 opponents having won at least four games during the 2012 season.

Beginning with the Bull City Gridiron Classic against N.C. Central on August 31 at Wallace Wade Stadium, the Blue Devils will open the 2013 season with five home tilts in their first six games. Following the opener, Duke travels to meet Memphis and then plays consecutive home ACC contests against Georgia Tech (September 14) and Pittsburgh (September 21).

The Blue Devils close September by celebrating Homecoming on the 28th versus Troy. Following an open date on October 5, Duke plays its fourth and final non-league contest by entertaining Navy at Wallace Wade Stadium on October 12. Road games at Virginia (October 19) and Virginia Tech (October 26) round out the month of October.

After an open date on the first weekend of November, the Blue Devils close the season with home tilts against N.C. State (November 9) and Miami (November 16) and away contests at Wake Forest (November 23) and North Carolina (November 30).

Coming off last year’s 6-7 campaign that included the program’s first bowl appearance since 1994, Duke returns 46 lettermen for head coach David Cutcliffe’s sixth squad. The Blue Devils open Spring Practice on Monday, March 4 and will host the program’s annual Spring Game on Saturday, April 13 at Wallace Wade Stadium at 4 p.m.

Season tickets are on sale now and may be purchased by calling the Duke Athletic Ticket Office at 1-877-375-3853.

2013 Duke Football Schedule (2012 Record; Bowl game)

31 – N.C. CENTRAL (6-5)

7 – at Memphis (4-8)
14 – GEORGIA TECH (7-7; 21-7 win over USC in the Hyundai Sun Bowl)
21 – PITTSBURGH (6-7; 38-17 loss to Ole Miss in the BBVA Compass Bowl)
28 – TROY (5-7)

5 – Open
12 – NAVY (8-5; 62-28 loss to Arizona State in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl)
19 – at Virginia (4-8)

26 – at Virginia Tech (7-6; 13-10 win in OT over Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl)

2 – Open
9 – N.C. STATE (7-6; 38-24 loss to Vanderbilt in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl)
16 – MIAMI (7-5)
23 – at Wake Forest (5-7)

30 – at North Carolina (8-4)

Post game: Duke vs. Boston College

Maybe there was something in the water. Or maybe Rasheed Sulaimon was tired of hearing how Boston College's Olivier Hanlan was the odds on favorite for ACC freshman of the year. Duke vs Georgia State 12 009Whatever it was, Duke's freshman starter bounced onto the court looking like he had something to prove.

The rest of Duke's team seemed a tad sluggish in the first few minutes of the game. Until the first media timeout, that is, when Coach Mike Krzyzewski lit into his torpid squad for the entire commercial break. After that, it was scary, at least for Boston College. Duke ripped off twelve points in a row to lead 15 to 5, followed by an 11 to 4 run, followed by 19 to 10. BC scored the last four points of the half but Duke still held a commanding 51-27 lead at the intermission.

In the first game between the teams, just two weeks ago, it seemed like the Eagles triple-teamed Mason Plumlee every time he touched the ball. At Cameron, BC often doubled Plumlee, but didn't pay him quite as much attention as they did in Chestnut Hill. Perhaps they should have, however, because Mason dominated early, scoring 8 of Duke's first 17 points. I guess you could say he dominated late, too, as Plumlee ended the game with 19 points and 15 rebounds. He also led Duke in assists for the second straight game. Since his subpar performance at Maryland, Mason has averaged 16 points per game, 13.5 rebounds, 4.5 asists, 2.0 blocks, and 1.0 steals, on 61.5% shooting from the field and 76.2% from the free throw line.

Meanwhile, on defense Sulaimon was smothering BC's second leading scorer Hanlan. The BC guard didn't score his first point until 14+ minutes had been played, and by that time Duke already sported an 18 point lead. Hanlan's jumper was BC's fifth basket of the day, compared to 10 turnovers at that point. Overall, Duke forced 13 first half turnovers, 16 for the game.

Duke's first half offense was even better, as the team had five guys with eight or more points at the half. Sulaimon led all scorers with 15 first half points, and Amile Jefferson and Quinn Cook both scored 10 in the opening period. Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry each chipped in 8.

A Duke defensive breakdown allowed BC's Ryan Anderson to score at the first half buzzer, and that bit of lackadaisical play on Duke's part seemed to carry into the second half. Duke stopped forcing as many turnovers and allowed BC to shoot almost 54% in the second half. Still, Duke stretched the lead to 31, biggest of the game, with 14 minutes to play.

At that point, Quinn Cook fell and turned the ball over and was slow to get back up. Playing 4 on 5 defense, Duke gave up an easy bucket and on the next possession Hanlan breezed right by Cook for another score. A few minutes later, BC ran off 10 points in a row, bringing the Duke lead down to 67-46.

Until the run was stopped by, you guessed it, Rasheed Sulaimon, who drove into the lane, pulled up for a short jumper, and drew the harm for a traditional three point play. Duke built its lead back up to 28 points with 2 minutes to play when Coach K called off the dogs. At one point in the last minute, Duke's lineup consisted of Marshall Plumlee, Todd Zafirovski, Josh Hairston, Alex Murphy, and Tyler Thornton. And while that lineup is about as big as we've seen at Duke in quite a long while (6'11", 6'9", 6'7", 6'8", 6'1), it was not particularly effective. Boston College run off the last 7 points in the game to make the final score 89-68.

Quinn Cook managed 11 points in the game but only 3 assists (against 1 turnover). In his last five games, Cook is only averaging 3 assists per game, along with a dreadful 0.88 assist/turnover ratio.

For the game, Duke had five double-digit scorers. In addition to Mason Plumlee's 19 and Quinn Cook's 11, Amile Jefferson scored a career-high 14 and Seth Curry netted 12 in just 25 minutes.

But the big star was Rasheed Sulaimon, who also had a career high with 27 points, while harassing Olivier Hanlon into only 12 points and 4 turnovers. So is there a new leader in the ACC freshman of the year race? Tune in Thursday when the Devils travel up to Charlottsville to take on Virginia, and let's see how it goes.

Sulaimon talks Duke win over Boston College

Rasheed Sulaimon shined today as Duke thumped Boston College 89-68 in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  Sulaimon tallied a career-high 27 points and added 3 rebounds and 3 assists; it was the third time the freshman has been the Blue Devils' top scorer in a game.  Sulaimon has also scored in double figures in four consecutive games, and Blue Devil Nation caught up with him in the Duke locker room after the game.

Duke rolls past Boston College – Coach K statements

Duke came to play today against Boston College, coasting to a 89-68 win, pushing their season record to 24-3.  Duke played lock down defense in the first half, which included a 12-0 run, and they never looked back.  Rasheed Sulaimon scored a career-high 27 points and in the process probably took a lead for ACC Freshman of the Year.  Interestingly, one of his primary competitors for that award is BC's Oliver Hanlan, and today Sulaimon drew the defensive assignment on a number of occasions on Hanlan, and helped hold him to 12 points.

Mason Plumlee contributed another double-double as well with 19 points and 15 rebounds; he continues to lead the Atlantic Coast Conference in the prestigious category.  Plumlee also dished out a team high 4 assists, two of those coming to Quinn Cook on consecutive trips.  One has to think Plumlee might let his point guard know he owes him a return favor. I kid, I kid.

The bottom line is that Boston College simply had no chance in this game.  But Coach K still took time to praise the Eagles while pointing ahead to a week in which the team must play in Charlottesville in a 9:00 game on Thursday night and then return home the same evening to begin preparing for the much-anticipated rematch with Miami on Saturday.  The Blue Devils will have less than 48 hours rest for that showdown, so the coach's concern is understandable.

Duke played its 203rd game as a Top 10 team today and they remain undefeated in Cameron this season.  We'll have more coming your way but until then, check out Coach K's opening statements via Blue Devil Nation.