Tag Archives: Chris Collins

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.

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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.

Thanks.

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.

Thanks.

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Collins

One on One with Chris Collins

CHARLOTTE – BDN caught up to Duke Assistant Coach Chris Collins this afternoon and he previewed Hampton and talked about Kyrie Irving as well.  This one is form members only of Blue Devil Nation Premium.  It’s a great time to join as our coverage will amp up big time during the NCAA’s and recruting seasons is right around the corner.

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BDN Post Game – Duke defense stymies St. Louis for 84-47 win

Miles rams one home in Duke's 84-47 win over St. Louis pushing their record to 10-0 for the season. Photo Lance King of Lance Images for BDN

The Kyrie Irving-less Duke Blue Devils coasted past St. Louis with a lockdown defensive effort and walked away with a 84-47 victory pushing their season record to 10-0.  Duke was led by their senior duo of Kyle Singlerand Nolan Smith who combined for 43 points, 11 rebounds and 5 steals. 

Nolan Smith findng his comfort zone at the PG position

Nolan Smith played his second full game at the point guard position and he told BDN he was much more comfortable in the role in the lockerroom which you can hear via BDN audio shortly.  Smith tallied 22 points and a team high 5 assists to go withhis 2 steals.  The senior Smith took it upon himself to rise to the occasion today with his play.

Kyle is Kyle

Singler played like a senior as well grabbing a board or nailing a jumper when Duke needed one.  Singler told BDN he was really enjoying his senior season and that he looked forward to finishing it up with a bang.  We have some good audio with Singler coming as well.  Singler has now started 78 consecutive games at Duke and his 120 career starts ties him at 11th on the all time list.  Klyle passed Shelden Williams and Grant Hill on Duke’s All Time Leading Scorers list in today’s win.  His 3 steals were a season high.

31-4

Duke scored 31 points off turnovers and they continue withtheir emphasis on defense in the four December games.  Remember, we told you not one single Duke opponent would score in the 60’s this month and thanks to the Blue Devils, they’re making me a prophet.  Duke held the Billikens to 1 made three point field goal.

Great game for Josh Hairston

Duke freshman Josh Hairston scored his first career double figure scoring game at Duke with 12 points off the bench.  Add 4 rebounds and 2 steals and he had his best game in a Duke uniform statistically.  Interestingly, Josh was the program cover boy today and we’ll have a nice one on one interview coming from the Virginia native tomorrow.  Duke Assistant Coach Chris Collins praised his effort in the post game press conference.

Speaking of Collins …

Duke Assistant Coach Chris Collins  filled in for Coach K today who had family matters to attend to and he was a natural.  Collins is never short for an answer and he bounces them back with little pondering.  It is plain to see that he will one day be at the podium as a head coach.

On Kyrie …

It’s wait and see according to Collins and the powers that be will access his condition when the cast is removed.  No firm timelines have been set as of yet.  I still feel good about his return, call it a somewhat educated hunch, but it is nothing more than that.  Irving cheered from the sideline on his crutches and laughed it up with teammates as the game became out of reach for the visitors.

Miles Plumlee just short of a double-double

Miles dropped 9 points and snagged 9 rebounds which was just shy of a double-double.  We told you that Duke would take December to get Seth Curry and Miles going and so far, it is working out wonderfully for Miles.  Let’s not forget Miles 2 steals either.  Meanwhile, his brother Mason got just 11 minutes of play and we look for him to get back in the groove when Duke takes on Elon nine days from now.

Next up, exams and Christmas break

Many students were studying for exams this week and it showed in the crowd, but the Crazies who were there did a good job of cheering.  The Duke players will now concentrate fully on exams before they get back to action on December the 20th in a game which even fewer students will be in the stands.  With the win over Elon, Coach K ties Dean Smith atop the All Time NCAA win list and that means he breaks Smith’s  record in Greensboro on December 29th which is quite a milestone.  Have you got your tickets yet?  They’re still available.

Additional Notes -  Today was the 200thtime Duke played as a number one ranked team.  Duke now has 83 straight home wins over non conference opponents in Cameron Indoor Stadium, the longest such streak in the country.  Duke has won 52 straight games int he month of December.  Duke has scored 80 or more points in 8 straight games now.  Without further ado, here are Coach Chris Collins post game comments vis BDN Audio –

Just press play –

Monday Musings – Rivers, Irving, Collins, JJ, Countdown and more

It's time to think about cutting doqwn some more nets with basketball season fast approaching. Photo - Mark Watson BDN

The after effect of Austin Rivers recent commitment will be felt for some time to come.  Face it, Duke Basketball Recruiting has been stellar of late with talented kids like Kyrie Irving and Austin Rivers committing back to back.  As soon as this seasons basketball analyst get a chance, they’ll have to and in some cases be forced to give these guys big props which will lead to some pretty serious exposure for the program.  Then again, Duke already has all of their basketball games televised every single season.

Coach Krzyzewski has been on a roll of late winning Gold for Team USA, the 2010 national championship and the recruiting trail.  Sometimes one needs to stand back and appreciate his tremendous achievements.  The man loves a challenge and the pressure of being at the top is just fine by him.  Duke will be ranked number one in the country going into the season in the polls, but as always it’ll be fun in the early season to see how Krzyzewski molds the 2010-11 team.

Duke Assistant Coach Chris Collins has been on a bit of a roll too for the aforementioned Irving and Rivers are players he was the lead assistant on.  Each prospect is assigned a particular lead assistant while being recruited and it’s obvious that Collins did a heck of a job helping close on two sensational guards.  We can only hope to see them in the same backcourt one day.

The anticipation for Countdown for Craziness is building like a slow fever as fans anticipate Friday, October 15th, the start of the college basketball season.  Last seasons event was special in that it was not only the first, but the beginning phase of a magical title run, or the first stop on memory lane if you will.  This years CTC will be just as good if not better, for Duke has a new banner to officially show off.  If that weren’t enough the recently signed Austin Rivers will lead a bevy of prospects and future teammates into the old girl.  Do you think that’ll bring a strong reaction from the Crazies?  Let’s not forget the 2010-11 team itself coming out to a died in the wool royal blue festive bunch of fanatical fans.  Who knows what antics Nolan Smith will be up to this year?  Topping last years Dawkins short-shorts spoof and his Titanic bit will be tough but I think he’s up to the challenge.  Simply put, the event is a must for any Duke fan.  Have you got your tickets yet?

And in a little NBA talk, new Chicago Bulls star Carlos Boozer will miss eight weeks due to a broken hand this season.  The Bulls are depending on the Booz to put them over the hump this season  Former Dukie JJRedick signed a 19 million dollar contract in the off season, got married and has a rap album coming  out.  Glad he hasn’t been doingmuch

After last seasons championship, Nike coined a slogan “Order is Restored.”  Well, they are certainly on to something and one simply has to look at projected All American teams to realize it.  Kyle Singler’s return has him picked as a consensus first team choice and some taut him as the likely winner of the player of the year award.  Nolan Smith is on most second teams and newcomer Kyrie Irving is projected on some second teams and no lower than third.  When’s the last time Duke had three legitimate first team All American possibilities?  I’ll end this weeks Monday Musings letting you ponder that question.

BDN took this shot when Collins returned from China after Team USA won the gold medal.  Since that time he has been a part of a national championship and now another gold where Team USA defeated Turkey in Istanbul.  Coach Collins took time to sit down with BDN for a few questions of his experience.  BDN Photo

BDN Interview – Chris Collins talks Team USA, Coach K, Durant and more

DURHAM –  BDN sat down with Duke Assistant Coach Chris Collins upon his return from Istanbul where the United States reclaimed the top spot in the FIBA world rankings.  Collins talks a bit about his experiences, Kevin Durrant, Coach K and how the team came together as time progressed.

Well, you guys did it again!  A Gold Medal, National Championship and a another Gold Medal all in consecutive fashion is pretty impressive.  The team came together to beat Turkey and several other good  teams along the way.  It had to be a great experience.

To go over there and win in an international competition, one we haven’t in a number years was a great accomplishment.  This was a different challenge than the Olympics where as a lot of guys decided not to play.   And we had some injuries early on as well.  We lost a number of the big men we expected to have and picked a group of guys who we thought would gel together.  They were hungry and anxious  to represent our country  and what was cool is how you saw us continue to get batter as the tournament went on.  Guys got more familiar with each other, they got better, roles were developed and to win those last couple of games and have the Gold Medal game against Turkey in Istanbul was awesome.  I was just amazed at the job Coach K did, he was at his best again.

I noticed he was up off the bench coaching a lot.

Well, he had to.  We had a young group so he needed to have that fire and passion and that’s what is great about him in that he knows what this team needs.  He needed to be animated and emotional and he did a good job getting these guys to come together for the gold.

Does it insult you a bit when some refer to this as the “B” team?

Yeah, I mean, I understand where it’s coming from because we would have loved to have had some of the guys from the Olympics.  But when you talk about a “B” team they were still pretty good and we used that to our advantage.  Those guys, they had a chip on their shoulder.  They knew they were good players and they went out and showed it. Any naysayers or people predicting other teams to win, well, we talked about it and used it to our advantage.

Photo courtesy of MVN

Can you talk a bit about the play of Kevin Durant?

He’s a special player, but he’s as good a person.  There is no baggage with him there is no hoopla, he’s just a young guy who wants to get better and win.  Late at night even after games he would go to the gym and just work on his shot.  To see what he can do at such a young age is knowing he can go down as one of the greatest players to ever play the game.

From afar, Coach K seemed to really bond with him [Durant], as if he told him you cannot be stopped.

Yeah.  As we put the team together everybody knew from day one he had to be the man.  Especially offensively but early on he wanted to share the ball and get it to others.  But a combination of Coach K and the older guys on the team like Lamar Odom and Chancey Billups told him you need to be the guy and that we are going to go to you and go through you.  That allowed him the confidence to just be himself and stay lose and what he did was amazing.

How about the play of Andre Igoudala?  That had to please your Dad.

Yeah.  It was fun to watch him play and he will of course play for my Dad in Philadelphia.  He’s a guy on the Sixers who will take a lot of shots and score.  But on this team he was the defensive stopper and he relished the role and sacrificed for the team.  He was a glue guy with rebounds and steals.  He made a lot of little plays which helped us win.

If you follow Duke, Team USA looked like Duke in the end.

A lot of our defensive principles were the things we teach here at Duke.  It took a lot of practice because in the NBA they have different rules with illegal defenses.  It took a lot of practice and reps to gain the habits defensively.  We knew we would be smaller so we had to win with our quickness and so we really pressured the ball and those are staples of how we play here at Duke.  So, yes, I would say it is was similar in how we play at Duke.

When you guys returned to Durham did the current Duke players want to talk about your experience and what happened?

Oh, yeah.  Oh yeah.  All young players aspire and want to be pros.  I think we’ve created a situation, Coach K and Mr. Conlangelo have created a situation where the excitement to play for your country again is at an all time high.  It wasn’t as cool to play for the USA a few years ago but you are now seeing pride in all age groups and they want to play for their country.  That is what is important here in that the pros and younger kids want to play for Team USA and represent their country.

At one time there was a ridiculous notion that Krzyzewski coaching Team USA would hurt Duke and basketball recruiting. Can you talk about how silly that notion was, especially in hindsight?

[laughs] Well, we don’t pay any attention to that.  I mean we didn’t miss anything.  You may miss a little of the open period in July but all the guys know what he is doing.  He is coaching the pro guys.  He’s coaching Kevin Durant, he’s coaching LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.  We learn so much from those guys so when we talk to recruits or our own players we say this is what we learned from a Kevin Durrant sharing that with them.  Young players see just what kind and how good of a coach —  Coach K is.

Real time coverage of AAU Basketball continues at BDN

Michael Gbinije - photo Rick Crank, BDN Photo

Real time updates continue from the King City Classic where Coach K and Chris Collins checked out future Blue Devil Michael Gbinije during the morning session.   Catch all the action as it happens with Duke’s hot prospects and commitments by joining Blue Devil Nation Premium. 

Take advantage of our trial one month offer and see the difference in coverage for yourself.  We invite you to join super fans like yourself in discussing all the latest breaking news and happenings not only on the recruiting trail, but team-wise as well.

Tonight we’ll have real time reports on the message board from the N.C. Pro Am as well and be sure to sign up to our twitter account for recruiting and teams updates as well.

We have already talked with Shabazz Muhammad, Alex Murphy, Marshall Plumlee, Kaleb Tarczewski during coverage from Adidas Nations and were checking out the LeBron James Skills Academies before that where Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith enhanced their skills.  And some new names which could surface in the class of 2010 and detailed interviews are forth coming.  And we will be headed to the Peach Jam on Monday where we once again, hit the AAU circuit like no other Duke site.

It’s a great time to join BDN Premium!