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Kadary Richmond can help Seton Hall prove Big East coaches wrong

There have been games of brilliance, performances that wow you, instances when Kadary Richmond showcases his immense talent.

But that has also been followed far too often by quiet nights, nondescript games, contests in which the Brooklyn native hardly makes an impact.

That’s where Shaheen Holloway comes in. The new Seton Hall coach got more out of less at Saint Peter’s, becoming a March hero by leading the 15th-seeded Peacocks to the Elite Eight. He transformed a team of unranked prospects into everyone’s Cinderella. Now, for the Pirates to reach the NCAA Tournament in Holloway’s first season, to prove the Big East coaches who picked them seventh wrong, Holloway has to reach Richmond.

“We need him,” Holloway said on Big East media day of Richmond, who averaged 8.8 points, 4.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds as a sophomore. “We need him to play at a high [level] for us to be good.”

Kadary Richmond playing for Seton Hall on Jan. 26, 2022.
Kadary Richmond playing for Seton Hall on Jan. 26, 2022.
Bill Kostroun

The league’s coaches thought highly enough of the mega-talented Richmond that they voted him an all-league second team preseason selection, the only Seton Hall player to receive an individual honor. Connecticut coach Dan Hurley saw how dynamic Richmond can be last year, when he poured in 27 points in an upset victory over the Huskies, the kind of tantalizing performance that Holloway wants to see on a consistent basis this season.

“Just from a physical talent and skill standpoint at the guard position, you just don’t come across many 6-foot-6 physical, gifted, strong, athletic players with his type of game off the dribble and his ability to physically get to the rim,” Hurley said. “He’s really a gifted player. It will be interesting to see what kind of jump he can make under Shaheen’s leadership.”

Seton Hall forward Tyrese Samuel believes Richmond is ready to be a consistent performer. He’s noticed a more vocal player, someone who is eager to lead, a teammate that understands how important he is to the Pirates’ success. He is frequently talking and playing at a fast pace, a departure from the sometimes quiet and passive Richmond of last winter.

Kadary Richmond playing against Georgetown on Feb. 1, 2022.
Kadary Richmond playing against Georgetown on Feb. 1, 2022.

“I know he’s going to have a big year this year and he’s going to really turn heads,” Samuel said.

That, of course, is to be determined. Holloway still believes Richmond can get into better condition and has to want to bring 100 percent effort on a daily basis. Asked what the new coach is working on with his star, Holloway bluntly said, “from the shoulders up.”

“I tell him every day, ‘we can’t turn the switch off and on,’” Holloway said. “You have to prepare yourself every day to be ready. … If he’s in shape and his mind is right, he’s going to be a good player.”

The coach added: “He’s got to understand that being in college now three years, there’s certain expectations. He wants to be at the next level, so every day you got to prepare to be at the next level. I think he’s starting to understand that right now.”

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