D-League Callup #7: Jeremy Richardson to the Hawks

D-League Callup #7: Jeremy Richardson to the Hawks
Jan 24, 2007, 02:43 pm
Just two days after being touted on DraftExpress and as possibly the top prospect in the D-League, Jeremy Richardson has been called up by the Atlanta Hawks for a 10-day contract.

Richardson was with his team, the Fort Worth Flyers, on a road trip in Boise, Idaho when he learned of the news this morning, and will fly out to Atlanta tomorrow (Thursday) evening to sign a contract and join the Hawks. He will not be playing in tonight’s game against the Idaho Stampede.

According to Richardson, his team’s trainer knocked on his hotel door this morning asking him to call their coach, Sidney Moncrief. He said he was “worried I might have done something wrong in their last game,” before being surprised with the good news. Richardson told us that the call-up to the Hawks “came as a total shock,” and was “the last thing on my mind.”

Richardson is averaging 18.5 points per game on 46.6% shooting from the field and 40.4% from 3-point range on the season. He went from a completely anonymous Division II player last season to one of the most intriguing prospects in the D-League thanks to a terrific showing at the D-League Showcase in Sioux Falls last week, which was well chronicled here on DraftExpress. According to sources, he also received serious interest following the D-League Showcase from San Antonio, Miami, Dallas and Boston -- none of whom had an available roster spot immediately available, though.

Fellow former D-Leaguer Dijon Thompson, who was called up by the Hawks on January 4th, will be subsequently released following two consecutive 10-day contracts. NBA rules force teams to either sign a player like Thompson for the rest of the season after twenty days or release him outright. With that in mind and considering the sorry state Atlanta is in -- sitting at 13-26 on the year and with rumors swirling regarding their head coach Mike Woodson being on the hot seat -- Richardson will have to perform extremely well to latch on to the team for the rest of the season. He says he plans on “bringing serious energy to Atlanta’s lineup and practices to show that I’m a workaholic, who plays hard-nose defense, knocks down shots, fits in and hopefully gives them a spark off the bench.”

The following is a scouting report on Richardson posted on Monday.

“A body like Rawle Marshall, and a game like Rip Hamilton” says D-League Senior Coordinator of Basketball Operations Brandon Barnett. “The wing player with the most upside in our league” says Director of Basketball Operations Chris Alpert. You think they like him in the D-League? After watching him play twice and sitting down with him between games, it’s not hard to tell why.

Jeremy Richardson started his college career at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. From there, he went to Division II powerhouse Delta State, where he was only named to the all-region second team by Daktronics. He got a little bit of exposure for himself by working out with John Lucas—who was extremely high on him it must be said—and earned himself NBA workouts with his local Houston Rockets, as well as the Washington Wizards and Milwaukee Bucks, mostly off Lucas’ recommendations. We had him pegged as a player who should be invited to the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament after watching tape on him against Florida State and from his conference tournament, but that wasn’t enough to get him an invite to the PIT or the pre-draft camp.

Without the assistance of an agent-- his father still handled his business for him as late as last week—he found his way onto a D-League team after being shrewdly selected in the 2nd round by Fort Worth. Since then, he’s averaging 18.5 points on 47% shooting from the field and 40% from the 3-point line. He was one of the hottest names amongst NBA scouts during the D-League Showcase in Sioux Falls, and it really wouldn’t shock anyone if he were to be called up this season once non-NBA playoff teams start bringing up players with upside that they want to take a look at.

Upside would be a good place to start his scouting report. Standing 6-7 with an extremely long wingspan, Richardson has great size for the swingman position. He is a very good athlete who can get to where he needs on the court thanks to his quickness, and he elevates off the floor smoothly for mid-range jumpers with nice separation. Richardson has a quick release on his shot, and he made a great living for himself in Sioux Falls by coming off screens and curls endlessly knocking down shots. He didn’t force a thing in either of his two games, which helped him hide his biggest weakness at the moment—his ball-handling skills. Richardson is much improved in this area compared with what we saw in college, but he still has a ways to go. He prefers to pull-up from mid-range rather than taking the ball all the way to the hoop, and therefore is averaging less than 3 free throws a game in the D-League so far. His frame is also on the lanky side, which doesn’t help him much in this area. Defensively, though, he does a good job due to his length and work ethic.

As noted, he should be considered a prime candidate for a call-up this season, and will surely be an interesting player to follow over the summer.

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