Considering that the other top prospects here were pretty well known, Ryan Richards
was one of the most interesting features in advance of this Nike International Junior Tournament. And while he had some productive games, he didnt blow away people with his performances, leaving some mixed feelings about his talent and feel for the game.
First of all, we have to always take into consideration his youth, as Richards is a 1991-born player, but still he surprised with a pretty strong frame for his age, especially his upper body, despite being reportedly a rather skinny guy not long ago. He stands 6-10 and could be done growing (he looks physically rather mature); its nice size, but not outstanding considering his array of skills and his average athleticism, although he does enjoy a mammoth wingspan.
Left-handed, Richards showed a decent perimeter stroke, displaying increasing consistency as the tournament advanced, from the mid-range area and out to the three-point line. However, he didnt look like a face-up player, and if hes not shooting the ball, chances are you will see him bruising in the low post. Not a finesse player, he relies on his strength, his length, some basic footwork and a certain ability to finish with his left hand, to get the job done. His footwork is pretty raw, and he really doesnt have much in the ways of moves at this point.
On defense he looked again pretty physical, and was probably the most successful player guarding the MVP Dejan Musli
all tournament long. His length and size also makes him a very solid rebounder. In the team setting, his poor awareness stood out at times, though, particularly when forced to step out and hedge a screen or rotate in the post. Hes not the most reactive player youll find.
You can feel the game doesnt come easily to Richards. He doesnt look like the most naturally gifted player, and his decision making often looks underwhelming. Hes not much of a passer, and generally speaking, his team Real Madrid had a pretty disappointing showing compared to what we had witnessed in LHospitalet. Despite his very solid production, Richards might be partially to blame.