Kris Richard is a 27 year old 196cm guard playing his seventh season and was recently with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen (Germany-BBL). He was surprisingly released recently despite putting up solid stats averaging 11,5ppg, 2,0rpg and 2,6apg. He has gathered professional experience in Mexico, Kazakhstan, and Latvia. Last season he played with VEF Riga (Latvia-LBL) playing 26 VTB United League games averaging 9.7ppg, 3.2rpg, 3.1apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 40.1%, 3PT: 37.1%, FT: 87.1%; In the Latvian LBL, he played 24 games averaging 11.1ppg, 3.6rpg, 3.9apg, Steals-3(1.8spg), FGP: 42.0%, 3PT: 41.4%, FT: 80.8%. He played at Tulane(NCAA) from 2007-2011 playing a total of 120 NCAA games and as a senior played 30 games averaging 11.4ppg, 6.1rpg, 2.3apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 39.2%, 3PT: 33.7%, FT: 71.0%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball recently before his release.
Kris thanks for talking to German Hoops. Your career continues to be a spiral going up as after playing in Mexico, Kazakhstan, and Latvia, you are now in the best league that you have played in in your seventh professional season. Has the road to Germany felt a bit long and difficult at times?
Yeah, the BBL is very competitive, same as the VTB was for me last season. It’s definitely been a blessing to have continued success and professional progression each year. Each season has had its challenges, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.
How was your mentality through your first six professional season. Has it felt a bit like a Cinderella story or do you feel it was just part of your special process of getting here?
Yeah for sure, with all the negativity that comes with playing at lower levels it was hard not to get discouraged and try to find another profession. In the basketball arena you are your own business. You construct a plan, pray, and trust that your process will work in your favor.
You reached the semi-finals in Kazakhstan three times and the playoffs twice in Latvia including winning the title last season. Now your in Germany and not winning. The club recently dismissed head coach Tyron Mccoy. How difficult has this season been for you?
Yeah we are having adverse times for sure. Tyron Mccoy is a great person and a good coach, we were all sorry to hear about the change. However, there’s still time to turn things around and we are working daily to do so.
Obviously the EasyCredit BBL is very competitive, but Tuebingen has talent. The team has done a solid job averaging 76 points per game, but allow 90 points on average. What have been the biggest problems on the defensive end and why doesn´t the team seem to be on the same page?
Regardless of how good or bad a teams defense or offense is it boils down to effort a lot of times. I think at crucial points of the game we were missing that 3rd or 4th effort play to get us over the hump
For me the the record of Tuebingen has just been surprising. With three very talented veterans in Jared Jordan, Ryan Brooks and Barry Stewart that have played here non stop for years, your self and Tony Easley that have much experience coupled with talented Germans, do you feel like the team still has a lot of upside that just hasn´t translated on the court yet?
My guys are all professionals and there’s no doubt in my mind that we will dig our way out of this situation.
How much of a joy has it been playing with Mr pass Jared Jordan? Have you picked up on one or the other vital things in his passing game?
Jared is a leader and it’s been great playing with him. I try to learn something from everyone I play with each year.
Let´s talk about your game. You’re a very versatile guard that can play the positions 1-3. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would you compare your game to?
Jason Terry or Iman Shumpert
You’re a guy that can fill up the stat sheet on a regular basis, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?
That’s tough. But I’m a team guy so I’ve always tried to make the play that’s best for the team instead of myself
Your having a very solid season in the EasyCredit BBL and have needed no adjustment period. Has your vast experience helped you the most with being able to adjust or has it been other factors?
Like I said the VTB last season was very competitive as well and similar in style of play a bit. So coming to the BBL I was a bit prepared for the up tempo game here.
Last season you played with VEF Riga (Latvia-LBL) winning the Latvian title. What was so special about this team and title season?
I think there was a level of chemistry among the players that rarely happens with a group of guys who are together for the first time. And to win a title only made it an even better experience.
What kind of experience was it seeing Abdul Gaddy again this season when you played against Wurzburg losing? How vital was his play last season in the season title run?
It was interesting seeing him on the other side but also fun and competitive nonetheless. Everyone played a vital role last season, from the young guys to the trainers to the fans.
Last season you held your own in the VTB League and played against some Euroleague teams. You lost twice to CSKA Moscow, but in one game led all scorers with 23 points. Does a game like that continue to motivate you to continue to work hard in reaching the next level?
Of course, my goal is to play at the highest level possible. I’m always working to get better and praying that things will pay off.
After three seasons in Kazakhstan, you moved to Liepaja/Triobet (Latvia-LBL) putting up good stats playing 41 games: Score-5(14.8ppg), 4.2rpg, 2.8apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 48.1%, 3PT: 44.8%, FT: 72.0%;In the Baltic League you played 15 games: Score-4(16.8ppg), 4.4rpg, 1.9apg, Steals-3(2.1spg), FGP: 56.8%, 3PT: 25.4%, FT: 78.0%. You had good seasons in Kazakhstan, but was this season your real breakthrough considering you led a team to the semi-finals in a different league than before?
It was one of my best years statistically for sure, but only due to the fact that I had tremendous support in Liepaja from my team as well as from the coaching staff.
You played your first three seasons with BK Kaspiy Aktau (Kazakhstan-D1). What was your wake up call to playing your first season in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home in Beaumont, Texas?
I wanted to play ball! There wasn’t any wake up call needed.
Staying three seasons in one place isn´t so normal in Europe, but you decided to continue to develop your game there. How did you develop your game further there that has made you the player that you are today?
Kazakhstan gave me the opportunity to develop my game a lot mentally, most importantly. As far as stepping into a leadership role and learning to be more aggressive
As a rookie you played with Halcones UV Xalapa (Mexico-LNBP): 16 games: 4.9ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.3apg. After a solid career at Tulane(NCAA) you didn´t make the jump to Europe right away? When you look back at how your professional career has gone was it a bit out of the ordinary that you had to prove yourself in a league in Mexico first?
Well it was the only option at that time. With the NBA lockout going on there weren’t many jobs available that my agent (at the time) had access
You were teammates with Davin White in Mexico. He tore up that league and left half way through that season and went to Germany and the rest is history. He is playing his fourth season in the Spanish ACB. Is Davin White a good example of a guy that was unjustly off the radar of teams in Europe early in his career?
Yes for sure, Davin has always been a good player. His story was and still is motivation for me and I’m sure for others as well.
You played at Tulane from 2007-2011. What kind of experience was it playing in New Orleans and getting your college experience there. When did you know that you could go the professional route?
New Orleans is my second home, it was amazing playing and living there throughout my collegiate career. I had no idea I’d go pro actually! It wasn’t my first priority at the time
You played three seasons for head coach David Dickerson and one season for Ed Conroy. How did these two guys help groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
I have to give credit to every coach I’ve had during and before my college career for playing a role in preparing me for a professional career. My father (Dwight Richard) being my first coach in little dribblers, Kenny Pickens who coached me through middle school ball, Andre Boutte my high school coach who made me play varsity ball my freshman year, and Chris Walker my AAU coach for the summer circuit.
What memories do you have of Kendall Timmons? Since leaving Tulane he has played in Portugal, Iceland and now is playing his second season in the German fourth league. Is he a guy in your opinion that should be in a higher league?
I don’t know his role now in the professional arena, but Kendall has always been a guy who can make the team go. At Tulane although younger was often the deciding factor in some big wins for us.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Kendall Timmons?
Me of course!
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?
Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Deandre Jordan, Demarcus Cousins
Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title and is still three away from Michael Jordan. Where does Lebron stand right now in your opinion in the never ending debate of who is the best of all-time?
MJ in my opinion is the undisputed best
There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell Westbrook?
How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?
I have no clue at the moment.
Where will the journey of the Houston Rockets go this season with Chris Paul and James Harden in the back court. Do they have enough to make a serious run at the title or is something missing?
I’m hoping so, I’m always in support of the Texas teams. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.
How do you rate the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade? Who got the better deal and which team will profit better in the long run?
I’m hoping that the Celtics with Kyrie now can turn things around and become a title contender again. And Isaiah is also a great player so Cleveland only strengthened their roster with his addition.
Where will the journey of the Oklahoma Thunder go this season with Westbrook, George and Anthony? Can they make a serious run in the west?
It will be interesting to watch how things turn out for them also.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The Justice League recently came to theaters. I’m a big DC and Marvel fan.
Thanks Kris for the chat.