Richaud Pack is a 28 year old 190cm guard from Birmingham, Michigan that is playing his fifth professional season and first with BC GGMT Vienna (Austria-BSL). Last season he played with UU-Korihait Uusikaupunki (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 18 games averaging 17.9ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 61.3%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 90.2%. In 2018-2019 he played with Hestia Menorca (Spain-LEB Silver) playing 33 games averaging 13.6ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 31.7%, FT: 67.2%. In the 2017-2018 season he played with Ametx Zornotza (Spain-EBA) playing 33 games averaging 20.4ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 34.7%, FT: 78.9%. In the 2015-2016 season he played with Michelin Etha Engomis Nicosia (Cyprus-Division A) playing 6 FIBA Europe Cup games averaging 11.3ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 35.5%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 90.9%; and played 21 Cypriot Division A games: Score-4 (16.8ppg), 2.7rpg, 1.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 37.3%, FT: 84.9%. He started his basketball career in 2010 with FIU (NCAA) where he stayed until 2012, but played only 19 NCAA games. His next destination was N.Carolina A&T (NCAA) where he played 28 games averaging 17.4ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 51.0%, 3PT: 39.2%, FT: 81.7%. He moved one more time and as a senior played for Maryland (NCAA) playing 35 games averaging 5.8ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 46.8%, 3PT: 32.6%, FT: 69.7%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.
Richaud, thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?
Hello Miles, I am in Vienna, Austria. Basketball life is treating me well. I’m in a good mental and physical space at the moment and I’m grateful for it.
How is it in general for you now as a professional basketball player having to deal with the daily grind of sticking to regulations because of COVID-19? What has been the biggest challenge for you?
The biggest challenge was actually dealing with Covid-19. I actually had it. As an asthmatic, it was hard on my respiratory system. I was out of practice for almost 3 weeks. Leading up to the first game of the season, I hadn’t practiced but a few days. I was careful before, but I’ve been beyond careful since then. I travel with gloves, sanitization, and mask at all times.
How did you deal with COVID-19 the last months in the States. What was for you the biggest challenge with daily life?
It didn’t disrupt much of my daily life in the states. I used the time without distractions to lock in to my workout routine. I wasn’t able to travel for vacations, which was unfortunate because I really like to travel. I had older relatives who didn’t leave the house or allow any visitors so not being able to see certain family members to keep them safe was probably the hardest part.
How do you feel did COVID-19 make you stronger as a man?
The time where everything was closed allowed me to focus on what’s truly important. Family, health, and purpose. I spent so much time with family, working out with my family members, and working towards my purpose. It showed me how much I could grow without any distractions.
Your playing your 5th and first professional season with BC GGMT Vienna (Austria-BSL).Have you ever gotten offers from German teams the last years? It’s too bad you haven’t played for a German club yet.
I have not received any offers from German teams. My first time ever visiting Europe, I saw my first ever European basketball game which was a game of the Frankfurt Fraport Skyliners. From that point on, I had a fascination with the BBL and German basketball. I could definitely see myself playing there in the future.
How is the whole COVID-19 situation in Austria and the city Vienna? How are you copping with life and still trying to be the best player that you can be?
As I mentioned earlier, I had it myself. For a moment, Vienna was a hotspot. It’s hard living in a city as nice as Vienna, and not doing anything. I would love to visit more museums, castles, and other buildings that are so beautiful but I know it’s safer to stay to myself so that I can have my best chance at full health.
Your 1-1 so far and scored 34 points, but lost the game. How tough is it for you personally having a great scoring game, but losing?
It’s funny you ask this. In the first game, an opponent had 32 points against us, but we won! I made the shot the secured the game with 10 seconds left. Nothing else mattered. I told one of my teammates after, I would rather score 10 points and win than score 30 something points and lose, so I was more than happy. We are currently shorthanded (2-3 missing players). Once we have our full team, I expect championship caliber play and a lot of wins for this team.
You made 17-20 free throws, the most ever attempts as a professional. In Cyprus you onec were 11/11 in a Fiba Europe Cup game against AEK Athens. Was there something different in your approach that helped you get 20 free throws?
I was very aggressive. I felt there was no one on the other team that could stay in front of me. I overheard the coach tell his players that if I got passed them, to foul me so I didn’t get in a rhythm with a bunch of easy shots. I used this to my advantage and made sure I beat my player off the dribble as much as possible.
What kind of impression has this team given you? It has some nice Americans with Jason Detrick and Duke Shelton and talented Austrians. What can this team achieve this season?
I believe we have the best team in the league. We have players who have played in the ACB, EuroLeague, Fiba EuropeCup, Greece, etc. A coach who has won championships in Italy. A President who has played at the highest level in France and Italy as well. The experience and talent is unmatched in my opinion. Once we are at full health as a team and have all of our players cleared to play, the sky is the limit.
Our last interview was in the summer of 2016 after your rookie season in Cyprus. You had had a scoring season with North Carolina A&T State University (NCAA) averaging 17,0ppg, but in other seasons like at Maryland you didn’t. You averaged in double figures in scoring in Cyprus as well. Since then you have exploded as a scorer in Spain and Finland. What did you do different to become that dominant scorer, or was it really always in your blood?
Scoring has always been in my blood. I have and always will be a scorer. Before a hand injury, I was in double figures in scoring at Maryland. I think I can score with the best of them. Aside from the fact I played with Melo Trimble (ACB), Dez Wells (CBA), Jake Layman (NBA), Robert Carter Jr (Turkey/CBA) haha shots are not as easy to come by playing with four potential NBA players. I’ve worked on my game a lot and have been able to expand the ways in which I can score. I think that’s the biggest difference.
You have experienced so much in the last 4 seasons and seen many new styles. How are you a better player today then in 2016?
I can play multiple positions. My defense has improved. My confidence has improved. I’m much more of a professional. I take every day with the utmost seriousness. Any coach or GM I have played for will tell you that. I can read the pick and roll 10x better and I can score off of the dribble a lot better.
Your mentor and former coach was Isiah Thomas who played for the Detroit Pistons taught you to never let pressure bother me and to always stay under control. How has that helped you most the last years?
I think when it comes times to get jobs, something that might attract coaches is that I always show up in the big moments. I don’t let time, score, or pressure break me. I’m my best in those moments. It’s allowed me to help win my team a lot of games.
You had many ups and downs at Maryland (NCAA) in your senior year. Your head coach then Juan Dixon taught you how to mentally get out of a slump. Does his advice and your experience then help you in tough moments now that you may have during a game to help you get back on track?
Absolutely. I still train with Juan Dixon, who’s now the coach at Coppin State, in the summers! He’s still helping me add to my game. My mental is 10x better now when I’m not making shots. Something that really helps me is knowing I can affect the game in other ways. I can shut down my man, get steals, communicate, and get other players shots.
On what area’s of your game are you still working on now to help you improve your game?
I work on pick and roll reads and a lot of 1-on-1 off of the dribble play with my trainer Rudy in the summers. I want to be able to generate points for my team in as many ways as possible. I think this will be my best year in assists. I’m working on the mental parts as well. Staying aggressive, making the right play at the right time. So that takes a lot of film and studying.
You have played in the Spanish EBA and LEB Silver and Finland and now your in Austria. It seems like teams of higher levels still aren’t giving you that real break through opportunity. Does that bother you and how heavy is your chip on your shoulder?
I took a year and a half off after being a top 5 scorer in Cyprus and averaging double figures in EuropeCup with 40% 3 pointers my rookie season. I had interests from big leagues after that. I never imagined I would have to start over from the bottom when I came back. I initially took a year off because my father had a stroke. Before passing away, he told me to keep my basketball dream alive, so I returned. I know that if I continue to get better and produce at my best, I will get the real breakthrough opportunity. I understand that I’m on God’s time, not mine. I just have to work in the meantime. I try to focus on dominating where I am rather than focusing on where I could be or where I might go in the future
One thing that I have noticed that you have been able to adapt to different leagues and styles the last seasons very well. Do you study extra tape in your free time or how do you explain your extreme consistency the last years?
I always watch games from the previous years in whichever league I am going to. I want to know how the refs call the game, how the pace of the game is, how the players are spaced on the floor in the league. I look for patters. I pick out spots where I know I can succeed. I also think I have a game that translates to multiple styles of play. I can be a catch and shoot guy. I can be a 1-2 dribble and score guy or I can be the guy that takes difficult shots at the end of a possession.
Last season you played with UU-Korihait Uusikaupunki (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 18 games averaging 17.9ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 61.3%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 90.2%What kind of experience was Finland and what did your game get most from this experience?
I really enjoyed Finland. I had the opportunity to play with my childhood best friend Trey Zeigler. I also still have a really good relationship with my old Coach Jarno Nikula. The floor is very spaced in Finland and the national players can shoot it really well. Finnish players are some of the best shooters in Europe in my opinion. Whenever you make a mistake defensively, you pay for it with a 3 pointer. It elevated my awareness on defense
Was your 23 point game in the slim exciting 88-86 victory against Kouvot one of your most memorable games in Finland?
It definitely was! That was sort of my breakout game. After that, I think I averaged 22ppg the rest of the season and only shot under 50% once or twice. That game gave me the confidence I needed moving forward. We were able to win some games after that against teams like Kataja and KTP. The momentum for the team and I continued after the Kouvot game.
In 2018-2019 you played with Hestia Menorca (Spain-LEB Silver) playing 33 games averaging 13.6ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 31.7%, FT: 67.2%. What kind of experience was it living on the island Menorca? It is a beautiful place and a lot quieter than Mallorca. Were you able to really concentrate a lot on basketball here and work on your game more than in other places?
Menorca is a beautiful island. The food and views were unbelievable. The off days were like being on vacation. The team had and ACB caliber gym (from when they were in the ACB) with unlimited gym access. So I was able to get in the gym a lot. Luckily for me, most of my teams professionally have given me all the gym time I need.
How did your game profit in the LEB Silver league in Spain. This is Spain’s third league, but has many talented players and a good league to help players make the next step?
The game is very technical. You can grow in any league in Spain because the basketball is such a high quality through and through. In my years in Spain I played against guys like Jalen Riley (France Pro A) and Jalen Nesbitt (Den Bosch Fiba Europe Cup). It’s a league with quality players who aren’t recognized, working to make the next step.
In 2017-2018 you played with Ametx Zornotza (Spain-EBA) playing 33 games averaging 20.4ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 34.7%, FT: 78.9%. How humbling was it coming from the first division in Cyprus to the fourth division in Spain? Did your exceptional play really give your overall confidence level another boost?
It was hard mentally. I knew I was better and could do better. Looking back, it was not the best basketball decision to go there for my career after a year off. I probably could’ve waited for a better job. However, I don’t regret it. I grew and I learned. The management and coaches at Zornotza were some of the best people I’ve ever met in life. I still communicate with them to this day. Those are some really good people. I love Basque Country.
You had a huge 32 point game against Cantbasket in an exciting 89-88 win, but also exploded with 43 points in a 76-72 win over Santurtzi. Which game was more memorable?
The 32 point game was more memorable because my family was there. The smiles on their faces was priceless. They came all the way to Spain just to see me.
You still haven’t won a professional title. How big is your hunger to finally get that professional chip?
I lost in the finals with Zornotza vs Menorca. I was one game away from winning a championship. I am super hungry to get that first professional title. It’s one of the reasons I came to GGMT Vienna. I knew we would be a top 2-3 team in the league and have a chance to win a championship.
What other goals do you have as a player besides winning a title? Do you feel like you will get that opportunity from a top league in Europe?
I want to win player of the year on a championship team. Whatever league or team that is. My goal is to be the best player on the best team. That would mean a lot for me. I do feel I will get that opportunity in due time.
Is it tough to see a guy like Trae Golden your ex teammate in Cyprus career go in another direction. Do you sometimes question why you haven’t gotten some breaks down the line?. Do you still talk to him today?
Haha it’s not tough at all. In fact, his story inspires me. He got cut in Finland and didn’t play for a year. Now he’s considered one of the best players in the world. That’s one of my best friends! We talk literally every day. We will be in each others weddings. I’m super proud of him. His grit has inspired me. When I need advice about how to produce more, he’s the guy I call. His mentality is unmatched. I understand you have to get the right opportunity at the right time and that big break will come. Leading Austria in scoring is a start. Winning a championship will make that happen. You will see me at the top leagues in Europe, just like my friend Trae Golden.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Who has been your toughest player that you have battled in Europe over the years? In our last interview you said that Brandon Heath was your toughest cover and not Thaddus Mcfadden. Have you noticed the amazing jump Mcfadden has made in the last years just leading his team to the 2020 BCL title
To this day in my professional career, Brandon Heath was still my hardest player to guard. At the time, I was a rookie and he was a veteran. He understood the game so much better than me at that time. I’m proud of Thad McFadden! He’s from the same state as me, Michigan. What he has done is amazing. He keeps thriving and keeps winning. I have watched him dominate in Europe and make so many big shots! However, I scored almost 40 points against his AEK team. It gives me belief and motivation that I can follow in his footsteps
What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
I believe Michael Jordan is the greatest and LeBron James is the best. There is a difference in my opinion LOL but that explanation I can probably only express verbally
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was Outlaw King.
Thanks Rachaud for the chat.