The Rickey Paulding Appreciation Week With Keith Hornsby: Rickey Is a Kind Soul With A Killer Instinct

Keith Hornsby (192-SG-1992, college: LSU) is a 30 year old 193cm shooting guard from Mouth Of Wilson, Virginia that is playing his sixth professional season with Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans (France-Betclic ELITE ProA). Last season he played with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg averaging 14.4ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT-1 (50.9%), FT: 90.3%; BBL Cup: 2 games: 11.5ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.0apg. In the 2019-2020 season he played with Polski Cukier Torun (Poland-EBL) playing 19 games averaging 15.1ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 42.2%, FT: 75.7%. He played his first 3 professional seasons with the Texas Legends (D-League) playing 116 games and averaging 4.5ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.0apg in his first season, 10.1ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.6apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 49.4%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 78.3% in his second season and 12.3ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.5apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.2%, 3PT-2 (49.1%), FT: 84.1% in his final season. He began his basketball career with Oak Hill Academy. He then split time with 2 schools with the University of North Carolina – Asheville (NCAA) and : Louisiana State University (NCAA) playing a total of 116 NCAA games. His best season with the: University of North Carolina – Asheville (NCAA) was his last season where he averaged: 15.0ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.1apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 46.8%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT: 92.5%. He put up very consistent stats with Louisiana State University (NCAA) in both years averaging 13.4ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 44.9%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 78.4% and in his senior year averaging 13.1ppg, 2.9rpg, 1.6apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 56.8%, 3PT: 41.5%, FT: 81.8%. He spoke to about the incredible career of Rickey Paulding.

Thanks Keith for talking to Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?

Hey Miles. I’m currently in Pau, France right now preparing to play the second game of quarterfinals. We lost the first game at home two days ago so our back is against the wall today. Our roster has some serious injury depletion, but we’ll still come out and compete hard of course.

Your playing this season with Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans (France-Betclic ELITE ProA) and have reached the playoffs. Your having another great season. How would you compare the France Pro A with the easyCredit BBL? Which league would you say is the skill level better?

I would say the French league is a bit tougher. It’s more physical and athletic from what I’ve experienced, although the BBL might take the cake in the basketball IQ department. They’re similar levels, and I do think if I’d played last year in the BBL under normal circumstances with full fans and heightened emotional environments, the level of play may have been naturally higher.

Your once again shooting out the lights. Did some of your incredible accuracy from last season carry over to this season?

Haha I’d hope so. I never go into a season with the die hard goal of shooting an incredible percentage. It’s just kind of happened. I’ll say this year it’s more impressive , because many of my shots have been more difficult. A lot more pin downs and off the dribble threes as opposed to more catch and shoots last year in Oldenburg. I also adore the Spalding basketball the French league plays with much like the BBL.

Rickey Paulding is playing his farewell game on June 4. What is the first thing that you think of when you hear the name Rickey Paulding?

Legend and genetic specimen! Haha Although Rickey would never like to be called a legend or anything so boast worthy becuase he’s so unbelievably humble.

Have you ever seen a player who has been able to play so well at a high level at his age?

No. Not even close. He turned 38 last season when I was with him and was doing things on the court that players 10-15 years younger couldn’t do. That’s why I call him a genetic specimen. Guys built like Rickey don’t come around too often.

What was your first impression when you met him? Was his smile and personality instantly infectious?

My first impression was that he was soft spoken and quiet. He can obviously be vocal, but I wouldn’t call him an extrovert who wears his emotions on his sleeve. He’s a kind soul, but on the court he has a killer instinct that’s engrained deep within him. Oh and his smile. Yes, it’s infectious. When Rickey laughs, it’s contagious.

What was your first impression when you saw him on the court? What was the first thing that really stuck out?

My first impression was that he has an incredible ability for making difficult shots. I suppose that comes with almost two decades of professional experience. I’d be matched up with him many times in practice , and I’d know exactly what he was about to do on offense, and he’d still find a way to score on me. I would contest the hell out of him, and it would still go in many times. He’d go down the court grinning at times, and me (in frustration) couldn’t help but do the same. Guarding him made me a stronger defender. He was also so nice. If he fouled you in practice he’d apologize if it seemed too rough

You played a whole season with him. Is there anything specific that you feel you were able to take from his presence on the court?

It was a successful season with him. One thing I can take away from him is the influence he can have on you during games and he wouldn’t even know it. There’d be times I’d be dead tired during games, and I’d glance at Rickey and see him still going full tilt 100%. I’d be thinking ‘if Rickey can find the energy right now , then I have no business succumbing to fatigue and being tired’

In your season he had so many great games. For instance exploding for 36 points in a loss against Crailsheim or hitting Bamberg and Munich for 36 points. What game will you most remember from him?

That Crailsheim game was unreal. We ended up losing, but we may have lost by 40 if Rickey wasn’t playing at god-like levels. Everything he threw up seemed to go in.

What is your fondest moment with him on and off the court that you will never forget?

His buzzer beater in Game 2 of the playoffs last year against Ulm was great. We all ran up to him and gave him the normal ‘buzzer beater’ treatment. Rickey is one of those guys where when he does great things, you can’t help but want to share the moment with him and make it even better.

What kind of legacy do you believe will he leave in the EasyCredit BBL? Do feel that there will ever be another American that will be able to reach his longevity in that league?

I think Rickey is one of a kind. A one and done. There will never be another American player like Rickey in the BBL. To have such loyalty to one club for fifteen seasons is incredible unique and I don’t see that happening again. Never say never of course, but the chances are slim. Maybe we’re experiencing the start of the next Rickey right now in the BBL and we just don’t know it yet

Please leave some closing words for Rickey Paulding.

He knows who the real Tiger are. Them LSU Tigahhs!!! Geaux Tigers baby!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s