December 26th, 2020 is a date that will forever be remembered in Austrian basketball and also in the basketball life of American Richaud Pack (192-G-1992, college: Maryland). In the NBA Laker fans will always remember where they were when Kobe Bryant scored 81 points, Boston Celtics fans will always remember the day in 1987 when Larry Bird made the steal and fed the ball to Dennis Johnon for the lay in and win over Detroit in the playoffs and fans in Philadelphia will always remember where they were when Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points as a Warrior. December 26th, 2020 was the day where Pack who played 82 NCAA games for 3 schools scored a mind boggling 55 points for BC GGMT Vienna in a thrilling 104-101 victory over Arcadia. He filled up the stat sheet recording 5 rebounds and 7 dimes and showed that despite putting up 32 shots he can also be unselfish. ”I remember a play where I was at 25 points in the first half and I was playing 1-on-1. Most coaches will let you shoot any shot at that point. No one will say anything. However, when a player helped on me, I passed to our captain Paul and he made a 3. I was always trying to make the right play’, stressed Richaud Pack. His basketball journey has been a slow one, but he has continued to be consistent where ever he has played and keeps steadily moving up the basketball ladder. After his massive season in Austria, he followed up that with another spectacular season in Israel in the second league called National league. He has always been a good scorer, but especially in the last two season he has cranked up his explosiveness to another level. Even if scoring 55 points is something that will be very difficult to repeat, he has that special mentality that will always help him be focused to be that consistent prolific scorer. ‘It’s an honor to have scored the 55 points in a game which is the all-time record for a single game there. Scoring 55 point in a game has only helped me. When I train, when I play in each game, I always remember that’s the type of player I’m capable of being. When I’m training and I get tired, I think to myself I have to train like a guy who is trying to score 50 again. So I’ll go the extra mile or two, literally. If I miss a few shots in a row, my confidence doesn’t shake because I’m a guy who can score 50. It’s helped me elevate my work ethic and build up my confidence. I can do it again’, warned Richaud Pack. The American who played at the University of Maryland has become an elite scorer and wants to continue with having the correct mindset and going the extra mile.
It is early summer 2022 and the ex Florida International university guard who currently sees sniper Steph Curry among the elite guards of all-time with Magic and Isaiah is kicking it back home with family in Houston, Texas after having completed his seventh professional season. He has already started training for the new season and like his family is in good health despite Covid still being a worldwide issue. Despite already being in the lab and grinding to get better, there was some time to reflect and look back at his last season in Israel. This past season he played with two clubs in Israel. The first was Hapoel Afula (Israel-National League) which was only a short stay where he played 3 games, but quickly showed that he needed no adjustment time averaging 22.3ppg, 3.7rpg, 2.7apg, 1.3spg. ‘I enjoyed my stay with Afula. The management and coach there really seemed to love my game and respected me as a person. I had a minor hand injury I had to tend to which required me to rehab and take time off. Once I was back healthy, I returned to the league. I was able to help my team and win the scoring title. (It was actually 5 or 6 games I believe because of the Cup games. The team won the Cup championship. I am proud of being a part of that’, stated Richaud Pack. The American who played a season at North Carolina A&T State University (NCAA) got going right away Hapoel Afula displaying his great scoring and playmaking and was fortunate to have a multi talented big like Michael Holyfield in the paint. ‘It was a really good experience playing with Big Mike! We connected on and off the court. I think he’s a guy I’ll call a friend for life. On the court it was great to have a big guy back there who had your back on defense. He directs traffic and protects the rim at an elite level’, stressed Richaud Pack.
The basketball globetrotter who thinks that there are very few people on earth better than Luka Doncic at basketball then made the jump to H.Izrael where he did all he could on the scoring end, but couldn’t get his team above 500 as it went 6-8 in his time there. Of course after wining the scoring title in Austria and being a walking bucket, he was on everyone’s scouting report and feared. It was only obvious that he would have extreme difficulty having to be consistent against opponents defenses, but he always held his own. ‘It was a challenge but I looked at the positives. The team’s record with me was much much better than without me. So even though we didn’t win as much as I would’ve liked, I looked at the games we did win as an accomplishment. I faced challenges scoring like double teams on a lot of pick and rolls, double teams whenever I tried to play one on one, ‘Jordan rules’ some games but real scorers always find a way’, warned Richaud Pack. One can always laud guys that show consistency in one country, but what about a guy like Pack who has exhibited his game in countries like Finland, Spain, Cyprus and Austria. In Israel he did it again playing against top import talent. ‘ I think the level of imports in the National League is very high. When you look at the guys in the league this year, you see legitimate NBA experience and top level Europe experience France Pro A, BBL Germany, Winners League Israel, etc). Not just played but produced. Guys who have averaged 20 points in Winners League Israel (Mark Lyons) led Winners league in rebounding (Demetrius Treadwell) and more. The talent level of the imports is the highest I’ve played with’, expressed Richaud Pack.
In Israel he had to match up against top quality guards each night and some of the toughest he faced had some great resumes like Vander Blue and Glen Rice Jr with NBA experience or guys like Mark Lyons, Jason Siggers, Kwame Vaughn. ‘I think each guy had a bag of tricks that I respected. Different guys could dominate in different ways’, said Richaud Pack. His stats with H.Izrael were remarkable as he averaged 24.4ppg, 5.2rpg, 4.5apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 80.8%. Obviously grinding like a manic in the off season while other guys put it off one week longer is vital for success, but for him, it is a combination of that and other things. ‘A lot of it is preparation and mentality. I study other teams, watch games, see where I can make plays and improve. It was an honor to win the scoring title amongst guys with so much talent’, commented Richaud Pack. He scored in double figures in every game and had more than 20 points in 12 games. His best scoring games were against E Netanya and M Maale Adum that he hit with 34 points apiece and scored 32 points against R Hamat Gan. He always has been a scorer, but he became n explosive scorer at the pro level the last two seasons. It will be interesting to see if he can take another step as his confidence level continues to rise. ‘Back to back scoring titles in two different leagues. I think it shows my game translates to different styles and different levels. I’m more dedicated and focused than I’ve ever been. My confidence is high because I know I’ve put the work in and I’m capable. I was a top 10 scorer in Finland at nearly 20ppg. I think if the season finished I would’ve finished at the top (covid year). I was averaging 24ppg the last 10 games there. In Cyprus, I was also top 3 in scoring. Trae Golden, my teammate, and Thad McFadden are the two who outscored me that year. Not bad company ‘, stated Richaud Pack.
But for the ex Maryland (NCAA) guard it isn’t just his incredible scoring that opponents have to be geared up to, but also his playmaking that has vastly improved. Three seasons ago he scored less than the last two seasons and also averaged only 1,7apg, while in the last two seasons he really upped his scoring and also averaged almost 5 assists per game. His balancing of scoring and playmaking has worked very well the last two seasons. ‘That’s where I feel I’ve improved the most. I can get my guy’s shots when they need them and where they need them. I can read where the advantage is going to be for other people and run a play based off that. To get to the next level I just have to expand the types of passes and reads I can make. It’s actually what I’m focusing on this entire summer. Being a better playmaker’, warned Richaud Pack. Obviously if your playing for losing teams, a player of Pack’s offensive talent can get a reputation for not bringing it at both ends, but team defense brings championships. If not everyone is on the same page, it will be difficult to win. ‘We had a short roster and a young team. This is the reality. Individually, I defend at an elite level. My coach and my teammates, or anyone I have guarded will tell you this. However, defense takes all 5 guys to be in sync. If there is one weakness, the offense will exploit it even if there is 4 really good defenders on the floor’, stressed Richaud Pack. This summer will be very important in how he goes about continuing to improve as a player. He will most likely play at an even higher level so he will have to be prepared. Play making ability, being more of a verbal leader and being in the best shape of his life will be vital, but also taking care of the ball. In the last two seasons he always had the ball in his hands while averaging 34 minutes per game. He only coughed up the ball 2,8 times per game which is pretty solid, but he is extremely focused to trim that down more this upcoming season. ‘It goes into making better reads. This year I was our only playmaker so a lot of the responsibility fell on me. Some turnovers come with having to be aggressive every play. Most were either off of passing or offensive fouls so the improvement will be more with making the correct reads and making them confidently more with my ball handling’, warned Richaud Pack.
So what is the next step for him who didn’t see the sequel to the classic Coming To America and didn’t think it needed one? Every American I have interviewed and that played in Israel have raved about the life style and it wasn’t any different for him. ‘I really enjoyed living in Israel. The people are full of life. There’s so much to see from the Dead Sea to other historical landmarks. The food is amazing! The weather is good yearround relative to other places in Europe. Covid presented some challenges throughout the season but all in all it was still good’, said Richaud Pack. Often when Americans dominate in the Israeli National League, they often get rewarded and move to the Winner League. Could he stay in Israel? ‘It’s a possibility. I’m not sure what the next step is. A lot of teams have called me and my agent. My agent is Israeli and so I think it might give me an edge. We’ve heard from teams already in France, Germany, Israel, and Champions League. That’s really encouraging’, stressed Richaud Pack. I personally would love to see him come to Germany and show once again he has the game to perform at another level and different style. ‘ It could become a reality. I have always wanted to play in Germany. I have friends and family there. 2 teams have already been in contact with my agent Eyal Grossbard. I don’t want to jinx it but one team is very interested. I try to never speak about these things in detail until a deal is done’, warned Richaud Pack. The basketball junkie who follows fellow players checking rosters, box scores and researches guys he has never met and believes he is a serial researcher by nature has especially kept tabs on Stanley Whittaker a guy like him who has had a chip on his shoulder his whole life and continues to move up the basketball ladder recently signed in Wurzburg in Germany in the easyCredit BBL. ‘Congrats to Stanley on signing in the BBL That’s a great step. I always look forward to meeting guys again at a higher level. On or off the court. From the guys I played against to the guys I played with. I just had dinner last week with a guy I played against 4 years ago, Jaylen Riley. We met during that game against each other and have been cool since. It’s cool to be in the same leagues and cities as familiar faces. Life goes full circle’, warned Richaud Pack. It was by chance 19 months ago where I came across Stanley Whittaker in my darkest times in my life where I was diagnosed with cancer and was in the hospital for 10 days after an operation and discovered Stanley Whittaker and Richaud Pack dominating in Austria. Wouldn’t it be cool to see both of them going head to head in Germany this season in the easyCredit BBL? I would love to see it. Life really goes full circle.
Tags : RICHAUD PACK, HAPOEL MIGDAL HAEMEK/EMEK IZRAEL/NAZARETH ELITE, GERMAN BASKETBALL