Eleven Fighting Illini #3: DJ Richardson November 7, 2012
6′-3″, 195 lbs.
Peoria Central HS / Findlay Prep, Nevada
What I Know About Him:
Lots. It feels like DJ has been around forever. We first heard of him in 2005 or so when he was a high school freshman. After a drought, Peoria was producing another top-100 guard. And in one 48 hour period in October of 2007, we landed DJ, Brandon Paul, and Joseph Bertrand. So strange that three of the top four players on this list (spoiler alert: Brandon Paul might be ranked higher on this list) all picked Illinois within 48 hours of each other in 2007.
DJ arrived with much fanfare – Big Ten Freshman Of The Year fanfare. But after that award, he faded a bit. His shooting numbers haven’t lived up to his freshman year, and he endured several shooting slumps. His former coach found a great way to get him out of these slumps, though – he would yell “no” as DJ rose to fire a three. Confidence builder, that Weber.
What I Expect From Him:
I’m not gonna lie – I’m hoping beyond hope beyond hope for an outstanding senior season from DJ. I said several times last year that I continually expected DJ to snap in the middle of a game – he’d rise to shoot a baseline jumper, Weber would yell “no, DJ” mid-shot, and Richardson would snap, screaming “WOULD YOU JUST LET ME PLAY BASKETBALL??” at his coach.
Because I built that up to such ridiculous levels, I’m now expecting DJ to have this fantastic senior season playing for a coach who yells “yes” instead of “no”. It probably won’t happen like that, but I’m curious to see what Green Light DJ looks like rather than I’d Better Not Screw Up DJ.
I’d also like to see him revisit the baseline jumper. Remember how Frankie had that pull-up game? Not really the Joe Bertrand floater, but the “find an open spot on the baseline or near the elbow and pull up for a soft jumper” game. Remember that? DJ can do a little of that. He certainly does’t have Frankie’s handle, but he can still regularly knock down that shot. I’m hoping to see more of that this year.
Above all, I just want to see Brandon and DJ go out on top. If they can lead us back to the tournament in their senior season, well, they’ll cement a soft spot in my heart for many years to come. Let’s do this, Green Light DJ.