FORT WAYNE – Just before the ball went up for the Mad Ants game against Bakersfield last Sunday, Ants coach Duane Ticknor called starting forward Anthony Richardson to his side and asked the 6-foot-7 forwards opinion on the first play the team would run.
And (Richardson) goes, Coach, thats the exact same thing I was thinking, Ticknor said.
Added Richardson: He said, Maybe its not a good thing for you to be thinking like me.
Although there are still plenty of years left in the 29-year-old legs of the man his teammates call A-Rich, the former Florida State player who averages 13.9 points per game hopes to become a coach once his playing days are behind him.
I love coaching, he says. I love helping people. Thats something Ive been looking into.
For now, though, his immediate task is to help the Mad Ants (19-20) finish strong with 11 games remaining on their D-League schedule. Now that the teams leading scorer, Luke Harangody (19.9 ppg) has left the team with a sore knee and probably wont return, the Ants will need Richardsons offensive potential even more.
It probably becomes a little bit more crucial for him to score with a little more consistency, Ticknor said. With Luke gone, (Richardson) needs to be a more consistent scorer. We cant have a 28-point game, then a seven-point game. We need him in that 15-point range night after night after night. Hopefully every once in a while hell pop a 25-point game in there with it.
Richardson has been in double figures seven of the last eight games, including the last three when hes had 22, 16 and 15 points. And he popped for a 28-point game in the D-League Showcase in Reno, Nev., in early January, when he hit 11 of 13 shots.
The performance couldnt have come at a better time or place.
I had a really good Showcase, and I made some pretty good connections there, Richardson said.
Ultimately, thats the whole thing in the D-League; you want to go to another level. I think Ive made some pathways there.
Richardson doesnt have the illusion that the NBA will call him tomorrow. Hes been around too long to fool himself, even though he wouldnt turn down The League if it called.
There are plenty of well-paying jobs overseas.
I say that people are looking for the call-up instead of the call-over, Richardson said. I know my first year in the D-League, I played and averaged about 15, and the next year I went overseas and made more money than I had before. Im in the same opportunity to do that exact same thing.
If you only look at one opportunity – lets use the Showcase for example – there are a lot of scouts from the NBA there, but there are a lot of scouts from overseas, also. When I got into that, Im not even looking at the NBA scouts. You can make a great living overseas. Its everyones goal to be in the NBA, but everyones not going to make it. There arent that many spots.