San Antonio Spurs’ draftee Ryan Richards and the Great Britain national team returned to work today with a 96 to 70 victory against the Netherlands in exhibition play.
Richards wasn’t even a lock to make the team but he ended up finishing the game as the leading scorer with 16 points. Eric Boateng, formerly of the D-League Austin Toros finished with 13 points.
The British led by 12 points at the end of the third quarter 67 to 55. Going into the fourth quarter Richards only had five points for the game. Thanks to Sam Neter of HoopsFix.com, he provided a live stream camera but there wasn’t a timing indicator, as I didn’t have a box score either. I’m going to approximately say there where about four to five minutes when Richards was reinserted into the game with five points.
Richards enters the game with about five minutes in the fourth quarter. He immediately scores on a two-point fadeaway basket from about 10 feet away. Before hitting the fadeaway, he got the ball, squared up his defender, drove two feet to the left, posted, and then hit the jumper.
Richards is a very quick defender, he can guard players on the perimeter and on the low block very well. He stayed with a very quick post player who began his moves at the three-point line and got into the post against Richards. Richards barely missed the block but fouled the Netherlands player.
This next play was beautiful. The Brits passed the ball to Richards at the top of the three-point line. He drove around the perimeter to the right side and gave the ball to a teammate in the post. Richards then went under the basket and the teammate threw him the ball back for a give-and-go. When Richards caught the ball, he spun between two defenders and finished at the rim for a left-handed hook shot.
The next play Richards caught the ball at about 13-feet. He squared up against his defender a-la Kobe Bryant and quickly sunk the jumper in his defenders face. Richards has a very very fast release for a 20-year old playing at the National level.
At this point Richards had created his own six-to-two run.
Although Richards is a post player, he also put his versatility on display. His team got double-teamed on the right baseline. Richards was open on a three pointer at the upper left three, his teammate passed him the ball and as soon as he caught it, with no hesitation, he shot and made the three-pointer fluidly.
On the other side of the court, a guard got through the Brits’ perimeter defense and guess who was there to stop the penetration? Ryan Richards’ left hand. Richards easily rotated and blocked the driving guards’ layup.
On the next sequence, Richards caught the ball at the top of the three-point line, crossed and drove on his man to the right to get into the paint. He was fouled because his speed was just too much for his opponent. Richards would make both of his free throws for his 16th point of the game.
The buzzer rang and Richards ended up being the scoring leader.
It was exciting to watch Richards play. He’s fast, has a polished inside and out game from what I saw and he looks like he has a very high defensive IQ. He knew when to help and when to stay on his man when penetration occurred. One thing he does need to improve on would be his rebounding as he only nabbed one rebound that I saw in those last five minutes.