Q&A with St. John’s Assistant Coach Mitch Richmond

Mitch Richmond; Credit – NBA

By: Ryan Touhey

1. Me: What is the direction for St. John’s basketball and why do you think so?

Mitch Richmond: Well I think that the direction is to get St. John’s right back on the map. It’s not an easy process, but I think we’re making the right steps and we’re going in the right direction to get this program back on track.

2. Me: What areas has St. John’s reached out to to recruit young players?

Mitch Richmond: I think we have a number of ways to what we’re doing. With our relationships across the board that we’ve made over the years, we have a good staff as far as recruiters in Matt Abdelmassih, and all those other guys in the staff, me myself, Greg, Mully, I think we’ve put together a good staff to go out in any areas that we need.

3. Me: What kind of physical attributes and talents are the Red Storm primarily focused on?

Mitch Richmond: You always want a guy that’s mature enough to handle New York and you always want to definitely get size as far as guys that can play different positions. You want the flexibility, where you can sometimes play your 4-guy at the 5, or your 2-guy at the 3, and sometimes a 3 at the 4, so we want the flexibility in our players.

4. Me: In what areas are St. John’s trying to become stronger?

Mitch Richmond: I think just basically getting better talent as we go on. I think you try to improve, where as far as in college you have to have a tremendous guard play because college basketball is so into trapping and zones and stuff like that, you have to have guys who actually can bring the ball up. That’s the flexibility you want to have between your 1’s to your 4, they can actually handle the ball. So we’re proving that every day.

5. Me: What’s the strategy, when competing against Big East teams during conference play?

Mitch Richmond: The Big East is a very physical conference and I think you really have to be able to match each team’s intensity and effort. You have so many good coaches in the Big East. Villanova is one of them, that team plays with a lot of effort. You just have to be disciplined, so each and every day, especially when high school kids are coming into college throughout the break, you do a lot of habits. You spend a lot of your day practicing, you do 1-on-1 basketball, you have to go back to teaching because some guys don’t have those skills and so you have to continue to keep teaching. That’s what college basketball is all about. The one thing you hopefully don’t have to teach is effort, and sometimes you have to.

6. Me: Do you feel that the players are getting better and more comfortable shooting from behind the arc?

Mitch Richmond: Yeah I think every day. We do a lot of shooting. We still have one of the third youngest teams in the countries, so we’re going to have some ups and downs that when you look at a lot of these teams, there’s only probably a few teams that’ll win a lot with freshmen, such as Kentucky. Most of these teams are winning because they have juniors and seniors, and fifth-year kids and transfers, guys who’ve been in the mix for a while. So for our team, we’re asking a lot. We’re asking a lot from our freshmen, and they’ve given it to us. We’re going to have some days that are not going to be better than others, so we have to continue to keep teaching and continue to stay positive.

7. Me: You and Coach Mullen have played the game at the highest level. How do those experiences translate to younger players?

Mitch Richmond: Well we were there before them and we developed our skills as time went on. You always have to try to tell young kids that although they want it so fast, it’s a process. It’s a process of being good, it’s a process of getting to that next level. It’s not all about averaging 20 points a game to get you to the pros. You look at some of the guys up in the pros now doing very well. That’s because they had to make strides and get better each and every year and now some kids say, ‘Oh I didn’t do that in college.’ Well that’s because they continued to keep working and play team-ball and didn’t try to score 20 or 25 a game. They just really played the game the right way. If you continue and keep doing that, you’ll have an opportunity to play after college.

8. How important is it to build off of the St. John’s fan-base and use their support as motivation?

Mitch Richmond: Well I think they support any time you want your fan-base to be able to help you win games and be your sixth man. I think we still have to get that fan-base and get everybody believing in us. So that’s why we’ll always tell the team to just go out and do our work first, and then they will follow. We have to continue to keep them as our teammate, as far as the fan-base, and at some point in time, that can win some games for us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *