From the Perimeter
This is opening “player diary” with senior guard Brad Richardson:
How has the season gone for you thus far?
It has been an up-and-down season. There have been good sides and bad sides, good times and bad times, but mostly, as a team, we have not been successful in what we wanted to do, what we looked forward to before the season started.
How hard is it as a player, not to have a “real” holiday season?
We’re all use to playing basketball and we just take it for granted that we will, for the most part, play through the holidays ... that’s what most basketball players do. We play over the holidays in order to give people at home something to watch. That’s just part of the role we play as student-athletes. We’re usually playing over the holidays while most people are home watching games on television. That’s just something we’ve chosen to do as student-athletes.
The most recent trip to Tampa for the South Florida game was a typical college basketball trip, long hours, travel, a game, more travel, and quickly back to class. How do you handle that kind of schedule?
I just try to use my years of experience in having gotten use to being a student-athlete, of having to juggle practice, playing, travel and a personal life. I was kind of ready to get back into the classroom. I was ready to be back on the campus and among my peers. Over the holidays, we try to, as a team, use the travel and playing, not just to win the games, but to try to come together as a team, and if we didn’t win the game, then certainly to get better at some part of the game.
How hard is it physically to keep up that kind of schedule?
It can be a physical problem, but as long as you’re mentally prepared it helps you ignore the bumps and bruises, and helps you get through the tough times, especially if you can see yourself and your teammates getting better. If I keep thinking like that, even though we keep practicing and playing, and even though you’ll see winded players, tired players and sometimes even injured players, if you’re prepared mentally, most of the stuff Coach (James) Green throws at you, you’ll be all right.
The record isn’t where you want it to be, but even in losing, are there positives that you take away from that?
Yes, from each game. As a student-athlete, I think we have to use every game as an opportunity to get better, to learn something different. As an example, during the holiday games, we played some different styles of teams. At South Florida, they trap and jump. At Auburn, they tend to play off you some and then come back with the press. We can all learn from each of these games, to grasp new and different things from each game, and to learn to use it in future games ... to get better.
You’re approaching the halfway mark of your senior season, what do you want to take away from your college experience?
Just knowing that I’ve stuck it out and played all four years, two in junior college and two here at Southern Miss. I want to be remembered as a guy who is always positive, always trying to stay on the right track both on and off the court, and I want that to carry over when I leave Southern Miss and go into the work place ... knowing that I’m going to come to work every day.
How important do you feel what you do is to the eventual success or failure of some of the young players on this year’s team?
I and the other three seniors, all have to try to be role models. We have to know that whatever we do, someone is watching. Even if they’re not in your presence, they may be in the background watching, and using you as a role model. I know when I was a younger player, I looked up to some players and felt that if they can do that, then so can I. We’re the seniors this season; we have to think positive, so that the underclassmen will look at us and say, “If Brad, and Elvin Mims, and Pete Meneses keep working like that, and making improvements, then I need to do the same think to improve my game.”
Who is the toughest player you’re had to guard this season?
I’m probably looking forward more to playing Tulane and Brandon Spann, a guy I grew up with. I think he had 30 or so points last season, so I’m looking forward to that matchup.
What are your plans once your playing career is over?
My major is in sport administration, and I want to stay in that field. I would like to branch off from that field into coaching at some point down the line. That job offers you a chance to influence a lot of lives. Some of my most important role models have been coaches, and I’d like to have someone say the same about me at some point in the future.