Richaud Pack (Isiah Thomas Taught Me To Never Let Pressure Bother Me And To Always Stay Under Control)

 

Richaud Pack is a 23 year old 190cm guard from Birmingham, Michigan that recently completed his rookie season in Europe with : Michelin Etha Engomis Nicosia (Cyprus-Division A) playing FIBA Europe Cup: 6 games: 11.3ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 35.5%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 90.9%; Cypriot Division A: 21 games: Score-4(16.8ppg), 2.7rpg, 1.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 37.3%, FT: 84.9%. He started his basketball career in 2010 with FIU (NCAA) where he stayed until 2012, but played only 19 NCAA games. His next destination was N.Carolina A&T (NCAA) where he played 28 games averaging 17.4ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 51.0%, 3PT: 39.2%, FT: 81.7%. He moved one more time and as a senior played for Maryland (NCAA) playing 35 games averaging 5.8ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 46.8%, 3PT: 32.6%, FT: 69.7%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.

 

Richaud thanks for talking to German Hoops Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?

I am currently in Washington, D.C. I have had a great summer. I’ve had the chance to travel many places and train with some of the best players in the United States.

You were recently in Rio and were taking in the sights. In a country that seems to be totally infatuated with soccer, was there any kind of basketball life present at the time that you were there?

 There was definitely a basketball life present. There were basketball courts scattered across the city, kids dribbling basketballs, even people playing a mixture of basketball in soccer in which they were attempting to kick the ball in the rim (they were surprisingly good at this).

You just finished your rookie season in Europe with Michelin Etha Engomis Nicosia (Cyprus-Division A) and at the moment are still unsigned. Has the signing market this summer been more difficult for you than 12 months ago?

I wouldn’t say it is more difficult necessarily. In my opinion, it is altogether a different process because I have qualified myself to some extent to enter a different market. Coming out last year, I had no experience and that brings skepticism. However, I would say entering a market with more competitive teams is a challenge.

You had a very solid rookie season with Michelin Etha Engomis Nicosia (Cyprus-Division A) playing FIBA Europe Cup: 6 games: 11.3ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 35.5%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 90.9%; Cypriot Division A: 21 games: Score-4(16.8ppg), 2.7rpg, 1.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 37.3%, FT: 84.9%. Wasn´t there any interest in Cyprus or other countries after your productive season?

Teams in Cyprus as well as teams in other countries contacted me. I had a productive season and I’m aiming to repeat and increase on my recent success. I am searching for the right fit and right organization.

You had no problems adjusting to the European style of play. How important was it for you to show everyone despite not having a huge scoring role as a senior at Maryland (NCAA), you were able to be one of the central figures for Etha?

It was extremely important for me to prove to Europe that I could be the scorer I was in my junior season of playing in the NCAA. Maryland was a top 10 college in the NCAA when I played and I had to learn how to contribute while playing with NBA caliber talent (Melo Trimble, Dez Wells, Jake Layman).

Your stats would have exploded had American Trae Golden not been on the team. How important was having him as your teammate in terms of your game being able to develop further as a rookie?

I believe my game complemented Trae’s as did his mine. He created for me because he was always in the lane. I opened up the lanes for him because no defender would leave me on the perimeter. Playing with Trae really helped me as a player. I had to guard a fierce player in practice every day and it showed in games when I was able to guard the other teams best player. He is also a great leader and teacher. I learned with him and from him.

Etha had a tough and short Fiba Europe Cup season not winning a single game, but you were still a consistent performer in this competition. What was more difficult to get used to in international club competition compared to the Cypriot league?

International club competition was more difficult to adjust to as compared to the Cypriot league. However, because Fiba Europe Cup was at the start of the season, it helped me adjust to the European game faster and I didn’t have a slow start in the Cypriot league due to having to learn so many rules.

You had two tough losses to AEK. Was Thad Mcfadden the toughest guard you played against last season? He averaged 27ppg in the two games and had nine steals in the first game.

I would say he was the best scorer I played against but not the best player I had to guard in Cyprus. I would say that was Brandon Heath. Heath was better to me because he made all of his teammates better. Whether it was on offense or defense, he was the guy who put everyone in the right place.

Let’s talk a bit about your game. You are a combo guard that knows how to score. Poise is a big strength in your game. Where did you learn this?

My mentor and former coach was Isiah Thomas who played for the Detroit Pistons. He taught me to never let pressure bother me and to always stay under control. It also fits into my personality because I believe you play as you live. I never get rattled.

You are a guy that can fill up the stat sheet at ease, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t get noticed right away on the court?

I would say it is my on ball defense. I get a lot more deflections than I do steals, so it doesn’t always come up on the stat sheet. If you look at film, I was the guy who guarded the other teams best player at Etha last year and at Maryland in college. There is a reason for that. Coaches can trust me to defend a variety of guys.

Please explain in a few sentences why you aren’t just another talented guard that could help any team, but a very special guard that no team has ever had before?

There are a lot of talented guards out there. I think I have the right mentality. I have a unique willingness to want to win by any means. Something else that makes me special is my basketball IQ. I think the game out as I’m playing in a way most players do not.

You played at three schools with FIU, North Carolina A&T, and Maryland. When you look back at your four-year career, were the different experiences that you had better than had you been only at once school?

I think switching schools allowed me to grow. I learned from three different coaches and I played three different styles of basketball. It has prepared me for the possibility of playing in a different country each year in Europe.

You played your first two seasons of college basketball at FIU under NBA legend Isiah Thomas. Thomas discovered you trying to win a shooting competition and brought you to FIU. What kind of experience was this for you and why were you unable to get into the rotation better?

He showed me so much about the mentality it takes to produce as a basketball player. I did not understand how serious I needed to be as a freshman. My second year I was set to start at the shooting guard and was our best shooting guard but missed two months of preseason training because of an injury.

You then moved to N. Carolina A&T (NCAA) playing 28 games: 17.4ppg, 4.4rpg,1.5 apg. FGP: 51%, 3pt 39.2%, FT: 81.7%. This was your break out season. Did Cy Alexander give you the freedom that Isiah Thomas didn’t give you at FIU?

I do credit Cy Alexander with giving me freedom, but I also credit myself with having the mentality that I wouldn’t be denied as a player. As an upperclassmen, I was our hardest worker from day 1 at A&T. That made it easier for the coach to trust giving me freedom.

Then you moved again to power house school Maryland (NCAA). Why did you do that again knowing the risks that could have come of having to learn a new system and so many things all over again in your last year? Was winning on your main course for transferring again?

Winning was my main objective. I did not care about having a different role. I did not care about scoring less. I just wanted to win games in the NCAA tournament, which is what we ended up doing. I wanted to test myself against the best college basketball players in America. I played alongside guys that were drafted (Jake Layman), played NBA summer league (Dez Wells), and players who were invited to the NBA combine (Melo Trimble). All of the competition I played with and against prepared me to play in Europe my rookie season.

You experienced very much at Maryland to at times being the best player, having slumps, playing many positions, starting games as well as riding the bench as well as seeing freshmen Melo Trimble ahead of you on the depth chart. What was toughest about the season an how were you able to come away at ease with yourself and your game?

I had many ups and downs at Maryland. It was a challenging season. I started in 31 out of 35 games and had 28 wins with only 3 losses as a starter. I think I was second or third in minutes per game so I always had a key role. However, I did struggle at times to score during the season going through slumps. Coach Juan Dixon taught me how to mentally get out of a slump. I know how to play through a shooting slump now so that experience made me a better player.

Head Coach Mark Turgeon said that your consistency was vital for the young kids on the team. How did he help groom and prepare you for a professional basketball career?

He immediately put me in a position of leadership and responsibility. Those are two things your really need in order to succeed as a professional. You have to be able to lead yourself and others in the right way. You have to be responsible and accountable on and off the court.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Melo Trimble?

We only played once. I won. He will never get a rematch lol (laugh out loud)

If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 NBA heads would you choose?

Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James.

What special Isaiah Thomas story at FIU will forever be etched in your mind?

I once saw him make 59 out of 60 NBA three pointers fully clothed, without warming up. He is one of the greatest basketball talents ever!

When you were a kid, you had a word of the day. If Donald Trump gets elected president what will be your word of the day?

The word of the day would be “fiasco” or “calamity”.

What was the last movie you saw?

I rewatched “Through the fire” starring Sebastian Telfair. I love basketball documentaries.

Thanks Richaud for the chat.

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