An awkward start for Siena’s Richard

It’s been a freshman five games for Khalil Richard.
Siena freshman Khalil Richard has had an inconsistent start
Siena freshman Khalil Richard has had an inconsistent start

It’s been a freshman five games for Khalil Richard.

First, there were two poor outings as a starting guard for the Siena College men’s basketball team. Then, a pair of strong showings off the bench. Wednesday, meanwhile, brought a return to the starting lineup for Richard as he delivered an uneven performance, a hybrid of his first four showings.

After that first sampling of games, Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos expressed admiration for the enthusiasm Richard has shown through the season’s early spell as he adjusts to the college game.

“He’s interesting,” Patsos said after Wednesday’s

66-43 win against Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Times Union Center in Albany moved

Siena’s record to 2-3. “That guy wants to learn out there. He really wants to learn, he really wants to try.”

Richard, a Baltimore native, was pulled from the starting lineup before Siena played its third game of the season. In those first two games, Richard played a combined 39 minutes and shot 1 of 9 from the field in scoring two points. Off the bench against Kansas and UNC-Asheville, Richard made 10 of 14 shots in 45 minutes to score 26 points.

Reinserted into the starting lineup against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Richard played a season-high 29 minutes, scoring four points on 1-of-3 shooting with four assists and four turnovers.

Richard, who missed his senior season of high school basketball with an injury, said his mindset is to keep looking forward, whether he’s coming off a good or a bad game.

“I just try to stay positive — stay positive,” Richard said, repeating the phrase. “I know my role is to play defense, lead the team [on offense], get everyone else involved and my time will come.”

Siena senior guard Marquis Wright said the advice he gives Richard is for him to “be yourself.” The rest of the Saints, Wright said, see the potential in the guard.

“We just encourage him, tell him to keep pushing and keep working hard,” Wright said.

Patsos said Ronald Moore — the point guard on Siena’s NCAA tournament teams under head coach Fran McCaffery — is a model for Richard as a tough-minded, team-first guard who was a capable scorer. Patsos said he’s brought up Moore to Richard, who said he’s looked up Moore’s career.

“That’s someone I can look up to,” Richard said.


Patsos said after Wednesday’s game that sophomore guard Nico Clareth is likely to come off the bench when he returns Sunday against UAlbany in this year’s Albany Cup showdown,

Clareth, who was suspended for Siena’s past three games for an undisclosed violation of athletic department rules, is likely to play “25 to 28” minutes in his return.

Before his suspension, Clareth started one of Siena’s first two games and averaged 14.0 points per game. As a freshman during the 2015-16 season, Clareth was named the MAAC Sixth Man of the Year.


After serving a three-game suspension of his own to start the season, senior forward Lavon Long has starred since his return to Siena’s lineup.

Long scored 13 points in his season debut, then followed that effort with a tremendous outing against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. In Siena’s win Wednesday, Long made 6 of 9 shots in scoring 19 points, while he also grabbed seven rebounds and made all seven of his free throws.

“I just wanted to start off by working hard,” Long said of his performance against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. “I [think] my game comes to me best when I’m not really focusing on the passing or scoring [and I] just let the game come to me.”

Wright said Long’s return has solidified Siena’s lineup.

“He’s the X-factor in anything we do,” Wright said.


After playing a combined four minutes in the first four games of the season, redshirt sophomore forward Willem Brandwijk saw an increased role against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

“Coach had told me during practice to be ready to play, and some of the assistants told me to be ready, too,” said Brandwijk, who had two rebounds and two steals in 12 minutes.

Brandwijk mainly played Wednesday alongside sophomore forward Evan Fisher, a pairing Patsos hinted could see more time together.

“Evan and Willem look like a little tandem we can play [as] the bigs,” Patsos said.

In Siena’s first four games, Brandwijk often saw his only action at the very end of a half. He entered Wednesday’s game midway through the first half, something he said that encouraged him.

“You’re on your toes. You’re ready to go,” he said. “I’m always ready to go, but coming in at that time you’re more full of energy.”

Categories: College Sports, Sports

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