2009 Focus: D.J. Richardson

In this report we take a look at Peoria Central sophomore guard D.J. Richardson. WeAreDePaul.com talks with Richardson and his AAU coach about their recent visit to the Lincoln Park campus of DePaul University. Richardson also talks about the upcoming season at Peoria Central.

D.J. Richardson achieved the feat of leading his Peoria Central Lions team in scoring as a freshman last season. While playing with the Illinois Stars AAU team this summer he averaged 17 points and five rebounds per game. The 6-3 175 lb. shooting guard is arguably tops in the state of Illinois for the class of 2009. "He's phenomenal," said Illinois Stars AAU team coach Troy Johnson. "He's got a chance to be really, really good. I think right now his greatest weakness is he doesn't know how good he can be."

Richardson is someone who has potential both on and off the court. "He's such a great kid," Johnson observed. "Anyone he's been around for any length of time just loves him. Anyone from Sonny Vaccaro, Shaun Livingston, to Evan Turner. You can't help but to like that kid. The other thing I like about him is he's a gym rat. I have always loved gym rats."

As good as D.J. is, there is still plenty more for him to strive for. "The other thing that I love about him is that he does everything above average, and he still has room for improvement," remarked Troy. "I mean he's an above average ballhandler, but he still has to work on that. He's an above average shooter, but he can still work on that. His upside, his potential is just so high. It's just been a delight to coach him. He has a tremendous upside.

Richardson realizes his strengths and weaknesses and understands where he needs to improve. "I'm working on my ball handling and my jump shot," D.J. said. "Personally I'd like to be a leader on my team. That's something that I do well, be a leader."

Over Labor Day weekend, D.J. and Johnson visited the DePaul campus in Lincoln Park. "It was a good visit," Richardson said. "I liked the college and the campus. I met with Coach Jerry Wainwright and the assistant coaches. They showed us around the facility. They've got a new locker room that they're putting in. They've got new TV's for the room where the players come in. This was my second visit. I visited Bradley before."

The DePaul coaching staff made an impression on Richardson. "The coaches seem real well," D.J. expressed. "They seem like they take time with their players to make them successful players."

Not only have the DePaul coaches impressed Richardson, but they've strengthened their relationship with his AAU coach as well. "The visit was great," Troy Johnson said. "The DePaul guys are great. Gary DeCesare and Jerry Wainwright are genuinely great guys. That's why I felt so comfortable with (DePaul freshman) Will Walker going there. It was a situation where we didn't know them. I had seen Jerry around before, but he never really recruited Chicago hard because he was out of Richmond. The same with Gary DeCesare, I had known him from AAU stuff. All of a sudden within a matter of a few short months, they developed a great relationship not only with me, but with Will and his family. Getting to watch them last year and see their level of development, and what he did with kids that I knew, and players that I saw play, and saw how much they improved and how much better they played as a team, I felt very comfortable with him."

Johnson felt that Richardson enjoyed the visit as well. "D. J. left the DePaul office feeling very comfortable," Troy said. "That's a coach that he felt that he could play for. The exact term that (Wainwright) used was ‘I like recruiting players that are Escalades and then I want to polish and make my Escalades look better.' That's what he told him. You are an Escalade. You have a chance to be very good. But when you come here, I'm still going to work you and make you even better."

Also during the Labor Day weekend, Richardson and the Illinois Stars had a special guest. Ohio State committed prospect and St. Joes senior forward Evan Turner played with the younger players for the weekend. Turner and D.J. used the opportunity to get to know each other. "I thought it was great how he and Evan bonded," Troy remarked. "He got to see what it means to take over a game. It doesn't necessarily mean that now you have to score 40 points, but you're going to do all the little things. Leadership, getting a big steal, just playing smart, that's what I thought he got out of playing with Evan."

D.J. agreed that he benefited from meeting Turner. "That was real good," Richardson said. "We were talking about what colleges he likes and dislikes. He was talking about my game and how hard I'm going to have to work."

Besides DePaul, Richardson is getting interest from a number of major colleges including Florida, Illinois, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Stanford and Texas A&M. D. J. already has scholarship offers from Baylor, Bradley, and Indiana.

For now, Richardson is focused on the upcoming season at Peoria Central. "This season is going to be a great season for us. Our team is coming together. We're expecting to have better defense and a better record than we had last year. We'll have a good team this year."

Keep it right here at WeAreDePaul.com for the latest on DePaul Blue Demons prospects.

We Are DePaul Top Stories