From top to bottom, Gonzaga is much more talented than Colorado, according to 6'11" Center Richard Fox who transferred from Boulder, CO, to Spokane, WA, this year. The guys are just smarter and know the game better, he continues. Colorado has some good athletes but their basketball sense and discipline isn't what is here [at GU], especially at the perimeter.
Known by "Foxy" around campus, Richard feels as if he's been given a second chance at Gonzaga. Heavily recruited out of high school, he chose Colorado because it was close to home. His freshman year was very promising and he started many games, piling up points (8 ppg) and rebounds (6 rpg). Then nagging injuries struck (broken hand, fractured leg), plus a dip in his self-confidence, and he gradually went from being a "good fit" to a "no fit" for the Buffaloes. The writing was on the wall and he knew he had to make a change.
So he made it known to the basketball world that he was looking to transfer.
Marquette, New Mexico, Utah, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Oregon State, UC-Santa Barbara, George Mason, many WCC schools and much more came calling. Twenty-five in all! But he was waiting for one particular call, hoping that they'd remember him and want him.
One of Richard's best games happened in Hawaii. The opposing team was dominating the game, Fox recalls, even though he was doing some major damage inside. Then the opponent's star big man set a vicious screen that KO'd Colorado's point guard. This fired up Fox's Buffalo team and they rallied to win, Richard playing a key role.
The opposing team was Gonzaga and the big man who set the screen was Casey Calvary. And the coach watching all of this unfold was Mark Few.
Sure enough, the call came. The Zags were interested. Richard visited the campus, met the team and was instantly sold on the school and program. Fox says it is the best school for getting to the Final Four that wanted him, and going from a school with 500 students in classes to a school with 20-30 in a class was a factor, too. "Your Social Security Number is your name there."
"I had Gonzaga in my heart the whole way."
So, is Gonzaga everything he dreamed it would be? Richard says that GU has far exceeded all of his already high expectations. He has already learned so much from from big man coach Bill Grier that he is a bit overwhelmed. There are moves and countermoves that he was never taught before. "It's amazing," he says. But Fox has an entire redshirt year to learn and get his new and improved game sharpened up.
He has already fit in like an old friend. One day Cory Violette was shooting around in the fieldhouse and there was a rumble and shaking from above where the jogging track is. Cory looked at Josh Reisman and said, "Foxy's running." Reisman cracked up. And when this interview was taking place, Dan Dickau was giving Richard a hard time in jest in the background. He's already family.
His main goal this year will be to help Zach, Cory and the other post players ready for opponents. Richard has battled in the trenches with the Big-12 Conference's best from the likes of Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and others. Future lottery picks and NBA centers were his challenges nearly every game. He brings a battle-tested, tough mentality to Gonzaga and the WCC and will help the Zags field one of the finest front courts in the nation next year.
Richard is currently about 280 pounds and wants to muscle up, "lose baby fat," and trim down to 260 while lifting and getting stronger and faster, something that Cory Violette has done since last season. "I can't take two weeks or a month off, I gotta keep working and staying in shape year-round."
He has regained his confidence and has a good array of skills but he admits right now that he sometimes isn't quick enough to make a play that he sees. He's determined to change that. And to "tighten up my game," as he describes it.
Asked about a possible pro career and Fox (who has duel citizenship—USA/Spain) says that is definitely on his mind, though he was quick to point out that he is only concerned about the next three years at GU now and getting his degree. His major is Broadcasting and is thinking he'd enjoy doing color commentary for TV or radio when he hangs up his Nikes.