A.J. Guyton is in D.J. Richardson's ear on a regular basis.
The former IU All-American is back in his hometown of Peoria, Ill., these days, where there's another up-and-coming shooting guard from Peoria Central H.S. named D.J. Richardson. Guyton and Richardson tangle on a regular basis in open gym scrimmages at the high school, often being matched up against each other.
"He still plays like he did when he was with the (Chicago) Bulls," said Richardson of the former Big Ten MVP. "He's still really good, really quick, he can handle the ball, shoot it, and play defense. He's got the whole package for his height and size. He's tough to stop because he can use both hands and has good court vision."
But the two do more than play basketball. They also talk. The 6-3, 175-pound Richardson is just beginning his junior season at Guyton's alma mater, but he said he already has at least 15 scholarship offers, including one from Indiana.
Guyton can speak about his experiences as a college basketball player, and specifically his time in Bloomington from 1997-2000, when he scored 2,100 career points and was named the Big Ten MVP in 2000.
"He tells me a lot about my game and about Indiana," Richardson said. "He told me when he played there they taught him a lot and Indiana is a good place for guards. They teach guards what they need to know for the next level."
Guyton isn't the only person with IU ties whom Richardson has talked with. He said he's also spoken with IU Coach Kelvin Sampson a handful of times in recent months, and he's come away impressed with the second-year Hoosier coach.
"He's a really nice guy, and a real nice coach," Richardson said. "I think he likes me as a player and also as a person off the court. It wouldn't be bad playing for him."
While Indiana has made some in-roads for Richardson, the recruiting competition figures to be fierce. He said he's hearing from new programs on a regular basis, and said he has scholarship offers from IU, Illinois, Purdue, Iowa, DePaul, N.C. State, Bradley, Miami (Fla.), Baylor, Marquette, Virginia, New Mexico, Iowa State and Notre Dame, among others.
For the time being, Richardson plans to keep an open mind with college programs, waiting to see who is interested before cutting his list.
"In the middle of my junior season I'll narrow my list," Richardson said. "I've still got a lot of schools coming in."
In fact, Richardson receives recruiting mail on a daily basis at both home and at the high schools from potential college destinations. Some of the suitors are familiar ones, others are new, which means Richardson's list of offers will likely expand. Among the schools that have been in contact but have yet to offer are Ohio State, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Kentucky.
One of the schools that figures to be in the hunt until the end is Illinois, the homestate school that has made him a top priority.
"We talk quite a bit," Richardson said. "I go up there and visit. There's a lot of interest in both. I have a lot of interest in them and they have a lot of interest in me."
Indiana, meanwhile, has made the state of Illinois a recruiting priority since Sampson has taken over, and Richardson might just be Sampson's most wanted from the neighboring state. The Hoosiers offered early and are hoping they can add another talented shooting guard from Peoria Central H.S.
"Indiana is a really good school," Richardson said. "It's hard for me because there are a lot of schools coming at me at once, and I really haven't had a chance to sit down and pick a school to go to. But Indiana is a really good college."
The time to take a closer look at IU and his other potential destinations will come before long, and Richardson does know some of the things that will factor into his decision.
"The atmosphere will be important, not just the basketball, but around the school - where is the school located, is it in a good neighborhood, bad neighborhood, is it out in the country," Richardson said. "The coaching staff will be big, and so will the players. I would like to meet some of the players before I pick somewhere to see what kind of players I'd be playing with."
Richardson Talks IU, Recruiting
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