D.J. Richardson More Than Worthy Of McDonald's All-American Consideration

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By Roy & Harv Schmidt

After watching D.J. Richardson in four games at the NIKE Peach Jam, a few things immediately stand out. The first is that he has now established himself as the #1 player in Illinois from the class of 2009. But what jumps out at as even more is that after proving to be one of the most dominant players at Peach Jam, he has now clearly put himself into the mix as a worthy McDonald's All-American candidate and if we had to put money on it right now, we would bet that when the final ballots are turned in Richardson will undoubtedly be selected.

To begin with, Richardson picked the perfect event in which to take center stage. The Peach Jam is one of the most prestigious events that is held during the July evaluation period, and with the possible exception of the three shoe company events held in Las Vegas during the fourth week of July, no summer event sports more overall talent. Therefore, what is most impressive about Richardson's performance at Peach Jam is that he got it done against elite level competition.

Richardson was absolutely relentless in every game that he played in North Augusta, SC, as he led the Illinois Warriors to a perfect 5-0 record in pool play, including wins over talented teams such as Houston Hoops, Rising Stars Gold, Team Final and the South Carolina Ravens. Richardson took it upon himself to be the Warriors' go-to-guy and he responded in a big way.

Richardson finished pool play as the second leading scorer at Peach Jam. His best games were a 30 point outburst vs. Rising Stars Gold, a 23 point effort vs. Houston Hoops and tallying 21 points vs. Team Jones. He scored every which way imaginable. You name it and Richardson did it--he consistently hit difficult shots coming off the dribble, he spotted up and drilled 3-pointers and he converted most every time he took it to the rack. In the Rising Stars Gold contest, Richardson had a streak where he hit seven shots in a row and throughout the course of the game he simply couldn't be stopped.

Unfortunately, Richardson missed the Warriors' opening round playoff game vs. California Supreme because he had to leave North Augusta early in order to get back home to attend summer school. The Warriors-California Supreme matchup was a spectacular one, with California Supreme notching a 92-91 victory. Taking nothing away from California Supreme's effort, there is no doubt in our mind that had Richardson played in that game the Warriors would have continued on to the final day of action.

What makes Richardson special and what we believe sets him apart from most every other player in Illinois is his killer instinct. Simply put, he wants to stick a dagger in his opponent every time he takes the floor. This is evidenced by how he gives it everything that he has and never takes a play off. That is the biggest reason why he has now clearly established himself as the #1 player in Illinois from the class of 2009.

But now let's move on to the national level. Based on Richardson's performance at Peach Jam and the spectacular spring and summer that he has enjoyed on the traveling team circuit, we will be shocked if he doesn't rank among the top 25 players in the 2009 class nationally when revised rankings come out. We watched all of the other guards at Peach Jam who are ranked above Richardson, including Xavier Henry of Athletes First, Tommy Mason-Griffin of Houston Hoops and John Wall of the South Carolina Ravens, and while Richardson may not have outplayed any of them, in our minds he certainly proved that he is their equal.

Furthermore, respected national evaluators such as Bob Gibbons of ESPN Sports and Van Coleman of Hoopmasters were absolutely raving about Richardson's performance at Peach Jam and both made a point to watch him extensively. Seeing as though both Gibbons and Coleman are among the most influential people on the McDonald's selection committee, this cannot be underemphasized. The bottom line is that Richardson turned in the type of performance that people such as Gibbons and Coleman (as well as others) will most certainly remember when voting for the McDonald's game comes around in January and February.

If we are guilty of anything when it comes to evaluating Richardson it is that we have probably taken him for granted. We can assure everyone that will no longer be the case. Richardson's overall skill set has improved immensely, to the point where has virtually no offensive weaknesses in his game.

As we get set to head into the second half of the July evaluation period, the key for Richardson will now be maintaining the same level of consistency. Should Richardson follow up his effort at Peach Jam with another dazzling performance at the 17-under Super Showcase in Orlando which begins on July 23, we can practically guarantee that you will see him on the court when the McDonald's All-American game takes place next March.

Now that Richardson has emerged as the new #1 player in Illinois from the class of 2009, here is a sneak preview of what Illinois Prep Bulls-eye's top dozen players in the class could look like by the end of the July evaluation period.

Top Twelve Players In Illinois From Class Of 2009

1) D.J. Richardson 6'3 2G Peoria (Central)
2) Brandon Paul 6'3 2G Gurnee (Warren)
3) Chris Colvin 6'1 PG Chicago (Whitney Young)
4) Jack Cooley 6'9 PF Glenview (Glenbrook South)
5) Marcus Jordan 6'2 2G Chicago (Whitney Young)
6) Joseph Bertrand 6'4 2G Sterling (H.S.)
7) Darius Smith 6'2 PG Chicago (Marshall)
8) Diamond Taylor 6'3 2G Bolingbrook (H.S.)
9) Nik Garcia 6'6 2G Evanston (Township)
10) Dyricus Simms-Edwards 6'1 PG Washington (H.S.)
11) David Brown 6'3 2G Rockton (Hononegah)
12) Matt Vogrich 6'4 2G Lake Forest (H.S.)

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10 Comments

Hello - Thanks for the great information. I am curious if DJ was playing the point or the #2 or some combination. Great to hear that his game is progressing!


Roy & Harv Respond:


D.J. spent most of his time at the 2, which we think is his natural position in college. The point guard spot was manned by both Lawrence Thomas and Darius Smith.

Good List to be fair I haven't seen Richardson play yet. Also Chris Colvin is a legit 6'3 point guard. I still say he is the #1 player in the Class of 2009 in Illinois. I would put Daris Smith a little higher and drop Marcus Jordan a little bit. It's going to be tough to get a McDonalds All-American this year. I still think Colvin is the better player down the line than any of these guys on the list. Nic Garcia is the best shooter in the state. Class of 2010 and Class of 2011 are better than this current class of seniors. Each has studs Jereme Richmond(2010),Crandall Head(2010) and Mike Shaw(2011). I think all will be McDONALDS ALL-AMERICANS.

i guess this guy was in carolina last weekend. colvin better than richardson give me a break.

tim from Evanston posted: "Good List to be fair I haven't seen Richardson play yet. Also Chris Colvin is a legit 6'3 point guard. I still say he is the #1 player in the Class of 2009 in Illinois."

How can anybody, who says he hasn't seen a certain player say that he's not better than someone you've seen?

That boggles the mind.

Myself, I've got to go with Roy & Harv Schmidt, the national evaluators Bob Gibbons (ESPN Sports) & Van Coleman from Hoopmasters who all have seen both of the players.

Great news for the ILLINI. It seems like the future is getting brighter and brighter every day.

A PLAYER FROM ILLINOIS IS ALWAYS A REPRESENTATIVE AT
THE MCDONALD'S GAME!
DUNIGAN AND SHUMPERT THIS PAST SEASON!
DERRICK ROSE THE SEASON BEFORE!
SHERRON COLLINS AND JOHN SHEYER, SORRY IF I MISPELLED
HIS NAME FROM THE SEASON BEFORE DERRICK ROSE!
THE BOTTOM LINE IS THE COLLEGE THE PLAYER IS GOING TO
HAS ALOT OF PULL ALONG WITH THE HIGH SCHOOL COACH, AND
THE AAU TEAM HE PLAYED ON!
DID YOU NOTICE THAT MATT HUMPHREY JUST MADE THE NATIONAL 18 AND UNDER TEAM, GUESS WHO HAD A VOTE IN
HIM MAKING THE TEAM, YOU GUESSED IT HIS FUTURE COLLEGE
COACH, NOW MATT CAN PLAY AND WE ALL KNOW THAT, BUT IF
YOU THINK THAT HIS FUTURE COLLEGE COACHES VOTE DIDN'T
COUNT THEN I HAVE SOME SWAMP LAND IN MISSISSIPPI TO SELL YOU!
MATT HUMPHREY COULD BE A ONE AND DONE PLAYER AT OREGON
IF HE GETS THEM TO THE FINAL FOUR!

Just a quick note. I think Diamond is at Bolingbrook HS next year and that team will be loaded...

Roy & Harv Respond:


Of course we knew that Diamond is now at Bolingbrook. That is what happens when we are typing too fast. The change is now reflected in our rankings.

Illini Jim jerkoff that is MY OPINION. Thats what this is a forum. As for Phil Humphrey is overrated. Always has been to me. I seen him play numerous times at Hales Franciscan. Seems to be just a 6'5 shooter to me. Nothing else to his game. aaron from Decatur you probably haven't seen Colvin play at all this spring or summer dude. A homer just because Richardson is going to Illinois. Just like Illini Jim. Richardson is a short 2G, whereas Colvin is a pure PG who can explode and dunk on anybody. Roy and Harv said it themselves Richardson is a 2G at 6'2 or 6'3. Colvin is a 6'3 pure PG.

Please get JOSEPH Bertrand's name correct. He does not, nor has he ever, gone by "Joe". He has always been known as Joseph!

Roy & Harv Respond:

Well, then there are some others who run other sites who need to be corrected as well. We appreciate you bringing a matter of such monumental proportions like this one to our attention.

Might not be important to you, but I bet it is to Joseph and his family. I bet you would find it annoying if people started calling you guys by the wrong name. Also, I see that you changed it after I corrected you so you must think it has some significance. Just think, if the "other sites" have it wrong and you have it right, that's one more thing you can brag about.

Roy & Harv Respond:


We have people call us by the wrong name every day and most of the time they are names that are far more derogatory than "Joe." We don't let it bother us because we realize that it comes with the territory and consider the source when it comes to the people who engage in it.

Not only did we change the name to Joseph Bertrand in the blog you are referring to, but we also corrected it on all stories on our web site (which hopefully you visit) in which we have mentioned Bertrand. We did so because we are nice guys and believe in reporting accurate information, although we do have one question for you. If this has as much significance as you say it does, why did you wait until now to bring it to our attention? We have been referring to him as "Joe," for well over a year now.

...Because I had never heard of you before...


Roy & Harv Respond:

Wow, imagine that!! O.K.--now you have.

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This page contains a single entry by Roy & Harv Schmidt published on July 17, 2008 2:56 PM.

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