There was no hesitation from Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard when Kadary Richmond entered the transfer portal and there is none now.
The Brooklyn native is Willard’s starting point guard, the coach said. That was not the case at Syracuse during Richmond’s sole frustrating year with the Orange.
“I feel as if I can actually be myself, play my game freely and make the decisions [on the court],” Richmond said Thursday after practice in South Orange, N.J. “I felt as if it wouldn’t have made sense to stay at the end because I wasn’t really playing [as much as I wanted].
“I felt I could fit right in [at Seton Hall].”
Seton Hall has added two other intriguing transfers — physical forward Alexis Yenta from South Florida and sharpshooting guard Jamir Harris from American — along with returning a healthy Bryce Aiken. But Richmond, a 6-foot-6 lead guard, has the potential to ensure the Pirates return to the NCAA Tournament after they fell painfully short last March and have since lost tri-Big East Player of the Year Sandro Mamukelashvili to the NBA.
The smooth, pass-first sophomore will fill a gaping hole at the point, a spot that wrecked a once-promising season for Seton Hall. Aiken’s injury-marred campaign (he appeared in just 14 games) forced Shavar Reynolds into the job. Willard praised the former walk-on’s performance at a position he wasn’t suited for, but it severely limited Seton Hall. That doesn’t figure to be an issue this year now that Richmond, a former four-star, top-100 recruit, is in the fold.
“I’m really excited to have a lead guard who can find me some open shots this year. It changes a lot,” senior star Jared Rhoden said. “It creates a lot more simple things in transition and the offensive side of the game.”
In his one year at Syracuse, Richmond averaged 6.3 points, 3.1 assists and 1.6 steals in 21.0 minutes per game. Coming off the bench, he helped the Orange reach the Sweet 16. But playing behind Joseph Girard III left a sour taste in his mouth, and he wanted more. At Seton Hall, he will be given a chance to continue the Pirates’ recent tradition of Brooklyn guards reaching the NCAA Tournament.
Richmond knows two of them, Isaiah Whitehead and Kadeen Carrington, who raved about their time at the New Jersey school. Now it’s his turn.
“I feel like I fit in because all the guys from the city were successful here, so I didn’t see how I wouldn’t be successful,” Richmond said. “It’s up to me to seize the opportunity.”