F/C Chris Richard: “All I can do is give my best.”

Former Florida Gators forward/center Chris Richard is a busy man. Entering his fourth season of playing professional basketball, Richard just returned from summer league action and was in his hometown of Lakeland, FL, when OGGOA caught up with him for an exclusive interview covering his college career, professional future and charitable efforts.

Though he is headed back to Chicago soon to workout and attempt to earn a contract, Richard has been concentrating on getting his foundation, The Rich Kids Project, off the ground.

Designed to help and provide opportunities for underprivileged and at-risk youth in the Polk County area, the organization aims at assisting children financially while, at the same time, ensuring that they are building a foundation for their future. “I want to teach substance and individuality through education, arts and just basic knowledge,” Richard told us. And even though the charity is based in Lakeland, he hopes it can grow big over time – with your help. More information on Richard’s charity will be available in the future.

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: Coming out of high school as Mr. Basketball in the state of Florida, you chose to sign with the Gators. What other schools were you considering and why did you end up picking Florida?
CHRIS RICHARD: “At the time I came out of high school, I could have went to just about any school in the country. I got recruited by everybody from North Carolina to Maryland to Indiana … all of the Florida schools. I only wanted to go to Florida. Growing up, once I got into basketball and once I got into sports, for whatever reason, Florida just stood out to me. I was a big Florida basketball fan. I grew up kind of liking Florida State and Miami football-wise. I [also] have family that actually lives in Alachua, outside of Gainesville, so going up there every summer – it kind of grew on me. I chose [Florida] over Florida State and Alabama.”

AS: You did get some playing time early on in your Gators career, but last two years is when your role increased. Losing its three top veterans, the team was significantly underrated going into the 2005-06 season. At what point did you guys realize that you had something special going on?
CR: “You know what, honestly, I know it sounds cliché and everybody says it, but once we got together that summer … Everybody went home for summer break and we came back to start working out for the season, and once we got back and started playing with each other, that was our first time playing together without David [Lee], Matt [Walsh] and Peep [Anthony Roberson]. So we never really saw what each person was capable of doing because everybody’s role was a little bit different that previous year. Just coming in and playing pick up, it was just a lot different. And we saw that on any given night that it can be anybody’s night. So we kind of took that and kind of embraced that and thought it was an advantage for us because we knew that we didn’t have any selfishness on the team. So nobody minded playing backseat … everybody just helped each other and kept it going.”

Read the rest of our exclusive interview with Chris Richard…after the break!
Continue Reading » F/C Chris Richard: “All I can do is give my best.”

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TWO BITS: Bulls keep Richard, Tebow’s a “goon”

1 » Originally a second-round pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2007 NBA Draft, former Florida Gators forward/center Chris Richard was most recently playing for the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League. That was until Feb. 5 when he signed a 10-day contract with the NBA‘s Chicago Bulls. In fact, the Bulls have been so impressed with his limited work that they have decided to sign Richard to a second 10-day contract as fellow former Florida F/C Joakim Noah continues to nurse his plantar fasciitis injury. Richard also played for Chicago during the preseason and saw action in six games before being released.

2 » It is tough to question new Kentucky Wildcats head coach Joker Phillips’ football credentials, seeing as he has coached Division I college football for over 20 years. But when he goes out of his way to call former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow a “goon,” well, OGGOA can certainly question his vocabulary. Asked by CBS if he senses “an opening at Florida with Urban Meyer’s status up in the air,” Phillips responded that the loss of Tebow is the real key. “Obviously, Florida won’t be the same,” he said. “They had a goon at quarterback. Usually the goon is the offensive or defensive lineman. They’ve had a goon at quarterback. That guy is a great leader. He could play anywhere. He’s a coach on the field. He’s one of those guys who rarely comes around. Now with him being gone, you hope that they take a step back. They will, definitely, in leadership.” If you want to get technical, there is a definition of goon (a man hired to terrorize or eliminate opponents) that fits Phillips’ usage…but it is a stretch to say the least. You could also argue that this BIT is a stretch. Well…so be it.

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Chicago Bulls sign Chris Richard to 10-day deal

Former Florida Gators forward/center Chris Richard has signed a 10-day contract with the NBA’s Chicago Bulls. Richard, originally a second-round pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2007 NBA Draft, was most recently playing for the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League.

Fellow former Florida F/C Joakim Noah is out through the All-Star break with plantar fasciitis; Richard was signed to fill his roster spot on the Bulls. Richard played for Chicago during the preseason and saw action in six games before being released.

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