From The Couch - Mitch Richmond

Mitch Richmond played at K-State from 1986-1988 as a junior college transfer and went on to become an NBA hall of famer.  It's hard to argue that he put together the best professional career of any K-State basketball player in history.  Let's learn a little bit more about Mitch....

"Richmond was inducted into the Hall of Fame after a successful 14-year career in the NBA and a memorable run at Kansas State. He averaged 21 points as a professional basketball player, playing so well with the Sacramento Kings that they retired his jersey. He also played for (the) Golden State Warriors, Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Lakers. He won a NBA championship in his final season with the Lakers and twice represented the United States in the Olympics, winning a Gold Medal in 1996."...Kellis Robinett, The Wichita Eagle, August 8, 2014

JM:  Richmond has both his college and professional jerseys retired and also has an NBA championship ring, an Olympic gold medal, an NBA all-star game MVP trophy and an NBA rookie of the year trophy.  That's crazy good!

"Mitchell James Richmond III was born in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Growing up, his first love was football. Mitch didn’t play basketball until he attended Boyd Anderson High School. Before enrolling at Kansas State University, Richmond played for the Moberly Area Community College Greyhounds. He scored 1,023 points from 1984-1986, and still holds the Hounds single season record for best free throw percentage (14-14, 100%). In 1994, Richmond was inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association Basketball Hall of Fame."

JM:  Well heck, let's just add another hall of fame to Richmond's resume!

"A Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native, he started his college basketball career at Moberly (Mo.) Area Community College, where Dana Altman was in his second season as the coach. During the next two years, Altman likes to say, 'Mitch won 69 games, and I found a way to lose nine.'"...Lindsay Schnell, Sports Illustrated, March 23, 2016

JM:  Richmond's son, Phil, went to Oregon and played for Dana Altman as a walk-on in 2014.  I found this quote in an article about Phil Richmond.

"The 6-foot-5 native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. assembled perhaps the greatest two-year playing career in school history, as his 1,327 points are the most by a player in a two-year career and his 20.7 career scoring average ranks fourth. As a senior, he led the Wildcats to a then school-record tying 25 wins and a trip to the Elite Eight. He averaged 22.6 points on 51.4 percent shooting and was a second team All-American by several outlets."

JM:  Several things stick out to me here, but Richmond was always a scoring machine.  He holds the record for points in a two year career at K-State

Read more here:
“'Lon Kruger not only developed my game, but also taught me about accountability,' Richmond said. 'He said to me, ‘I can help you, but you have to be committed.’ That meant showing up early for practice and staying late. That extra work really paid off.'”...Kellis Robinett, The Wichita Eagle, August 8, 2014

JM:  Work ethic is a common theme I noticed when reading about Mitch Richmond.

Read more here:

"Mitch Richmond, who sparked his Kansas State Wildcats to unexpected successes, and Danny Manning, who kept the Kansas Jayhawks together when falling apart seemed imminent, were unanimous choices to the 1988 United Press International All-Big Eight Conference team announced Monday."...John Hendel, UPI, March 7, 1988

JM:  Derrick Chievous, Harvey Grant and Jeff Grayer joined Manning and Richmond on the All-Big Eight team in 1988.

"'If he doesn't make the pros, I'll eat my shoes,' said former NBA star Bob Lainer. Counters (Oklahoma State head coach Leonard) Hamilton, 'I'm not going to say I'm going to eat Bob Lanier's shoes, but I agree with him. (Richmond's) not always the biggest player on the floor, but he has the biggest heart. He's Superman in a Kansas State uniform.'''...John Hendel, UPI, March 7, 1988

JM:  Superman!!!  Mitch would end up being the 5th pick in the 1988 NBA draft, going to the Golden State Warriors.

"During his prime, Mitch Richmond was selected to the U.S. Olympic team, also known as 'Dream Team III' and won a gold medal and was recognized as one of the best pure shooters in the NBA."...NBA basketball hall of fame website

JM:  Mitch shot 45.5% from the field and 38.8% from three point range during his NBA career.  At K-State he shot 48.3% from the field and 41.3% from three point range. "One of the best pure shooters in the NBA" sure seems to fit.

"During the 1990-91 season, each member of the high-scoring trio, nicknamed "Run TMC," averaged well over 20 PPG. Mullin led the way with 25.7 PPG, Richmond chipped in with 23.9 and Hardaway put up 22.9."...Bleacher Report, August 18, 2011

JM:  "Run TMC" was a play off of a popular rap group at the time, "Run DMC."  Here's a photo of Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin, "Run TMC."

"Richmond is one of only seven players in league history to average at least 21 PPG in each of his first 10 seasons. The other six are Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal and Allen Iverson."...Bleacher Report, August 18, 2011

JM:  Wow, that's some good company.  I looked up some current NBA stars like Steph Curry and Lebron to see if this stat still holds true.  Curry's stats don't hold up. Lebron averaged 20.9 his first season otherwise he would join the list.

"The Lakers came through on expectation and completed the second three-peat in franchise history. Richmond watched most of the journey from the sidelines. He played a total of four minutes in the playoffs. But he still got a final moment on the court that he could savor.

With the clocking winding down as the Lakers wrapped up a sweep of the New Jersey Nets, the coaching staff put Richmond on the court for the final minute of the game. He took, and made, one last shot of his career and dribbled the clock out to confirm the victory. These gestures say a lot about how the team felt about Richmond as a teammate. They gave him that moment not out of obligation, but because they respected and liked him."...Garrett Burke,, May 23, 2020

JM:  Richmond got to play his last season with Kobe and Shaq winning an NBA championship.

"Mitch Richmond spent seven seasons playing for the Kings, and eventually joined their front office. Now, he's rounding out his link to Sacramento and the NBA as a Kings' pregame and postgame analyst for NBC Sports California."...Brian Witt, NBC Sports BayArea, November 22, 2019

JM:  I don't watch the NBA, but I might have to see if I can catch a Mitch Richmond broadcast sometime.

"Richmond's sacrifice came with the territory of his position as assistant men's basketball coach at St. John's University, on the staff of longtime friend and former teammate Chris Mullin. Mullin hired Richmond as a special assistant upon taking the head coaching job, and he was promoted to assistant coach the following year."...Brian Witt, NBC Sports BayArea, November 22, 2019

JM:  Mullin eventually stepped down as coach of St. John's, so Richmond's coaching career was short lived.

"I think it was an experience for the best," Richmond said of his time at St. John's. "I think each year we felt like we improved the team. Last year, we got to the [NCAA] Tournament. But, it definitely was a learning experience. The college game is so different from the pro game ... you forget that you played college way back when because you've been a part of the NBA family for so long. So, it was a learning experience, a learning curve, but I enjoyed it."...Brian Witt, NBC Sports BayArea, November 22, 2019

JM: St. John's lost in the First Four of the NCAA tournament in 2019 and this would be Richmond's last game as a college coach.

“'Mitch wasn’t a flashy player,' says Jerry Reynolds, the Kings’ GM when they traded for Richmond in 1991. 'He was just a very solid, throwback kind of player. He was a guy you could just plug in there. Like a terrific hitter in baseball, you just put him in the lineup and he was gonna get you 25 points and guard his position.'”...Tzvi Twersky, Slam Online, November 1, 2010

JM:  I thought this was an interesting quote, because it's what I believe as well.  I never thought Richmond was one of the best players out there and he definitely wasn't flashy.  He was the kind of guy that you notice when you look at the box score the next day because he put up some really good stats and was a solid contributor.

“Most of the 2-guards in the League were half scared of him,” recalls Reynolds. “If they knocked him down, they’d run over and pick him up. They didn’t want Mitch mad. He got the nickname Rock for a reason. He didn’t back down from anybody. He was kind of the Karl Malone of 2-guards.”...Tzvi Twersky, Slam Online, November 1, 2010

JM:  The Karl Malone of 2-guards.  I LOVE that!

"Marty McNeal, the Sacramento Bee’s writer on the Kings beat from ’92-’05, remembers one story that encapsulates Richmond’s ringless reign in Sacramento. During the preseason one year, the Kings met up with the Chicago Bulls. With the Kings going full bore and the Bulls playing bored, the tilt ended up stretching to double-overtime, where Sacramento prevailed. When the final buzzer sounded, the Kings sang and danced their way around the court. The only thing missing was confetti. Says McNeal: “Jordan was like, ‘Go over there and tell Mitch that wasn’t the seventh game of the world championship. It was a pre-season game.’”...Tzvi Twersky, Slam Online, November 1, 2010

JM:  This story could have been in "The Last Dance."  Mitch didn't win a lot when he played for Sacramento.  He was the star of the team, but didn't have much help around him.  So when they won a game, any game, it was time to celebrate.

“He’s clearly the best 2-guard Sacramento has ever had,” offers McNeal. “He was never scared, which I took for being clutch. You  always miss some shots. But you can look at dudes and see if they really want to shoot or don’t, and he always wanted the ball.”...Tzvi Twersky, Slam Online, November 1, 2010

JM:  The best 2-guard Sacramento has ever had?  Could very well be.  I can't think of any other contenders.

“Everybody liked and really respected him,” says Reynolds. “He was a leader and a no-nonsense guy. It was really an unpopular move when he was traded.”...Tzvi Twersky, Slam Online, November 1, 2010

JM:  This quote was referring to the trade to the Washington Wizards late in Richmond's career.

"After 14 seasons, his NBA résumé read better than almost any other guard from his era not named Michael Jordan: 21 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.2 spg, six All-Star Games, five Second and Third Team All-NBA selections and one Championship."...Tzvi Twersky, Slam Online, November 1, 2010

JM:  High praise once again.

I found a video produced by K-State about Mitch Richmond.  It's about five minutes long but worth the watch:


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