December 4, 2011
Major schools flash on Richmond's radar
High Point, N.C. - It is not even fair for the opponents of Wesleyan Christian Academy, as they have to matchup with the likes of Theo Pinson, 2012 Florida State commitment Montay Brandon and then the one who runs the Trojans show, JaQuel Richmond.
The sophomore point guard from Greensboro was disappointed with his performance Thursday when Duke assistant coach Jeff Capel was in attendance, so he came out guns blazing Friday against Rabun Gap School.
He was Wesleyan's leading scorer at halftime with 15 points, and finished second on the team's stat sheet with 18 points to help lead the Trojans to a 61-42 win.
"I came out with the mindset tonight that we've got to win the game, and that we had to play hard and that we had to play defense first," Richmond said. "If we played defense we were going to win this game. That's what we did."
Richmond's greatest strength is his ability to drive the lane, which he showcased frequently Friday. He played a significant role in a bunch of highlight reel plays, but left his emphatic exclamation point in the first half with a steal and breakaway one-handed dunk.
Wesleyan's floor general said he has worked most on improving his long-range shot, which he displayed early in the third quarter when he drained a three-pointer to put the Trojans up nine points.
"JaQuel has five gears, very quick, can get to the rim, can defend," Wesleyan Christian Academy head coach Keith Gatlin said. "His shot has improved so much, so we're really blessed to have him."
Still a ways off till Richmond reaches the collegiate level, but coaches from BCS programs are positioning themselves to cash in on his recruiting sweepstakes.
After his team's blowout victory Friday Richmond listed Syracuse, Duke, North Carolina and Virginia Tech as his top schools. Duke, Carolina and Syracuse have yet to offer the 6-foot-1 and 170-pound 2014 recruit (Rated as a four-star prospect by Rivals.com).
The investigation into Ex-Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine for alleged child molestation has not affected the Orange in their pursuit for Richmond.
"I still like Coach [Adrian Autry]," Richmond said. "Coach Autry recruited me for Syracuse. Me and him and have a good relationship so far right now. I still look at Syracuse and I look at how they play, and I think I could fit there too."
He recently made a trip to Tuscaloosa to check out the Alabama Crimson Tide.
"It was fun, because it was a big campus, and I got to tour around the campus and see everybody, and then watch the football game and be around the basketball players,"
Richmond said. "They got a good staff. They got a good facility and everything."
He added that the Tide offered him a scholarship.
Richmond added that his next visit will be to Duke, and also wants to make a trip to Tallahassee to check out the Seminoles.
He visited Wake Forest last summer with his dad, Gatlin and Pinson, and the Demon Deacons made quite the impression. Gatlin said they enjoyed the short trip to Winston-Salem and that he thinks the Deacs are on the rise.
"Wake Forest has a good coach," Richmond said. "I like all of the coaches for Wake Forest. They all showed me great interest, and they're going to really work hard with me if I decide to go there."
While Richmond is enjoying the high-interest college coaches are showing in him his main focus is to lead his team to a state championship.
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