First-round picks in any league’s draft often play with a chip on their shoulders as hopes and eyes are fixed on them to prove their selection. As such, Malachi Richardson has a lot to prove especially after his injury beset seasons, and limited playing time. Nevertheless, he is an intriguing prospect with loads of potentials to develop into a solid NBA contributor.
Malachi Richardson is an American professional basketball player for the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). After one season of a collegiate career in Syracuse, he was selected with the 22nd overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets.
Who is Malachi Richardson of the NBA?
It was on January 5, 1996, in Trenton, New Jersey that Malachi Richardson was born. In his freshman year of high school, he attended Trenton Catholic Academy (TCA) but transferred to Roselle Catholic High School the following year. However, he decided to return to TCA for his junior and senior years.
While in high school, Malachi played basketball impressively and in his sophomore year, he won the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Tournament of Champions for boys basketball. On his return to Trenton, he served as a team captain in his junior and senior years. In most of his games with the Iron Mikes, he scored in double digits and totaled 1,245 points, averaging 19.2 points in his junior year and 18.7 in his senior year.
He was a high prospect coming out of high school and was the 2015 McDonald’s All-American. He was recruited by Syracuse University where he played only one but an explosive season for the Syracuse Orange basketball team. During his single season with the team, he showed immense promise causing his name to continually sneak up prospect rankings as the 2016 NBA Draft approached.
He began all 37 games for the Orange and from which he had 79 three-pointers (the third most by a Syracuse freshman). Richardson as well averaged 13.4 points with 4.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. He was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team and also led the team to the Final Four of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
5 Facts You Need To Know About Malachi Richardson of NBA
1. Basketball has always been his dream
From the time his mom let him in on the game at an early age, it became life for him, and his world seemingly revolved around it. He watched games on the TV and was a die-hard fan of Kobe Byrant who he says inspired him a great deal. He has since nursed dreams of playing in the NBA and becoming a superstar therein.
Eventually, he started playing in the local leagues from where the stage for his elite career was set. Since then, he has played with passion, joy, buoyancy, and conviction he admires in others, hoping to go pro someday.
2. A single season of college basketball
Richardson was a freshman with a bright future and on a path seemingly leading to his sophomore year in college. However, after the NCAA Tournament where he lifted Syracuse to the Final Four, he also did the same for himself but in this case, to a sooner-than-expected departure to the NBA forgoing his final three years of eligibility to enter the 2016 draft. Finally, the opportunity to try the waters on the other end (pro level) of the game came.
His postseason success worked in his favor as it pushed him to the first-round status (22nd overall pick) by the Charlotte Hornets who traded his rights to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Marco Belinelli.
3. Richardson didn’t think about going pro until after the Tournament ended
While many held the opinion that he would leave college for the league after his standout first season, Malachi didn’t think about it even though he showed up in mock drafts. His choice to transit was a last-minute decision and he even finished his academic work should he return to retain his eligibility.
He may not know exactly what prompted him to make the decision even amidst many views that he should hold on to until later in the future, going pro for him was already dyed in the wools; he was finally ready for the next level. The end of the NCAA Tournament only added to the progression that began with a mother who had a passion for basketball. And going pro for him was only a dream whose time came earlier than anticipated.
4. He has had a not so-so NBA Career thus far
Though he showed gleams of potentials during the early games of his rookie season with the Kings, he suffered a right hamstring injury in February 2017 which shut him down for the rest of the season. Most of his playing time has come in the G-League with the Reno Bighorns during his season and a half with the Kings. He played in only 25 games before being traded to the Toronto Raptors.
He was acquired by the Raptors at the trade deadline in exchange for Bruno Caboclo on February 8, 2018. After his first game with the team the following day, he received multiple assignments to their G League affiliate, Raptors 905 for the rest of the season.
After two seasons, Malachi Richardson has only played in 48 games. Though his career could be described as rocky thus far, he is happy he left college after one season of playing there. At that, he is set to prove why he was a first-round selection going into the offseason and beyond.
5. It was his mom who introduced him to the game
Malachi is one of the three children born to basketball enthusiasts, Jacquie, and Lewis Richardson. For Jacquie, basketball became a lifelong passion from just something done to pass time. She played alongside her twin sister as a 2-guard on athletic scholarship first at UMass before transferring to Virginia State. She craved competition and despised losing
Thus, when she gave birth to her first child, she envisioned a future propped by basketball for him. At only four years, she put the ball in his hands and has since guided him onto the stage he now stands on.
Malachi hopes to do the same for his son, Kody (born April 2018) who he shares with his girlfriend Emily Garcia. Basketball may be life for the young player but the family remains everything to him.
Body Stats: Height, Weight
Malachi Richardson has the physical features of a modern NBA player. He stands at 6 inches above 6 feet (1.98 m, good enough for a point guard) with a matching weight of 205 lb (93 kg), he is athletic and has shown signs of a competent jump shot. He has a 7-ft wingspan.