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Josh Richardson Reflects on Career in 1-on-1 Interview

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Saturday, Josh Richardson will be playing his last home regular season game as a Volunteer. The unquestioned leader of this basketball team, Richardson has truly blossomed into one of the league’s best players this season. He leads the SEC in steals (2.0 spg), ranks sixth in scoring (15.7 ppg), 12th in assists (3.6 apg) and 10th in free throw percentage (.791). Without him, I’m not sure the Vols win a game this season.

He sat down with me for a 1-on-1 interview this week to discuss his career, this season, Donnie Tyndall, Cuonzo Martin and more. You’ll find the transcript of that interview below.

Q: How big was Tennessee’s 78-63 win at LSU on Wednesday? 

A: It was big. We were more aggressive than them the whole game. I told the guys before the game ‘remember what they did to us our our house.’ We don’t take that lightly.  There wasn’t very much that had to be said to get the guys up for that game.

Q: How has playing point guard helped your game?

A: It slowed the game down a lot for me, even more so than last year. I feel like a see plays a lot earlier than I normally would and have learned how to run a team. I feel like I can definitely translate that (to the next level). It shows a lot of versatility in my game.

Q: What are your basketball goals after college? 

A: I hope to get a chance to play in the NBA somewhere. If that’s not it, I’ll definitely go somewhere else and play. I love the game of basketball, so wherever I can get a chance to play is alright with me.

Q: How important has your relationship with you parents been? 

A: It’s been great. I’m blessed to have the opportunity for my parents to even come here. They’re retired so they both have a lot of time on their hands. For them to be able to come to every game has been a great thing.

Q: What’s the one thing you’d tell freshman Josh Richardson?

A: You can’t shoot! It took a lot of work to change that. It’s been a process over the years.

Q: Did Cuonzo Martin challenge you to work on your shot? 

A: It was kind of a tough love thing. He would just make fun of me in practice because I couldn’t shoot. I think it was for a great reason. He knew what he was doing.

Q: How has playing in this zone defense helped you as a player? 

A: It’s been a lot different playing the zone but it still has a couple man principles. It’s helped me get my anticipation abilities back a little bit – being able to play off instinct a little more. It’s helped me learn my position – playing from straight man to man following somebody around to having to play a couple different zones on the court.

Q: Will you emotional during your last game at Thompson-Boling Arena?

A: Nah … … I don’t know. I’m not sure how it’s gonna go. It will be great to have my parents on the court [for Senior Day ceremonies].

Q: Have you thought about life after basketball? What does that look like for you? 

A: After basketball, I want to go back to athletic training school to be an athletic trainer or try to go into sports broadcasting.

Q: With a new staff for your senior year, how much have you had to adjust? 

A: Not too much. Their personalities are way different, but playing for them [Tyndall and Martin] isn’t much different. They’re both really passionate and really hard nosed. They both care a lot for us on and off the court. That’s what’s made the transition so easy for us. Playing for Coach Tyndall is fun.

Q: What’s your relationship with Tyndall like outside of practice and games? 

A: We have a good relationship and a good understanding. It’s been great, especially this last week. He’s been calling me and texting me – my aunt died not too long ago – so he’s been checking in and making sure I’m ok.

Q: I’m going to say a few words, you give me the first word that comes to mind. First up, the University of Tennessee?

A: Orange. It’s everywhere.

Q: Thompson-Boling Arena?

A: Loud.

Q: Cuonzo Martin?

A: Bald. Ohhhhh man. (laughs)

Q: Armani Moore?

A: Rough.

Q: Jarnell Stokes?

A: Strong.

Q: Jordan McRae?

A: Skinny.

Q: Tariq Owens?

A: Skinnier.

Q: Kevin Punter?

A: Weird shot. He kinda cocks it behind his head a little bit but it goes in so I’m not complaining.

Q: Donnie Tyndall?

A: LOUD. Very loud and demonstrative.

Q: Al Pinkins?

A: Smooth.

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