Weber State basketball seniors: Richardson reflects on roller-coaster career

February 24, 2018 GMT

OGDEN — Weber State senior guard Ryan Richardson  vividly remembers his first practice as a freshman at the Dee Events Center.

The Arizona native took a big blow off a screen from former Weber State forward Kyndahl Hill and said he “literally slid out of the tunnel” in the arena.

After the guard picked himself up and came back to the floor, coaches looked at him as if to say: “Welcome to Division-I basketball.”

That 2014-15 season ended in a first-round exit at the Big Sky Tournament with an overtime loss to Montana. Richardson went on to be a part of the 2016 championship team and the heartbreaking loss to North Dakota a year ago in Reno.

“Just seeing the difference in my freshman year to now, I think what’s going through my mind the most is how quick it went,” Richardson said. “I remember like it was yesterday. It’s kind of surreal just thinking I’ve been here for four years and it’s pretty much over.”

> Richardson scores 27, Weber State outlasts Portland State

Richardson’s career has been one of ups and downs. His freshman season was, record-wise, the worst in the Randy Rahe era, and there were brief moments when he found himself out of the rotation.

Those early challenges were difficult, but he says enduring them has made him and his team better. He has one last chance to go out on top as the Wildcats fight for the regular-season title with the conference tournament quickly approaching.

“If we’re able to go out this year and get the championship, I think it would be the perfect ending,” Richardson said. “The learning experiences, when you’re going through them, suck. They’re awful.

“Seeing the progress, you start to realize that if it weren’t for that year, I wouldn’t be the player I am now. I look back at that and I’m glad I went through the struggles we had.”

Richardson has played in a way he hopes will translate into playing professionally overseas. His shooting ability and defensive toughness could attract attention of professional teams.

The 6-foot-4 senior has a career 3-point average just shy of 40 percent, but his shooting took off this season. He’s knocking down 3s at a 43.7 percent mark on seven attempts per game, scoring 14 points per contest. For his career (prior to Saturday’s contest against Idaho), he has 227 3-pointers, fifth-best at Weber State.

Richardson’s uncle, a former college basketball player at Wyoming, has given the senior advice throughout his career. One piece has stuck from day one.

Enjoy every minute of it.

“He’s been saying it since I got here,” Richardson said. “Just enjoy it now, have fun while you’re in college and enjoy the process. It’s exciting, because I feel like I’ll be playing somewhere after this. To know that it’s coming to an end is also really sad, because you meet your college teammates and they’re your brothers for four years.”

Richardson is getting married in the summer and current teammate Brenden Morris will be there as a groomsman.

When he’s officially no longer a Wildcat, Richardson said he hopes he will be remembered for doing anything to help his team win, and for his development into a pesky defender.

Contact sports reporter Brandon Garside at bgarside@standard.net, on Twitter @BrandonGarside and on Facebook.com/BrandonGarsideSE.