Denzel Richardson was "frustrated" when he didn't meet NCAA Division I qualifying standards coming out of Calvert Hall in 2012. But after committing to Eastern Kentucky last month, the former Cardinals star is convinced that "everything worked out for the best."
Richardson, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound shooting guard, was also recruited by Abilene Christian, Alabama State, Iona, LIU-Brooklyn, Montana State, North Dakota and UT-Martin. The opportunity to play for Eastern Kentucky, the reigning Ohio Valley Conference champions, was simply too great to pass up.
"I liked their style of play," Richardson said. "I think that fits me. I like how they shoot 3s because I'm a good 3-point shooter. I think I can fit in well in their system."
After he didn't qualify out of high school, Richardson left Baltimore and headed to Pensacola (Fla.) State College, where he teamed up with other former local stars like Montray Clemons (Poly), Darrion Stokes-Graham (Poly) and Leonard Livingston (Patterson).
Richardson started for the Pirates as a freshman, and followed that year up with a sophomore season in which he averaged more than 11 points and guided Pensacola to a share of the conference championship.
"It's a good step towards college basketball," Richardson said. "I was just trying to focus on doing my two years and getting out of there."
Richardson visited Eastern Kentucky about two weeks ago and committed before he left. He plans to study either business management or sports management.
"I felt like they showed me the most love and they had for the longest time," he said. "I wanted to show my commitment to them. I definitely like the competition. They're in the Ohio Valley Conference, so you have to bring it every night. It's been a real big dream for me to play on TV, so I know my family can see me."
The Colonels have made eight NCAA tournaments, including this past season when they came up just short against second-seeded Kansas.
"I'm just excited about coming in and playing my role and trying to help our team go back to the NCAA tournament," Richardson said. "That's my biggest goal."