When it came time to make his college visits, Khalil Richard didn't get very far. The former St. Frances star, whose finalists were Boston University, Siena and Wright State, needed just one trip before making his decision.
"Siena was actually my first one," Richard said. "When I got there I was like, 'Wow, I don't even want to visit anywhere else. This is great.'"
Richard, a 6-foot-1, 170-pound combo guard, committed to the Saints on Tuesday. He plans to sign with Siena in November.
Siena had been the steadiest presence throughout Richard's recruitment, dating to his sophomore year at St. Frances. But Richard's relationship with Siena coach Jimmy Patsos and assistant coach Greg Manning went back even further.
"When I was younger, I went to Loyola's camp," he said of the school where Patsos and Manning used to coach. "So that's when I really started to get familiar with Loyola and Coach Patsos. Towards my high school years, that's when I really started to know about Siena. That's basically how I got to connect with Coach Patsos."
Patsos had successfully recruited St. Frances players before – center Josh Forney to Loyola and guard Maurice White to Siena – so Richard had a good idea of what to expect if he were to do the same. But Richard still wanted to make sure that he was truly wanted by the Saints coaching staff.
"I think they offered me my sophomore year," Richard said. "Junior year, Coach [Patsos] came to a few of my games – actually a lot. Me and him started talking, me and Patsos and Coach Manning. Coach Manning came to see me in Atlanta. Coach Patsos and Coach Manning saw me in Vegas. When I saw them there, I knew they really wanted me to play at Siena."
Richard, an All-Baltimore Catholic League honorable mention as a junior, is spending his senior year at Shiloh High School in Snellville, Ga., but his ties to Baltimore remain strong. When he visited Siena, he was reacquainted with former Maryland 3D and Baltimore Elite AAU teammates Evan Fisher (McDonogh) and Nico Clareth (Calvert Hall), both freshmen at Siena.
"I was really comfortable with them on the visit," Richard said. "I watched them work out. It was good. Everything was just great. I was like, 'Wow, this is too good to be true.' I asked the players if they liked it, and everyone said, 'Yeah, Coach Patsos takes care of us.' When I heard that, I thought I could definitely see myself there."
Richard plans to play shooting guard as a freshman, while seeing some time at point guard when Marquis Wright (North Point) needs a breather. Richard said he's looking forward to being the latest Marylander to join Siena and bringing "an instant spark" to the team.
"I know I have a lot of learning to do as far as the point guard role," he said. "I know Marquis Wright, going at him every day [in practice] will be great and make me a whole lot better. … [Patsos told me to] 'never stop doing what you do,' which is scoring. When I come there, I'll be … leading the team and still be able to score. That's basically my role."