When you talk about young players there are so many variables that go into what makes them who they are as a person and an athlete . Projecting talented players futures are difficult because of those variables. I have always said I have an advantage that every college coaches wished they could have. I get to see many talented players at the start. I see then often as young as 4th grade. I get to know things like their work ethic, skill level, attitude and of course the most important thing of all…there NATURAL TALENT LEVEL…when it comes to natural talent one 8th grader stands out above them all in next years incoming shore freshman class.



Next season’s freshman class is the smallest number of lock incoming Division 1 players in recent years. Size, natural strength, quickness and athleticism are things coaches dream about in a player and not easily found in next years class. Kayla Richardson of Middletown has all these things. She is 6 ft with a Division 1 college body right now. She has the strength of a senior in high school and her quickness for a player of her size and length is rare and a gift. She also has skills you simply do not teach. 



When you have Kayla Richardson’s size, it’s natural for coaches to want to play her in the post. She is a wide body who has every post move you could expect from a young player. Let me go on the record and say this, Kayla Richardson’s post play ability is better than most Division 1 college players …RIGHT NOW!  But whats make Richardson really special is this…she has the passing and ball handling skills of a point guard. Her shooting range is out to 25 feet. This my friends is a player with the total package. She is that young player that can play every position on offense. Now we often say these things about  kids, only to find out later, they were masquerading. In the case of Kayla Richardson its as real as it gets….she on most nights would be the best player on a team in ALL 5 POSITIONS. There is no doubt Richardson will play every single position at some point in high school, depending on what her high school coach ask her too do.


I have known Kayla since she has been in 5th grade. She will not admit this, but she doesn’t always enjoy my company or coaching style. To some it may even appear to be a rocky relationship. I coach Kayla Richardson hard, I mean real hard, I go out of my way to make sure she knows in my eyes she is no different than any other kid. I call her out in front of her peers as often as I can. Like all kids, she doesn’t like it and there is no question I am not one of her favorites. We have a very stand off relationship on and off the court. But Kayla Richardson and I have a bond that we share… my daughter.



Kayla Richardson has been over my house on may occasions. She and my daughter talk about many things and most times its not about basketball. They have a big sister,  little sister relationship. It’s a relationship that until my daughter joined the Colgate coaching staff and was a good one. But once Candice left New Jersey, Kayla lost a friend and most importantly somebody who could explain to me Kayla thoughts when I would call her out on things during workouts. Kayla and Candice often worked out together. But she rarely if ever worked out with me…Kayla Richardson does not enjoy working out with me. I know this and she in heart knows it as well. She has her own set of personal trainers. They push her and give her that nurturing love and attention all girls need at some point. But what makes Kayla special is this…she is always respectful to adults and coaches. This too is rare in kids today.



When Kayla Richardson was younger, she was so much better than other kids, she did not have to work hard to dominate. But two years ago something changed in her attitude about training. She seemed to do everything with a new found intensity. I noticed it and mentioned it to my daughter Candice, who said  “you don’t understand, she’s older now, because she was so tall, you wanted her to act and work like somebody in high school”  Candice was right and Kayla Richardson right now is one of my hardest workers. Last week she left the shooting session early to watch the RBC vs Ramapo game in the Bulldog Challenge, she wanted to be a kid and just enjoy her friends and the game.  I got all over her about it. I told her she was taking short cuts and not focused. She said I a four hour work out with Skylar Diggins in Maryland on Saturday.  I said ” I don’t care” and I meant every word of it. I told my daughter and she said “Dad if it was anyone else you would have not said a word” That may be true, but Kayla Richardson is not every other kid and it’s my job to remind of her that everyday. 


Kayla Richardson is one of the smartest kids I know. She will graduate from high school with a 4.0 one day and you can bank on that.  How do I know this? Because she has tremendous pride in her education and she understands at a early age the importance of being a top student. She knows that if she wants to special she must bring the entire package to the table and it’s another reason why she is going to Middletown South.



When Kayla Richardson’s mom, called Tom Brennan to discuss high school. Here is what he said, “we don’t recruit, if you want to come here, call the school and set up an appointment”.  Right there weather he knew it or not…he had landed Kayla Richardson. You see Tom Brennan takes great pride in that Middletown South has developed D1 players over the years. Stephanie Karcz was his first lock Division one player, he ever had. The others were developed by him and his staff. He takes pride in that fact that his kids are local. Tom Brennan is a teacher first and I believe that is his true calling. He loves being in the classroom and basketball is truly a hobby. It’s one of the reasons that Kayla Richardson’s mom Jennifer, moved to Middletown, she wanted a role model for her daughter not just a coach.  She wants Kayla to be held responsible for her actions  and be in a drama free program, regardless of  her basketball talents.  It was important for Kayla to be with kids who enjoy basketball but its not life and death. Kalya Richardson will laying the tracks for life, not just basketball. Because their are NO STARS  at Middleton South. There are great players but no stars….JUST ASK STEPHANIE KARZC.



So Kayla Richardson will need to be focused and work hard to fulfill her promise. She will start the year as one of the best 8th graders in the state and all that will mean exactly nothing. She will have eyes on her always and people will get excited to make a name for themselves at her expense. People will watch how she treats teammates, and those less talented than her. They will want to know if she is a typical great player with a big head or a good teammate. But here is what  they will learn; Kayla Richardson is growing up and she is becoming a real leader. I also know that no matter how hard any coach, fan or parent is on Kayla Richardson, she will keep coming back and never give him …how do I know this? Because college coaches pay close attention to what am about to say…. nobody has put more pressure on this young lady than I have..and she had always responded….it called GREATNESS and in 4 years, she just may be the greatest of them all…   

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