D.J. Richardson, a 6-3 guard from Peoria, is living up to all the pre-season accolades, and then some. Richardson's numbers have skyrocketed this season. "I'm a lot older and my understanding of the game has improved. This year I wanted to prove to myself first, and others second, that I'm an all-around player. I want to be able to score, play defense, handle the ball, pass the ball, and help make my teammates better," said Richardson.
Tonight, in a head-to-head match-up with Washington, the Illinois recruit takes on an Indiana recruit, Matt Roth. Richardson is very excited about the match-up. "Sure, why wouldn't I be. I'm sure he is too. It should be a great high school game, people should want to come out to see it, you have two future Big Ten players playing," Richardson stated. InsideIllini.com plans to take in the game tonight. We'll have an update for you after the game.
Everyone that's met Richardson knows he has the potential to be a fan favorite, and not just because of his skill on the court. This kid also has that special something with the media, the players, and the fans. He keeps up with his fellow recruits and current players. "I have talked with Jereme Richmond, we always stay in touch with each other. I also talk to Demetri McCamey before every game and wish him good luck. He's played really good for Illinois. I also talk to Jamar [Smith] a lot. He's doing really good himself. He told me how well he's been playing so that should help them next year. They'll also have that new kid, Alex from Kentucky, so they will be so much better next year. They just have to forget about this year, when they take the court next season, and get better and win some games. They will have the players do to that," Richardson said.
Richardson is tangible proof of the positive results Weber has achieved with his new aggressive approach to recruiting. Getting D.J. early was very important to the recruiting success the staff has seen recently.
Keep up with InsideIllini.com for more on Richardson as his team moves through the playoffs and as he hits the summer AAU circuit.