FRUITPORT – How much hoops talent can you field under one roof?
In the case of the Richards family, the answer is quite a lot.
In their careers at Fruitport Calvary Christian, sisters Taylor, Kelsey and Allyson re-wrote the record books, as they narrowly just missed on each scoring 2,000 career points. Because Fruitport Calvary has such a small enrollment, players are allowed to play on varsity beginning in their eighth-grade seasons. So Taylor chalked up 2,455 points during her five-year career; Kelsey is second on the school’s all-time list with 2,271 points, while Allyson poured in 1,951. Taylor and Allyson each went on to play at Cornerstone University. Kelsey started her career at Spring Arbor, but then later transferred to Cornerstone, which also happens to be the alma mater of their parents, Brad and Joy.
But when all is said and done, the youngest Richards sibling, Bradley, could be on a path to pass all three of his older sisters.
Already as a sophomore, he topped 1,000 career points this season, when he reached the milestone on the road against Byron Center Zion Christian on Jan. 29.
“Since it was a road game, we didn’t want to make a big issue of it,” said Brad Richards, who coaches his son at Calvary Christian. “Our next game was our Homecoming game, and our athletic director presented Bradley with a ball acknowledging the milestone.”
After averaging a double-double as an eighth-grader, Richards earned Division 4 all-state first-team honors as a freshman, when he averaged 21.2 points, 13.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Richards, who is closing in on standing 6-feet, 6 inches, is turning in an equally dominant sophomore campaign. Heading into the final week of the regular season with a 10-8 record, Richards has poured in 445 points for a 24.7 average, along with 13.1 rebounds a game and 3.1 assists.
Richards is just one of two players with varsity experience for the Eagles, which has no seniors on their team.
“He’s worked really hard in the weight room,” said Brad Richards. “He’s lean, but he’s strong. He’s put in a lot of work with (former Calvary Christian standout) Mike Warren, and he’s helped on getting him more explosive around the rim.”
But when Richards gets out in transition, watch out, especially for an athlete who was a conference and regional champ in high jump and also excelled in the 200-meter dash.
“Especially when I get going full speed (on the court), that’s when I get them,” said Bradley, who said he’s thrown down a few dunks this season.
It helps that he grew up in the gym watching his older sisters, who now occasionally gives him tips to improve his game.
“Kelsey, she’s given me a lot of input,” Bradley said. “She wants to go into coaching. She’s smaller than the rest, so she’s a really good dribbler as a guard. So she’s always talking about ball handling and ways to improve.”
Bradley said he’s carried on the mindset instilled by his parents that his sisters also lived by.
“My dad is very dedicated to the game,” he said. “So he’s always said, ‘Whatever you do, go forward with all you have.”
At the same time, Bradley said his dad isn’t overly pushy during the summer or in the off-season.
“He wants me to be self-motivated,” Richards said. “It’s not going to get me anywhere if he’s the one pushing me to do something.”
And while hoops is a huge part of his life – he also plays AAU with the West Michigan-area team, The House – Richards said music is also a passion. He’s learned how to play the saxophone, bass and electric guitars and is improving on the piano, and showcases his talents on the Calvary Christian’s worship team and at his church, Harvest in Spring Lake.
“I listen to a lot of 80s rock, but I’m starting to listen to more country,” he said. “I like anything with a summer vibe.”
Richards said it would definitely be a sweet tune if he could one day become the scoring king in his family. He believes the sky is the limit.
“I think I can pass (Taylor),” he said. “If I put in the time on my own and continue to improve and stay healthy, I should be able to do it.”