Richard's C-USA Performance Hints at Future Success

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:16 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Mar 12, 2011 4:2 PM CDT

Bobby Lewis
Oklahoma Sports Reporter

El Paso, TX – The Golden Hurricane will not play in the NCAA tournament this season after a tough loss to UTEP in the league’s conference semifinals. But, the play of one junior has given the team reason to believe that 2011-12 will be the year the Golden Hurricane makes it back to college basketball’s biggest stage.

Forward Joe Richard was sensational during the team’s two games in the conference tournament. The 6-foot-6 California native scored 19 combined points on 8-for-11 shooting. He tied a team-high by grabbing 13 rebounds.

“I told him he has a big summer ahead of him,” said Tulsa head coach Doug Wojcik, “if he can continue to do the things he’s been doing the last two, three, four weeks.”

Richard was a big reason why the game against the Miners didn’t get out of hand in a hurry. After Randy Culpepper scored the first seven points of the game for UTEP, Richard responded by scoring the Golden Hurricane’s first five points. He threw down a pair of vicious dunks in traffic and helped keep the game close for 28 minutes.

Richard averaged 6.1 rebounds this season. That included a team-high 73 offensive rebounds. His combination of size and power could spell trouble for the league next season.

“I’m really proud of him,” said Wojcik. “He’s going to be a great, great leader and a kid who really developed over his four year career.”

The Golden Hurricane awaits its postseason fate. Invitations to postseason tournaments will be handed out on Sunday.