The Kangaroos, coached by former U of L assistant Kareem Richardson, face the Cardinals Wednesday at 7 p.m.
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Kareem Richardson, an assistant coach the past season at Xavier University and a 15-year collegiate coaching veteran, joined the Cardinals' coaching staff in April 2012 as an assistant coach.
Richardson made the most of his season at Xavier, helping the Musketeers reach the NCAA Sweet 16 and the finals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament last season while posting a 23-12 record. He helped the Musketeers land a Top 20 recruiting class in 2011.
Richardson, 37, had joined Xavier from Drake University, where he had been the head assistant coach for three seasons. He has also served on the basketball staffs at Missouri-Kansas City, Evansville, Indiana State, Wright State and Indianapolis.
"A few years back, I almost hired this young man," Pitino said. "Ralph (Willard) and I were about as impressed with the interview as anybody we've met with. Kareem (Richardson) is terrific at all facets of the game, and that's what I was looking for. As you all know, Richard did a bulk of the scouting, and Kareem did a lot of it at Drake. He's a very good X's and O's guy. He's a very hard-working recruiter and an outstanding person."
Richardson has been ranked as one of the top assistants in college basketball according to the basketball website Collegeinsider.com. He earned a reputation as a top-level recruiter during his time at Drake, serving as recruiting coordinator and helping head coach Mark Phelps secure the top-rated recruited class in the Missouri Valley Conference in two out his three years there. In his first year as assistant coach at Drake, Richardson helped lead the Bulldogs to post-season play during the 2008-09 season, in the inaugural CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Prior to Drake, Richardson was the top assistant with the UMKC men's basketball program for the 2007-08 season. Richardson served as an assistant coach at his alma mater Evansville from 2003-07, one season (2002-03) at Wright State, as well as a stint at Indiana State (1999-2002). Richardson's coaching career began at the University of Indianapolis from 1997-99.
Richardson helped Indiana State enjoy some tremendous success. In 2000, he helped the Sycamores reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the Larry Bird era in the late 1970s. A year later in 2001, Indiana State topped No. 4 seed Oklahoma to advance to the second round of the NCAAs.
As a player, Richardson played in an NCAA Tournament as a freshman at East Carolina University. He then transferred to Evansville in 1995 and quickly established himself as the Purple Aces' top point guard. Richardson, who was a team captain two years, was selected to the Missouri Valley Conference all-academic team in both 1996 and 1997. In 1996, he received notoriety on the MVC all-underrated team. He was a first team all-state selection at Rantoul (Ill.) Township High School in 1992 and was twice named conference player of the year.
Richardson, who was born in Tacoma, Wash., graduated from Evansville with a bachelor's degree in telecommunication and interpersonal communication in 1997 and received his MBA from the University of Indianapolis in 1999.
He and his wife, Greta, have three children, Jasmiyn, Amari and Andre.