|Year of Graduation:||1990-1992|
In 1988 a young Alcoa, Tennessee native was finishing a distinguished career for the Tornadoes. This 6’3” forward guard with an amazing 36” vertical leap chose to continue his basketball career and education at Memphis State University upon his High School graduation.
As a walk-on, Kelvin Richardson helped the Tigers to an 18-12 record and an 8-6 mark in the Metro Conference. The squad received a bid to the NCAA Big Dance. He was offered a scholarship the next season, but his father had passed away and Kelvin returned to Alcoa to be with his mother Audrey, ready to give up basketball.
According to Coach Lambert, “Kelvin was a playground legend and everyone knew him.” Coach Randy Lambert saw him at an open gym/community night at MC and invited him to become a Fight Scot. The rest is history….
The 1990-1991 team earned their first trip to the NCAA post season with a 22-5 record. During his opening night in the orange and garnet this triple threat posted 24 points. As the legend of his skills grew, Kelvin did not disappoint the fans. A slashing basket, a long three-pointer, or a thunderous dunk would all be within his forte. In a game on January 4, 1991 against Tennessee Wesleyan he deposited 16points…..in the first seven minutes of the game! On a team that set the record for most three-point attempts in a season with 598 long distance shots, Kelvin was not shy…shooting 219 himself and connecting on 35% of his shots. He paced the Scots in scoring averaging 17 points a game.
Kelvin’s junior campaign saw the Cooper Crazies being spoiled by home success. The Scots went 15-1 at home and finished 25-4 with their second consecutive trip to the NCAA post-season. K-Rich would consistently have standout performances: 28 points against Tennessee Temple, 24 points against Stillman, 30 points against Milligan, 25 points against Ferrum, and 24 points against Illinois Wesleyan. He and his teammates: Tim Lawrence, Glen Cullop, Kenyon Lacy, Amirou Willingham, Rodney Lane, Babatu Willingham, and Kendal Wallace finished the season ranked #6 nationally (the highest national ranking in school history) and received the #1 seed in the South region for the NCAA tourney. After beating Ferrum 94-92 and Illinois Wesleyan 73-71, the Scots ended their season in the Elite 8 with an 87-83 loss in overtime to Wisconsin Platteville. To date this is the furthest any Maryville College team has advanced in post-season competition. Kelvin had another stellar season averaging 17.7 points a game while increasing his free-throw and three-point percentages. He broke his own record by attempting 234 three-pointers.
The team in 1991-1992 posted a record for years to come. Their 25 wins set the standard for victories in a season. Their 86.2 winning percentage is the program’s third best in history.
Kelvin’s senior season began on November 21st against #6 ranked Rhodes College. The Pre-Season All-American promptly sank eight three pointers and finished with 33 points to set the tone for the season. 27 points against Oglethorpe, 36 points against Greensboro, and 31 points as Centre went down. K’Rich led the Scots in eight offensive catagories and finished averaging 20.7 points a game. He was named to three All-Tournament teams and was selected as the squads Most Valuable Player. This 1993 Kenyon Lacy Award winner was also recognized by the region as an All-South first teamer. MC finished 20-6 and Kelvin helped the Scots to their third consecutive NCAA bid.
Kelvin presently holds program career records in Most 3-point field goals attempted in a career (622), most 3-point field goals made in a career (241), and most standing ovations after sick dunks in a career…each one more memorable!
Head Basketball Coach Randy Lambert was quoted numerous times during Kelvin’s tenure about this standouts skills and contributions. “He turned our program around more than anyone in recent history,” stated Lambert. “During his three seasons he WAS the Michael Jordan of Division III basketball. His legacy will be that he was a pleasure to coach, he made practice fun, and he made our basketball program a legitimate option for area athletes.”
At the conclusion of his Maryville College playing career, Kelvin took his skills and played professionally in the Dominican Republic and Belgium. After a two-and a half year stint, he began life in the real world working in the mortgage business. Today he owns a successful commercial cleaning business in Doraville, Georgia.
He recently married MC alumnus Monique Hampton and they have an 11 year old daughter Malaia.
Ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome one of the best basketball players to every wear the Orange and Garnet. 2009 Maryville College Wall of Fame Inductee, Kelvin Richardson.