There’s already so much to like with North Carolina’s Class of 2023, but it feels like more folks should be getting excited about the rising star in Callum Richard. While most of the attention seems to be centered around flashy, electric, well-known guards, the 6-foot-10 big man has established himself as the present and future focal point of Gaston Day School. Richard might appear thin, and he is, but freshmen at this size with college-ready bodies are few and far between. That being said, his skill, defense, and overall identity as a player will carry him throughout his progression.
Having grown and adding strength since the beginning of his freshman season, Richard now also struts a wingspan of 7-foot-2. He possesses IQ, touch, timing, footwork, and a fairly tough, team-first mentality. Everything about Richard’s game is technically and fundamentally-sound, from the way he walls-up to block shots to his soft, sophisticated touch around the basket. Due to his slight frame, most likely wouldn’t expect him to be tenacious rim-protector. However, Richard already stands out as a double-double machine and one of the best pound-for-pound defensive anchors in the state. In terms of timing and positioning, it would be difficult to point out many better—especially at this stage of their respective development.
Going through childhood with an older brother, Aidan, has prepared the young Richard to ascend to an even higher level. Offensively, Richard does a great job of mixing it up out of the post while utilizing his body to determine his decision. He actively finishes with both hands and understands how to go over either shoulder. Richard meets and finishes through contact well, but also finds a way to evade any defensive pressure by leaning on his reliable jump hook from either block. He also runs the floor like a gazelle in transition with nice speed and fluidity for his size/position. Though Richard already stands out as more than capable on offense, his defensive ability is arguably his most appealing quality. He’s a phenomenal rim-protector with a blossoming frame and offensive skillset. Plenty of the top prospects in North Carolina’s Class of 2023 have already garnered reputations, but someone like Richard (with less publicity) could end up being more valuable as a Division I prospect.