LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Former McNeese basketball star Patrick Richard calls his days in Lake Charles the best four years of his life. In 2017, he was inducted into the school’s hall of fame after a stellar career that saw him guide the Cowboys to back-to-back regular-season conference titles.
“When you hear hall of fame at any level regardless of what it is, it’s an unbelievable honor," said McNeese Hall of Famer Patrick Richard. "I’m like dang, I guess I did something right in the four years I was there. I impacted people and of course, we were successful and when you win that definitely helps as well.”
After going undrafted in 2012 and having a brief stint in the NBA's developmental league, Richard took his game overseas. Over the last eight years, he's taken advantage of seeing so many different parts of the world.
“I’m from small-town Louisiana in Carenco, Louisiana. I can probably count on maybe two hands how many people have just really seen the world," admitted Richard. "For me to see all these countries, I’ve probably been to about 20-30 countries. I’ve played in Europe but also Australia which is on the other side of the world. There’s no words for me to describe it but being blessed and thankful for it to be honest.”
Richard has seen plenty as he's spent each season as a pro with a different team. However, he came close to walking away from the game for good a year ago after almost needing back surgery.
“When that back is talking to you, you have to really listen because that’s something you don’t play with," Richard added. "When that happened I really thought it was it and I was pretty comfortable with saying I’m done and transitioning into the next thing that I would like to do.”
Richard wouldn't need surgery and while many teams questioned if he would be the same player, a club in Cluj, Romania gave him that one chance he needed.
“This team came and gave me an opportunity and they showed how much they wanted me." Richard said of his team for the 2019-2020 season. "As soon as I signed that contract I looked at my wife and said, 'Yeah. Everybody is gonna have to pay. It doesn’t matter who we play or what league, it’s personal now.”
He would use that fire and turn it into what he calls his best season as a pro. Richard averaged 17 points on 54 percent shooting and was named the Player of the Year for the Romanian League.
“I’m just blessed that they even named me player of the year because I don’t look for that type of stuff, I want championships," Richard said. "I want to win. I could care less about the individual stuff but me doing that opened my eyes that okay, I was doing something.”