Golden to fill centerpiece role for Richmond
Small Spiders will need Cline-like play from big man
Two basketball seasons ago, T.J. Cline was the University of Richmond’s centerpiece, a 6-foot-9 forward who led the Spiders to a third-place finish in the A-10 (13-5) and an overall record of 22-13.
Cline averaged 18.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 5.7 assists. The most important digit in his impressive, crowded stat line was a zero. Cline did not foul out. He played 33 minutes per game.
Cline did not miss a start. No injury. No sickness. No suspension.
Cline’s presence on the court was vital to the Spiders’ success for two reasons: He was the A-10 player of the year, and because none of their other starters was taller than 6-4, Richmond needed Cline’s size to facilitate offensive flow, and to deter opponents’ highpercentage opportunities around the basket.
UR coach Chris Mooney cleverly used Cline, removing him for a few minutes after he picked up an early foul, or when play became a bit rough and officials’ whistles sounded with increased frequency.
This bring us to Grant Golden, UR’s 6-10 redshirt sophomore. Golden last season averaged 15.6 points and 6.7 rebounds. Those stats may rise to Cline-ish figures this season, if Golden can stay healthy, out of foul trouble and composed.
Like Cline, Golden will be the centerpiece on a smallish team. Golden weighs 265 pounds and Nick Sherod, a 6-4 junior, checks in at 230. No other Spider scholarship player weighs more than 210. Richmond’s other inside regular will probably be 6-7, 205-pound sophomore Nathan Cayo, Men’s basketball season opener
Nov. 9: 7 p.m. which suggests the Spiders could experience difficulty holding off opponents determined to play power ball.
For Richmond to be its best, Golden must stay active without fouling much, and fit.
“Obviously, that’s something that Coach Mooney and the whole staff has talked to me about,” Golden said. “Some of it is up to me, in terms of taking care of my body, getting treatment, stuff like that, staying out of foul trouble, controlling my emotions in terms of technicals, not forcing the coaching staff to take me out of the game.
“A lot of it’s in my hands. There’s a lot I can’t control. But if I manage the things that I can control as much as possible, that’ll give me the best opportunity to stay in the game.”
In the offseason, Golden said he worked on his outside shooting — he converted 27.5 percent of his 3-point attempts last season — and doubling the number of post moves in which he has a high degree of confidence, to four.
The Spiders’ three players who can be viewed as all-A-10 candidates: Golden, Sherod (14.3 ppg) and 5-9 sophomore Jacob Gilyard (11.4 ppg, 4.1 apg, 2.8 spg). Any of them could turn out to be Richmond’s nost valuable player. UR’s most indispensable player? Golden.
Note: Richmond meets Hampden-Sydney in an exhibition at the Robins Center at 6 p.m. on Oct. 27 (free), and opens against visiting Longwood on Nov. 9.
UR’s Grant Golden averaged 15.6 points and 6.7 rebounds last season. The redshirt sophomore worked on his outside shooting in the offseason.