Anyone NOT remember this guy? Sure he’s wearing a red uniform but I know that won’t throw the card carrying members of the Big Blue Nation off one bit. For the rest of you, the video below should help jog your memory. It’s the first time I saw this guy on, arguably, the most beloved team in the history of UK basketball. They weren’t laden with McDonald’s All Americans from top to bottom like we’ve been accustomed to since Calipari has been our coach, but they were very well coached and had the heart of gladiators. So, Big Blue Nation, without further ado, I give you the Center for the Belgacom Spirou Basketball program, Andre Riddick. For a brief glance at his career in total, click here.
Below is the transcript of the interview he gracious to grant me via Skype. It lasted about an hour and a half and though I don’t have video that is worthy to post due to my set up, please enjoy.
Q: Andre Riddick. What’s going on man? How you been?
A: Hey, I’m doing great. Things are going well. The season just started over here so that’s great.
Me: I just have to say that you’re one of my 3 favorite centers of all time because you never backed down from anyone and neither did Magloire or Cousins. And each of you have the distinction of doing something special during your time here. You choked Rasheed Wallace. Magloire set the technical fouls record, and Cousins choke slammed Edgar Sosa. Since Cousins, we haven’t really had that type of aggressiveness. Is it necessary to play in the post?
AR: Haha yeah I didn’t realize all that but yeah it’s necessary. It’s just the nature of the position with all the banging down low and physical contact. Actually UK has had some guards like that recently.
Me: Like maybe John Wall.
AR: Yeah Wall was like that. Definitely.
Q: Now, I know we’ve talked about this before, but this is your last season of professional basketball, yes?
A: Yeah, unless something strange happens, but I’ve played for 17 years and want to spend more time with my family.
Q: Wow. 17 years is a long career. How have you been able to play into your late 30′s? Do you work out constantly or something?
A: Haha well I really can’t take credit for playing so long. Credit has to go to God and my teammates all these years. I’ve played with some great players and on some great teams so I’ve had to increase my game to continue to help the team win and not just so I can keep playing.
Q: Now you won the Best Defensive Player in 95?
A: Ummm…I think so.
Q: How did they quantify that? Rebounds? Blocked Shots? Overall game?
A: I don’t remember how they attributed that but I know I got the plaque. Hahaha. Could be regular D but I blocked a lot of shots there. We had UK guys, Reggie Hanson, Gimel Martinez, and I played with Darren Feldhaus. I played against Reggie but never Gimel.
Q: What was your biggest adjustment to living overseas?
A: The food. Yeah it’s the food. Places don’t stay open late around here Usually they close around 6 so you have to plan meals accordingly. Plus there’s not much to do really. No night life. So when you first come over here you have to find something you like to do or you’ll start to get home sick so I watch movies or bowl. Things like that.
Q: Is that because Europeans are so laid back?
A: I never really got the info but I figure it’s because they’re more family oriented so the residents here don’t hang out much at night.
Q: We’ve also talked about this but if this is your last season, what do you plan to do next?
A: Well my plan is to take classes to be a certified financial planner.
Q: Do you think you’ll have a lot of professional athletes as clients?
A: Potentially but I’m going to focus on learning the business and get good with people’s money. First and foremost I’m going to try to learn everything and be good at it. I want people to trust me with their money and do the best that I can.
Q: So did you watch the ESPN 30/30 “Broke”?
A: Yeah, I watched about half of it but taped the other half to watch.
Me: Man I can’t believe how much money people go through. It’s incredible.
AR: Listen, the more you make, the more you spend.
Q: Did you have a lot of ppl hanging on when you went pro?
A: Not really. No. Normally it’s just family members. Money for car, etc. Every professional athlete deals with that and family members come and ask for favors here and there but I didn’t have anyone like those people on “Broke.”
Q: Would you ever consider coaching?
A: I would definitely consider coaching down the line. Initially when I get back I wanna be around my kids and spend time with them. Once my kids are gone to school, college ball is one of my desires to coach in some degree. It’s just time consuming and right now it’s not the best for me. Getting home is one of the main things. I wanna get home and stay with my kids. Coaching would put me in a bad place with that. Coaches are good at what they do but there are a lot of sacrifices that have to be made. In coaching, you miss a lot of things they do and experience.
Q: Any of your kids athletes?
A: Yeah they are. My oldest (son) is 12 and he’s 5’6″ or 5’7″ so he has pretty good size. I think all my kids will be tall though. My youngest (son) is 4 and he has potential. My daughter couldn’t care less about sports. She isn’t interested at all haha.