As the Bearcats look to revamp their squad and prep for success in the 2018-19 season, they welcome junior guard Richard Caldwell, Jr. to the team. Hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Caldwell completed two seasons at Lamar Community College in Colorado — which competes against other Division I institutions in the National Junior College Athletic Association — before transferring to Binghamton this year.
Caldwell’s fellow teammates and Binghamton students alike may be surprised to note that one of the most notable changes he faced in his transition from LCC to BU was the warmer temperatures in the Southern Tier.
“It was colder in Colorado, way colder,” Caldwell noted.
While he may be changing his tune when winter rolls around, Caldwell was also pleased by the new role he’ll be featured in upon joining the Bearcats.
“I had to switch my position, too,” Caldwell said. “I used to play on and now I’m off the ball, and I feel way more comfortable because I feel like it’ll bring my turnovers down.”
With the Lopes, Caldwell served as a point guard, racking up 16 points per game in about 27 minutes of play across each match last season. While he will soon see the difference in the competition after leaving junior college, Caldwell did manage to record nearly four assists per game as well as shoot a respectable 42 percent from the field. He also helped lead the Lopes to a No. 11 ranking during the 2017-2018 year, starting 25 out of 28 games.
At the men’s basketball media day in October, Caldwell seemed optimistic and beyond confident about the fate of the team this season, especially in its matchup against Michigan, which he asserted was the game he was most excited about in this year’s schedule. The Wolverines were one of the highest-ranked teams in college basketball last season, dominating the Big Dance as a No. 4 seed and eventually falling short in the national title game.
“I’m looking forward to Michigan because I know we’re going to win … I feel like we got a good chance, because we got a lot of players with good heart, like all around, we play together good,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell’s contributions to the team will prove especially valuable since former BU guard Fard Muhammad has since transferred to the Cal State Los Angeles Golden Eagles. Muhammad’s 8.3 points per game last season, good for fourth highest on the team, leaves an unquestionable void in offensive production that Caldwell will presumably be tasked with filling.
Having already completed successful scrimmages against Lehigh and Bucknell, in which he ran with the starters and showcased his athleticism, and over a month’s worth of practices, Caldwell appeared satisfied with his new team and content with the strides it is making.
“We’ve just been playing good together,” Caldwell said. “Like as soon as I got here … we just played together well.”
As always, BU will be eyeing the America East Championship title, which would earn it a spot in the 2019 NCAA March Madness tournament this spring. However, Binghamton’s and Caldwell’s fate will be determined only when the team hits the hardwood.