Alex Richter, a 6-foot-6, senior forward from Lakeville South, has committed to Division II Augustana to play his college basketball.
Richter was a first team Star Tribune All-Metro selection and helped lead the Cougars to the Class AAAA State Tournament this season.
Richter received four Division I scholarship offers last fall, but has decided to wait until the spring signing period before making his college choice.
Richter averaged 22.7 points per game, tops in the South Suburban Conference, as the Cougars finished 21-9 this season. He scored in double figures all 30 games, including a season-high 38 points against three-time Class AAAA state champion Hopkins and had seven games of 30 or more points. Richter scored 33 points in their 79-75 first round state tournament loss to Eden Prairie.
Richter was named first team All-South Suburban Conference and finished his career with 1,995 points, the most in Lakeville history.
Lakeville Patch caught up with Richter to learn about his decision.
What were the main reasons you decided to commit to Augustana?
“I think that it is very strong academically. They have shown the last few seasons that they can compete at a high level and on a national stage. I really liked the guys that they have there and I think that it is going to be a fun time. I really like the coaching staff”
What have the coaches said about your chances of hearing significant playing time as a freshman?
“I am definitely going to be playing early and that is another reason for my choice. At both Winona and Augustana, I would be playing fairly soon. They see me playing major minutes and I am looking forward to working for that and maybe even a starting spot at Augustana. I could play early at Winona anad Augustana, so that is what narrowed it down to them over some of the Division I schools. The location work out very well because I am from Nebraska originally, so it is kind of best of both worlds as my relatives from there can come up and watch and my parents can come up and watch."
You had several offers from Division I schools that were from across the country. What sold you on Augustana rather than play at the Division I level?
“I just took a visit out to Augustana and I decided that I would rather stick close to home than go to a small Division I school far away because I think that the basketball is going to be just as good in the Northern Sun.”
Every kid wants to play Division I, but the attendance at a school like Augustana or Winona is probably greater than some of the smaller Division I schools?
“There was an excerpt from a magazine that I was reading that said that Augustana outdrew 147 Division I schools in attendance. Not to bash, like a Texas Pan-American (which signed two Minnesota players), but I would not want to go all the way there and have 500 people at a game. Augustana has 2900 a game and Winona is right up there behind them. I think that it is just as good a level of basketball.”
Augustana made the NCAA Tournament in 2010, while conference rivals Winona won two NCAA titles and St. Cloud and Minnesota Mankato made the Final Four in the last two years, so you are still going to a good basketball school.
“Definitely, either school has the chance to compete within their conference and also at the national level. Definitely good competition. The league is always tough. Even some of the bottom-feeders of the league are pretty tough. It is a good league. I think that it is a lot like the high school league that I played in for four years. Anybody can beat anybody on a given night.”
Was it hard to shake that Division I bug because every kid wants to go Division I?
“I wanted to go Division I for a long time. It was kind of hard to shake it at first, but once I looked at the basketball and looked at some of the facts and figures versus going 1500 miles away from home and the same level of basketball. I would rather stick closer and my dad can watch me.”
One of the positives about going to school that is close to home is that your friends and family can watch you play, where if you had gone to Texas or Florida, it would be tough for them to watch you.
“And I would barely get to come home. It would be four years there and then I can do whatever I want with the rest of my life. It will be closer if I stay more in this Midwest region and my family can come and watch me. I think that it will be a good fit.”
There has never been a Lakeville player play at the Division I level. Was that something you had thought about beforehand and thought it would be cool to be the first player to do that?
“I thought that it would be cool, but ultimately, it did not weigh enough in my decision. I think that it will be fun to be in that conference and play against Jon (Christensen) and Spencer (Pankonin) and maybe Riley (West) will end up somewhere in that conference.”
Has it been tough not knowing where you going to college?
“It was definitely frustrating. I was told to just stay patient. I knew that I would figure it out. I knew that I would end up at a school that wanted me there. It has definitely been frustrating. I was getting probably an average of ten questions a day on ‘where are you going?’ I was about to hold a sticker on my head that I don’t know yet and I’ll let you know.”
You had a great year and scored 1995 points in your career. You made it to the state tournament and got knocked out by the team that finished runner-up. What are going to be some of the highlights when you look back at your time at Lakeville South?
“I think that this last year was obviously the best year that I had and I think that it is a good thing for a senior year. The state tournament is a goal that I had to appear at least once in my four years and we got that done. Being the all-time leading scorer is kind of a highlight. There is some pretty good young talent coming up in the lower grades. I’ll have to put in a word with Coach Sheehan to make sure that he doesn’t start them early and catch that (record). Overall, it was just fun. We had a good group of guys and hopefully, I’ll get a chance to compete against some of them next year.”
You were a tight group. Did that make it even more fun that several of you had been playing varsity since you were sophomores?
“We have been playing together for a long time. It has definitely made it fun. Every picture, you look at from third grade up, I either have Riley, Spencer and Jon on my team every year. It was fun.”