UMKC has extended coach Kareem Richardson’s contract until 2021, according to the Kansas City Star. This comes after the Kangaroos’ worst regular season record under the fourth-year coach, as they fell from 14-19 (8-6) in 2014-15 to 12-19 (4-10) last year.
Still, it figures to be a wise move for UMKC. Richardson recruited Kansas City native Martez Harrison, the 2015 WAC Player of the Year, and has a veteran core that will be augmented by four freshmen next season. He’s also picked up rare power conference wins against Missouri and Mississippi State over the past two years. That kind of positive momentum hasn’t been seen at UMKC since Tony Dumas was playing for the 'Roos in the mid-90s.
While Harrison had a down season in 2015-16, he returns for his senior year flanked by two great three-point shooters in fellow seniors LaVell Boyd (42.1 3P%) and Kyle Steward (46.4 3P%). A healthy season from Broderick Newbill, who missed the final 14 games last year, would give Richardson one of the deepest backcourt rotations in the WAC.
All of that points to that hallowed opportunity for mid-major coaches: the conference tournament. UMKC has advanced to the WAC tournament semifinals the past two years, and may have a clearer road to the automatic bid with recent coaching turnover at New Mexico State. Having a player like Harrison, especially in his final WAC tournament, leading a veteran team gives the 'Roos as good a chance as any in the WAC tournament, no matter how the season plays out until that point.