Posted: Sep 17, 2013 7:32 PM by Alan Cutler
Updated: Sep 17, 2013 7:51 PM
Andre Riddick retired from playing pro basketball earlier this year at the age of 40. 40? Yes 40.
Quiet and shy, he was like a gentle giant when he was in Lexington. A great shot blocker who set blocks, rebounds and steals records in Belgium. Riddick, who many believe was the best shot blocker ever at UK until Anthony Davis, also played in Japan, Taiwan, the Dominican Republic and France. Ah yes, Paris.
"Played in Paris one year," says the former UK center from the early 1990's. "It was a great experience. A lot of culture and a lot of things to see. You can't repeat that."
It happens a lot. More than we talk about. Player often don't get it. They are told and told and told, but we all at times can be stubborn. There is nothing negative here. It's called life. Andre finally got it, but it was too late. Pitino tried and tried to tell him.
"You have to love it," says Riddick. "You have to put in the extra time. I didn't do that when I was here. I was kind of on my own way. And the guys who listened to Coach P got to the NBA and went on to be successful in what they did. It's a lesson. Everybody doesn't get it here. There is a time frame. He did try and help."
Andre doesn't doubt he would have played in the NBA if he put in the extra work.
"Yes, that's a big regret," he said.
Andre is also grateful for what happened to him in basketball. He has settled in Kentucky, which is something this New York never would have dreamed would have happened when he got here in 1991. His new job is selling insurance.
I certainly had no idea Andre would end up selling insurance, but if that was suggested to him when he played for UK...
"I would have laughed at you. I would have laughed at you. You can't play forever. You have to settle in and get a job. But I like it and I enjoy it and it's fun," he said.