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Boys Basketball: Richards eyeing new heights with 6-foot-7 Meier

 Richards' Josh Meier (50) | File photo

Richards' Josh Meier (50) | File photo

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Updated: January 20, 2014 8:28AM



It’s impossible not to notice Josh Meier on the basketball court.

And not just because the Richards senior is 6-foot-7 and 210 pounds.

It’s the way he plays the game. He’s tenacious, reacting to the basketball like a lion does red meat.

When he goes up to dunk, he stuffs the ball through the rim with such force it’s as though he’s trying to rip the rim from the backboard.

Which he almost did last season against Reavis.

“There are two things that have happened with Josh that I’ve never seen happen before,” said Richards coach John Chappetto, in his 12th season at the helm. “He broke a rim last year against Reavis and this year against Hillcrest, his hands were bleeding from dunking so hard. The refs had to stop the game. I’ve never seen that.”

After his jam against Reavis that cracked the rim, one of the officials politely asked Meier to stop dunking with such ferocity. There wasn’t a backup rim available in case he brought the structure down on his next rim-wrecker.

“It was pretty awesome,” Meier said. “Probably one of the coolest moments of my life.”

Richards is off to a sizzling 7-1 start, led by Meier who is averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds per game. The big numbers are customary. He averaged 18 points and 11 boards a year ago in earning SouthtownStar All-Area honors.

Meier takes as much pride in his rebounding as his scoring.

“I was always the biggest kid on the court when I was younger,” Meier said. “I believe I should be the first one to the ball every time. That I should get every rebound.”

Meier grew up in Justice, graduating from Wilkins Junior High. His parents split up in eighth grade, with his mother remaining in Justice and his father moving to Oak Lawn.

Meier had a decision to make: attend Argo or Richards.

“It was a real tough choice,” Meier said. “All of my friends were going to Argo. But attending Richards was the best decision of my life. Everything has turned out great.”

Well, almost everything.

While Richards has won the South Suburban Red division the past two years Meier’s been on varsity, playoff success has been harder to come by.

The main goal this season, beyond extending the conference championships to nine consecutive seasons, is to win a regional.

With a 7-1 start to the season, the Bulldogs look primed to accomplish that feat.

“No, I’m not really surprised,” Meier said. “We’ve had different people step up at different times. This is the most mature and experienced group I’ve ever played with. This team is very unselfish.”

Meier has committed to Chicago State University, a program that has made a greater push to recruit area talent. The opportunity to play a big role early in his career and compete in the Western Athletic Conference proved too tantalizing to pass up.

“The coaches made a commitment to me,” Meier said. “To get some playing time as a freshman and play against big-time competition in the WAC is exciting.”



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