Family, friends remember FAU basketball alum Shavar Richardson

Shavar Richardson had many achievements during his time at FAU but it was who he was off the court that will be remembered most.

Photo courtesy of Danieshka Richardson, Shavars widow.

Photo courtesy of Danieshka Richardson, Shavar’s widow.

Angel Rassi, Staff Writer

Shavar Richardson, former FAU men’s basketball player, died on Oct. 18, 2021 at age 32. 

The Brooklyn native’s family prefers not to publicize the illness that ended his life, but wants to make it clear that he did not die from COVID-19. 

Richardson had an impact on people in his life, on and off the court. Everage Richardson, Shavar’s older brother, remembered him as a funny, passionate, and tough kid who didn’t take any nonsense from people while growing up.

Shavar’s personality was a strong, passionate, overall well-rounded individual who knew what he stood for and no one could change those good morals. His personality spoke volumes,” Everage said.

Nia Richardson, Shavar’s younger sister, said that every time she was around him and his peers that he always stood out as the leader, team player, and protector.

“He was my protector and teacher on life and I will forever be grateful for all he has done for me and I will continue to keep going as he would say,” Nia said.

Shavar made sure to check up on everybody close to him and ensure that they were taken care of.

“No matter what he was going through, no matter what time it was, the year, the day, he was reaching out to someone just to see how they were,” said Alex Tucker, a former teammate.

From left to right: Derek, Shavar, Myoshi, Nia, and Everage. Photo courtesy of the Richardson family.

Quiet Leader

Shavar played guard during his time at FAU from 2008 to 2012.

From having a career-high 31 points in a game against Troy University in his sophomore year, to leading FAU to a comeback win over FIU in his junior year, and leading the Owls to a Sun Belt Conference Championship win that same season, Shavar Richardson was the “spark plug” for the team and he was not afraid to take over when he needed to.

“He found a way to always be ready to play when his number was called to have an impact on the game,” said Peter Gash, a former FAU assistant coach. “In a game that essentially if we would’ve lost, we might not have won the championship that year. He was the guy that got us over the hump.”

Tucker said Shavar wasn’t the most vocal but when he spoke, everyone knew it was time to listen.

“He didn’t always speak, but it was like, okay, when he talks, you’re going to listen, you’re going to know that he’s saying something that’s important,” Tucker said. “When he said something, you knew it was time to do whatever he was saying. Either, step up and play harder or let’s close this game out and win.”

Shavar had a few Kobe Bryant-esque moments during his time on the team. Gash recalled a time during their championship season meeting when the team wasn’t doing well and no one wanted to be the guy to say anything until Shavar spoke up.

“Shavar took the bull by the horns and just started, essentially, going at everybody in the team meeting, and saying everything that needed to be said in order to clear the air and [to] bring the team closer together,” Gash said. “He knew someone needed to step up in that moment and provide some authenticity to the team and that’s what he did. If we didn’t have that meeting and we didn’t clear the air like that, there’s no way that we would have a successful season. And just by his character and his personality and who he was as a person, is the reason why we ended up having that season.”


Brotherhood On and Off The Court

From the moment Shavar and Tucker met, they formed a brotherly bond that never broke.

“We came in together, lived together, won together, lost together, graduated together,” Tucker said. “That was my brother.”

Even though Shavar and Tucker both joined FAU at the same time, that wasn’t the first time they met.

“It’s funny because we actually played against each other without knowing each other the year before we got to FAU,” Tucker said. “So we were both at a prep school, I was in [California], I think he was in Ohio or somewhere. We actually played against each other. I had no idea obviously, prep school, you play like 50 games.”

They would have their disagreements, like any brothers do, but they would get through it.

“We would have our arguments, we would have our good days, we would have our bad days, our arguments, our fights, but at the end of the day, he was just a genuine good guy to be around,” Tucker said.

Tucker reminisced on some of his favorite memories of Shavar, which include helping the New York native eat healthier while in college.

“One of them was the first time he really started eating salads and veggies and [he’d]never done that before, like wasn’t serious about it,” Tucker said laughing with a smile. “Then for whatever reason,  I was like, ‘no, you gotta eat these, it’s good for us.’ He just started eating it and then he just got so proud of himself and his love for Caesar salads was always fun, like a funny obsession. Every dinner that he would eat would have a Caesar salad.”

Tucker spoke about one of his first memories with Shavar, when they faced off against older players until they finally won.

“But I think probably one of my most favorite memories is kind of when we really clicked, [it] was early in practice. We both came in as freshmen, we were like alright, we’ll play two-on-two against the seniors before we go,” Tucker said. “They had always usually beaten us for whatever reason, but this time, I don’t know what got into both of us, but we were super locked in and we ended up beating them for the first time. I don’t know how many tries but we ended up beating them and then we looked at each other like ‘okay, we could be serious, we could be good together.’ From then on, we would just really click.”

They got to see life through each other’s eyes when they visited each other in their hometowns. Tucker lives in California and Shavar lived in New York.

“Taking him by the water, taking him by the sea, taking him to get sushi. Just all California things, taking him out, [and] having a good time,” Tucker said.

Both recently had children, Shavar having his son, Shavar II, and they had plans to hang out with their kids in the future.

“Most recently, he had his kid and I just had a kid. Now it’s different because now I’m gonna bring my kid out there so he can get that experience and play outside with yours,” Tucker said. “We kind of watch them and be those dads and talk about how when we were young, we were doing this, and when we were young and your age, and bringing his kid out to Cali to get to the beach and get into the sushi life and the California lifestyle.”

Shavar and his son, Shavar II. Photo courtesy of the Richardson family.


Shavar wasn’t someone that spoke a lot but when he did, he told you the truth.

“When you went to him, you knew you were going to him and you knew he’s gonna shoot it straight to you,” Tucker said. “Whether you liked it or not,  you always got to get an honest answer and an honest opinion from him, especially on the court. He was telling you you’re doing good when you’re doing good, and telling you you’re doing bad when you’re doing bad.”

Shavar had the ability to read others, which is one reason former coach Gash tried to get him on the sidelines. When Gash took the job at the University of Massachusetts (UMass), he encouraged Richardson to become a graduate assistant there. 

“Shavar was the most street smart kid that I’ve ever coached. In my entire 15 years being on a college bench, I’ve never had a guy that was as in tune with people’s personalities [and] what made them tick,” assistant coach Gash said. “I was really trying to convince him to come and be a graduate assistant for us at UMass because I felt like he had such a good connection and such a good understanding of basketball and players.”

Shavar was someone who was close to his family as he had known his wife, Danieshka, since they were at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School together. 

“He loved his two older brothers, but I think the most he really loved was his little sister, Nia,” Tucker said.

Shavar and his family would have family reunions to get to see each other.

“Family functions were always extra special,” Everage said.


Memory to Last a Lifetime

With the impact Shavar left on people around him and the mark he left on FAU, his family and friends believe something should be done in his honor. Tucker is trying to work with the university to try to set up something in his memory.

“There should be something up in the rafters for him,” Gash said. “The reason why I’m saying that is because if you look at where the program was, before he got there, and what we were actually able to do when he was there. I’m not saying accolades, I’m saying to the type of person that he was, he was a big reason why Florida Atlantic basketball improved.”

Shavar’s family honored him with a letter that was messaged to the University Press, showing the impact he has on them for the rest of their lives.

Our brother, husband, father, son. It was a true blessing the time we had with him, such a passionate stand-up man who meant the world to us and will be missed dearly. Our family couldn’t be more proud of the man he was. His impact and who he was as a person spoke volumes to anyone who crossed paths with him. Shavar was a loving family man who cared for everyone dearly and just wanted everyone to succeed and live up to their full potential..He was one of a kind and will forever live through all of us. May God bless our family, especially his wife and son Shavar II.”

Angel Rassi is a staff writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @arassi2000.