Malachi Richardson of Trenton Catholic is The Times of Trenton boys basketball Player of the Year for 2014-15

When Malachi Richardson came to Trenton Catholic Academy as a freshman, he told Mark Eckel, then the athletic director, and Fred Falchi, the head basketball coach and current AD, that he would accomplish two goals on the hardwood in high school.

Richardson predicted a Tournament of Champions title, and that he would be named a McDonald's All-American.

Richardson turned out to be as good at predictions as he was at basketball.

Richardson leaves TCA as the most honored player in Mercer County history, after he was also named Gatorade state Player of the Year last week, to go along with All-American status. The Syracuse commit also is The Times' area Player of the Year for 2014-15.

"This is the end of something, an end of an era," Falchi said. "I've known Malachi since third grade, as well as Myles Powell. To see him achieve all of these honors is fantastic. He said when he came in to the high school that he wanted to win a T of C title, and be a McDonald's All-American, and he achieved both. The Gatorade Player of the Year award is special too, because that is about more than basketball, it is for the best student-athlete. For as good of a player as he is, he is also a very good student.

"But to get both of those awards, that is just extraordinary."

As a freshman, Richardson helped the Iron Mikes win a Burlington County Scholastic League-Liberty Division title and the Mercer County Tournament before he transferred to Roselle Catholic for his  sophomore season. All he did that year was win the Tournament of Champions MVP as the Lions beat St. Joseph of Metuchen, and future lottery pick Karl-Anthony Towns, 65-49, with Richardson scoring 20 points. He came back to Hamilton, and Trenton Catholic, for his last two years, and won two more division and county titles to go along with all of his individual accolades.

"Just to know that I will leave school as one of the most honored players in Mercer County history means a lot to me," said Richardson. "To be able to put my city on the map, and Mercer County, is big. But it helped me out a lot to have such great teammates this year. Myles (Powell), Marcus (Floyd), Richmond (Aririguzoh), and Nunu (Marquise Bell), plus the other guys, it was a team effort all year. When I wasn't playing well, they picked me up each time."

Richardson led the Iron Mikes to a 22-5 record this season, and his TCA teams were 67-16 in his three years, to go along with a 19-5 year at Roselle Catholic, for a career record of 86-21. TCA lost to Roselle Catholic in the state tournament this season.

"We came up short at the end against Roselle Catholic," said Richardson. "We knew we had a good chance at winning, so it is tough to have the season end the way it did."

"He has been around the program for such a long time, it is going to be tough to replace him," said Falchi.