MEET NICK RICHARDS
The rise of Nick Richards has been the biggest storyline with UK over the last two games. After an efficient eight-point, eight-board effort vs ETSU, UK made it a point to feature Richards vs Fort Wayne, and he responded with what may end up being one of his best collegiate games.
In the first 23 minutes vs Fort Wayne, Richards had nine boards, two blocks and 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting, an absurd rate for any big man, let alone one that struggled as much as the freshman did over his first four games. Richards finished the game with 25 points on 9-of-10 shooting and 15 boards for one of the best games we’ve seen from a big man in the John Calipari
He’s looked like a different player over the last two games, one that could dramatically affect this team’s outlook for the rest of season.
Nicholas Richards (born November 29, 1997) is a Jamaican, Kentucky Basketball player.
Born and bred in Kingston, Jamaica Richards competed in soccer, volleyball and track and field before being discovered by Andre Ricketts, a New York City based basketball scout, in the summer of 2013 during a basketball camp in Jamaica. Ricketts brought him to the US, where Richards attended St. Mary’s High School in Manhasset, New York. He then transferred to St. Partick School in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 2014.
He was ranked a five-star recruit in the class of 2017 by ESPN and committed to the University of Kentucky in November 2016. He was UK’s first commit in the class of 2017 and chose Kentucky over Arizona and Syracuse.
Richards was picked to play for the World Select Team at the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit. He saw 19:29 minutes of action during the game, scoring 12 points and grabbing three rebounds.
At this point Kentucky Wildcat fans should be cofident that Coach Cal and the support staff he has around him, are 100% focused on helping players reach their full potential. As fans we have witnessed this over-and-over since Cal arrived.
That’s what Kentucky basketball players do when something with their mindset, their approach, their whatever doesn’t feel right during the season. So after a few games spent mostly stuck on the bench in foul trouble, freshman forward Nick Richards called Bob Rotella last week.
Dr. Bob is the renowned sports psychologist and long-time friend of Kentucky coach John Calipari.
“He’d been watching me and he just said I’d been playing timid,” Richards said. “He just said he wanted me to play more confident and with more swagger to my game and don’t worry about the score, don’t worry about how your stats were looking.”
The improvement has happened quickly with Nick over the past couple of games. After recording eight points and eight rebounds against Troy on Monday, Richards posted career highs with 25 points and 15 rebounds in 26 minutes in the very next game against Ft. Wayne. The 7-footer from Jamaica was the first Wildcats’ player to post a 25-15 game since Terrance Jones (against Notre Dame) in 2010.
At Wildcatgifts.com we expect Nick, and all the players to reach their full potential by March, as all John Calapari teams tend to do.