The first time I saw Nick Richards play in high school two things jumped out at me immediately.
First, it was his sheer size. Richards isn’t your typical lanky 7 footer that will be defined by his ability to put on weight. The kid is enormous and showed in his freshman season that he does not shy away from contact.
Being a legitimate 7 footer that can hold ground is a major asset in college basketball.
The second thing had nothing to do with Nick Richards as a player, it had to do with who was coaching him.
You’ll likely remember the player abuse scandal that raged in the headlines involving Rutgers University approximately 5 years ago.
The former coach at Rutgers, Mike Rice, was ultimately fired for his actions after video surfaced of him treating his players very poorly.
Since his departure from Rutgers he became the interim coach at the Patrick School, where Nick Richards played his high school basketball.
In my observations, Mike Rice, remained as a passionate coach who yells and screams, a lot.
15 minutes after I realized who he was he received a technical foul for arguing with referee.
The reason I bring up this point is that I believe Nick Richards to be a very tough person, both physically and mentally.
I anticipate he will handle the adversity of his freshman year and be a much more consistent contributor going forward.
Nick Richards returning for a sophomore season is big for Kentucky. He’s raw and really struggled at times this season, but his potential is through the roof. https://t.co/5AY8rkx8aw
— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) April 10, 2018
With the return of P.J. Washington and addition of Reid Travis and it is hard to imagine a scenario where Nick Richards starts for Kentucky next season.
Throw the talented E.J. Montgomery into the mix and there is a possibility Richards will struggle to get meaningful minutes.
There is no doubt that he will have to put in the work this off season and eliminate in game errors if he is to be a major part of the rotation.
Nick Richards only produced 11 points and 20 rebounds over the last ten games of last season.
For Kentucky to be as good as they can be, Richards will have to step up in a major way.
I believe Nick Richards will put in that work and make himself a valuable asset on next’s year team.
It really speaks to Kentucky’s depth that there is even a possibility that a 7 foot McDonald’s All-American could be lost in the shuffle.
One simple thing that Richards could do to improve his stock is simply catch the ball.
I can remember so many plays from last season where an alley pop thrown to Richards was dropped.
This season he has to convert easy baskets.
Nick Richards leads humanity in missed Dunks
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) February 3, 2018
The Bahamas visit should present a great opportunity for the entire team, including Richards, to establish an identity in the rotation.
The Big Blue Nation is behind you, big guy!