By LARRY VAUGHT
Nick Richards had a dominant performance for Kentucky against Fort Wayne Wednesday and left losing coach Jon Coffman in awe of the UK freshman’s first double-double.
“He was the game tonight. We couldn’t keep him off the glass. Now it’s hard, the game is moving so fast. It’s difficult to see in live time as I’m watching how our box outs are and where we are. He’s clearly longer than any guy we have on our roster,” Coffman said after the game.
“We were doubling down with our five. We were leaving our fives one on one but then doubling their fours where we play undersized with our five. We chose to do that. It’s tough to do both but we were able to figure it out with our young group. He made some shots early playing one on one with our guys. That’s a credit to him, and he got some deep catches.
“Where he hurt us was on the glass with his length. He totally changed the game with Kentucky. He had a great night. He’s a great player.”
Richards had not been like that in previous games.
“You guys have seen your teams come through the last four and five years. And it’s like that, there’s so much talent on those teams. On any given night, one guy is going to show why he’s going to be making money from basketball someday. That’s where he stepped up tonight with that opportunity. He did a great job,” Coffman said.
“We were really worried about Sacha (Killeya-Jones), we were going to try to sag off. We were going to really try to protect our fours against PJ (Washington) with how aggressive he is. We go undersize there and so the fact that Sacha really shoots the ball a touch better than Nick at this stage.
“But man, Nick was really with good with his back to the basket. Really good on the board, just a good player. Going to have a nice year for him. “