By LARRY VAUGHT
Sophomore Nick Richards looked like a different player during UK’s four exhibition games in the Bahamas in August. He averaged 12 points per game and was 16-for-20 from the field and 16-for-19 at the foul line. He also had 19 rebounds and a team-high six blocked shots.
That was nothing like the end of last season when Richards barely played after he lost his confidence and coach John Calipari obviously lost confidence in him.
Sophomore guard Quade Green believes in Richards’ ability to change games. He’s worked to help increase Richards’ confidence.
“He can have a huge impact on our team,” Green said. “If he scores, great. But he doesn’t have to score to really help us. Rebound, block shots, defend. That’s what we really need from him and he can be great at all those things.
“I’m his biggest fan. I think at times last year I believed in him more than he believed in himself. But he’s going to be different this year. He’s got that confidence and we know he can be the one to make our team special.”
Richards says he’s had a lot of “positive feedback” from his play in the Bahamas even though he seldom pays attention to media reports.
“I have worked out a lot by myself doing what I need to do. Just some little things I worked on to make me more consistent. I just want to be my old self again. Last year I just wasn’t playing the best I could. You just have to get over that with the help of your coaches and teammates,” Richards said.