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Nick Richards has yet to “step up” to earn playing time

EJ Montgomery has moved way ahead of Nick Richards. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Apparently Nick Richards didn’t “man” up in practice Friday the way coach John Calipari wanted.

After the sophomore played just nine minutes in Wednesday’s win, he got in for only one minute in Kentucky’s win over UNC Greensboro on Saturday afternoon. The day before UK assistant coach Kenny Payne said Calipiari wanted Richards to play like a “man” and get more involved in the game.

“I’m playing three bigs (Reid Travis, P.J. Washington, EJ Montgomery) right now, and if the three bigs are all playing well, I’m just going to leave them there,” Calipari said. “You know, we’ll have practice this week. If Nick steps up and he steps in front of one of those guys, one of those other guys won’t play. If there’s foul trouble, be ready.

“Be ready. He went in and blocked a shot, and I just decided, you know what, this game is too tight. I’m not going to mess with it now. And I thought EJ did some good things. I thought EJ wore down.

“You know, they were physical now. They banged and they were not going to back down. That’s a veteran team. That’s an NCAA Tournament team that had Gonzaga beat last year, and this is the same kind of team.
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  1. Richards is Gabriel 2.0 and Washington is Poythress 2.0..between the ears for both.

    1. At least Wenyen could shoot and score at times

      1. C”mon Larry. This is this kids what..fourth or fifth year in organized BB of any kind ??
        To ask him to seamlessly step into the “big mans spot” on what is arguably the best collegiate basketball program in the country is a tall order. It’s especially difficult given the fact that the position usually takes at least two years to see a candidate even begin to produce decent results. The freaks can do it immediately but just how long did it take Sam Perkins to even begin to do a respectable job in the post ? My point being that not many kids can step in and placate the couch coaches of the world. Richards looks to be one of those but to berate him publicly as some do is uncalled for. You’re better than that !

  2. I have been a Nick Richards fan for all of last season, and the early part of this season.

    I remain a fan of him. However, I am disappointed in his lack of a consistent effort in games. Despite that effort, his overall numbers last year and this year were not disastrous.

    I believe coaches know better than fans how to address these issues with players. Whether to keep it in the family, or take the issue public. It seems Calipari has decided to go public with his desire to see Richards become a fighter on the floor. I am OK with that for now.

    Come on Nick!!!!!!

    The fans are in your corner and want your success, and this team needs you playing at a high level.

  3. This is up to Richards. He was supposed to be “One And Done” material, was he not? He has been in Cal’s system for almost two years now. There is only so much these coaches can do for a player. Each of them have been given much in the opportunity department, but they must want this. So, riding the pine until he decides to”ball and battle” is a good motivator IMO. It is up to him.

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