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John Calipari still believes Nick Richards can be difference maker at UK — and in the NBA

Nick Richards (Vicky Graff Photo)


Before the season started former UK All-American Mike Pratt said he thought sophomore center Nick Richards could be the biggest difference-maker for the Cats going from a good season to a special season this year.

So far, other than one game against Southern Illinois where he had 19 rebounds, Richards has been far from dominating. Yet Kentucky coach John Calipari and others continue to believe in Richards’ worth to this team and the coach has been encouraged with what Richards has done the last five games.

The 7-0 Richards has averaged 10.4 minutes, 2.8 rebounds and 2.0 points per game over the last five games, including wins over North Carolina and Louisville. He’s 4-for-7 from the field and 2-for-3 at the foul line. More importantly, he’s blocked six shots.

“What about the difference Nick made,” Calipari said after Saturday night’s win over Vanderbilt. “Big-time. It was only about 10 minutes because he got hurt.”

Now here’s the most interesting part.

“NBA scout came in and watched him (at practice) and said, ‘Coach, everybody in our league is looking for a guy like that. Why is he not doing more?'” Calipari said.

“I told Nick you should go to bed with a smile on your face. If you just come out (for the NBA) as a 7-footer and they see that you can move, run and block, life is going to be good. I was so proud of him and how he played. Now we have to get more minutes out of him.”

Calipari said there’s no doubt what Richards’ shot blocking ability can do for Kentucky.

“Blocking shots. I mean, again, if he’s that guy and he keeps playing that way, we’re going to be all right. We need him to play a little more than he played, probably another five, seven, eight minutes but he played good again today,” Calipari said.


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  1. I think sometimes we forget that all though he is big and tall, he has played in fewer games prior to coming to UK than all of the other guys.

    I think he should start Nick. He ensures we always win the jump ball at the beginning of the game which starts us off (usually) in a positive manner.

  2. Nick has started many games and did well with the tip-off but contributed almost nothing offensively after tip-off so minutes started diminishing. He does not show a lot of heart, confidence, or motivation. He gets the amount of game time that he earns and let’s not forget that he gets great experience in practice every day. The bigger question might be….will PJ ever report for full time duty?

  3. I love Richards, but I think he just struggling to figure out how he fits on the team.
    He is the best shooting big man we have and has by far the most defensive upside. When he gets to the point he is comfortable enough to just play ball, I think he will be a fantastic player.

  4. Nick is still a year away from being able to start and play significant minutes. He will help in limited play this year, but he will be much better next year.

  5. Duke has Williamson inside to take them to the NC and Cal sez Nick can be the one to take us there. Cal…you have said some whacko things over the years and this is right up there with them.

    1. Well Mike you should know whacko when you see it. DOOPED BY STOOPS. ROFLMAO

  6. Looks like the Orange Cuse took care of Duke for us. Loved it.

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