By LARRY VAUGHT
Another day, another time for Kentucky coaches to talk about Nick Richards — and how important he remains for the team going forward.
Friday it was head coach John Calipari’s time as UK prepared to play at Florida today.
“We continue to work on the same things with him, but to play the way we’re asking him to play is really hard. Conditioning is probably a big part of it. You try to tell all of these kids, ‘When you think you’re about done, you’ve probably got about 40 percent left In the tank,'” the UK coach said. “It’s usually your mind. You’ve got to conquer your mind.”
Calipari knows the “good” Richards is energized and showing elite athleticism for a 7-footer. The “bad” Richards lacks focus and intensity. Sometimes you gets both from Richards in the same game.
“When Nick is running around and bouncy, you guys know he’s as good as anybody in the country and has as big of an impact on the game as any player in the country. When he’s not, he’s not the same guy,” Calipari said. “So we’re trying to say, how many minutes can you be this guy? If it’s only three minutes at a time, then just do it for three minutes.
“But none of these kids want to take themselves out of the game. PJ (Washington), the last game or two games ago took himself out. They don’t want to take themselves out. They’re just trying to stay on the floor as long as they can so I’ve got to sub them.
“I would rather it be, ‘Give me a break? Can you get me out? Give me two minutes, Coach. I want to go back?’ OK. That’s an empowered team. And we’re just building towards that right now.”