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John Calipari wants confident Nick Richards to “back it up” against Wofford

Nick Richards (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

There is not a player taller than 6-9 on the Wofford roster and that would seem to give Kentucky a “big” edge going into this afternoon’s NCAA Tournament second round game.

“It’s a really good advantage for us,” Kentucky sophomore backup center Nick Richards said Friday. “They’re not really as athletic as all three of us. Their bigs are really skilled around the basket, they know how to move on the floor, but we’re just better than them overall, I think, so the advantage is our way, in my opinion.”

Kentucky coach John Calipari has pleaded almost all season for Richards to give the team more and become the difference maker UK needs, especially with sophomore forward PJ Washington apparently out of today’s game with a foot injury that also forced him to miss Thursday’s win over Abilene Christian. He says Wofford has improved dramatically and he hopes Richards is ready to back up his “we’re just better than them overall” comments made Friday.

“They said Nick (Richards) was in there (at the press conference) saying that our bigs are quicker — what are you doing, Nick? But that’s okay, because like if you speak, now what? You back it up. So I love his confidence,” Calipari said.

“Now I want to watch you do it. Now get out there and do it, if you think that. And I want Nick to be more confident. Not like that, but on the court, more confident.”

Richards had eight points and four rebounds in Thursday’s win. Freshman EJ Montgomery, who started in Washington’s place, had 11 rebounds Thursday.

“But look, they’ve got athletes at the 4 position, and that’s if I’m calling (Cameron) Jackson a 5, which I don’t know if he is, that really are long and active and go after it.,” Calipari said. “They’ve got their four or five guards who are 1s, 2s and 3s and they’ve got five of them that score, a couple of them drive a little bit better, a couple of them shoot.

“But they’re going to take 25, 26 3’s in this game. Now, the one thing that we do have is we’re long, so we can contest without fouling because of our length. But again, the year — I called this, I knew we’d be playing this team, and my team knew, because I told them before, we would be playing Wofford because you and I know how hard this game will be.”

Wofford players certainly heard what Richards had to say about UK’s advantage.

“I think we just take care of what we can take care of. It’s not really about proving them wrong,” Jackson said. “It’s about doing what we’re comfortable doing and making the impact on the game that we can, the way that we impact the game on a daily basis, getting the ball to the shooters, rebounding.

“But it’s not really about proving them wrong, it’s about taking care of what we can take care of.”

6 comments

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  1. Nick needs to keep his mouth shut and let his play do the talking. Wofford’s bigs aren’t 7 footers, but they go 230 and 250 who like to bang. We can’t underestimate the fight in this team.

  2. Catmandoo, sometimes it maybe wise to be cockyso he can build his confidence up. But I hope back up his talk we shall se.

  3. Nick continues to show what i have said all season long and that is that he doesn’t have a lot between the ears. His comment yesterday that “we are better than them” is about as dumb a statement you can give an opposing team day before the big game. Nick has not shown since coming to UK that he really belongs here and where has he earned the opportunity to say “we” in anything when he clearly isn’t better. I hope we beat this team but do hope their beef pounds Nick like everyone else has. Wofford is a more experienced team, has multiple players that shoot over 40% on 3’s and have won 21 straight games I believe.

  4. Mike, I myself like what he said. Even our UK radio personal like what he said as they doing there pregame show now. The callers have pretty much back him up also. I like Nick personally and he’s trying his best to get better.

    1. Nick is a terrific young man.

      1. LV….I think you are correct, and I am sure EJ is a great guy also. This is more about performance than personality. Do you think Nick backed up the chatter? I just can’t believe these 2 are as highly rated as they are and yet contribute very little offensively. Neither one even really looks to have any confidence in taking shots and Nick’s hands are terrible.

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