By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today
LEXINGTON — Nick Richards likely won’t play in Kentucky’s Friday night exhibition game against Kentucky State.
Richards is listed as day-to-day after spraining his ankle in the Wildcats’ 80-53 win over Georgetown College in an exhibition contest last Sunday. The junior forward made all three of his attempts from the field and finished with six points, had five rebounds in 15 minutes on the court.
Kentucky associate coach Kenny Payne said Richards’ injury “looked bad” live and on tape.
“You could tell the kid was in pain,” Payne said Thursday said. “Hopefully he’ll be OK. It’s an injury and it happens every day. We’ve just got to find a way to make up for it.”
Payne said Richards is getting treatment “around the clock” in an effort to make a quick return to the court. Payne aded that he considers Richards one the top post players in the country.
“Even when he doesn’t block a shot, he’s so long and active that he can change shots,” Payne said. “I personally believe that he he’s not playing basketball against a defensive player offensively, he’s playing against himself. If Nick decides to catch the ball with two feet in the paint and explode over a guy, nobody in the country can stop him. He’s just has to be mentally tough enough and aware to go out and do it.”
Payne said the Wildcats will need Richards to make a run for the Final Four this season.
“I hope that the people that are out there watching us and watched us in that first exhibition game, realize how important Nick is to this program,” Payne said. “… We need him more than ever. … Now, it’s Nick’s time. A lot of things that are going to happen — winning or losing, success-wise with this team, falls in Nick and EJ (Montgomery).”