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Could Nick Richards be Kentucky’s best shooter?

Nick Richards (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

After getting his second double-double in three games at a time Kentucky really needed him because it only had seven healthy scholarship players to use against Utah Valley Tuesday, junior Nick Richards was still a bit upset with himself.

“I thought I played pretty good overall. I am still kind of mad about how I didn’t get a block today, so that is something that I am mad about. I am disappointed in myself because I had a couple of opportunities to get a couple of blocks tonight,” Richards said after the 82-74 win.

“We just have to appreciate the win tonight and be grateful for that. The other team did play pretty good tonight. It was a really good game overall.”

Most important for UK might have been that Richards looked so comfortable facing the basket and scoring.

“It is something we have been working on in practice, and that is something that I have been working on in my workouts with my coaches, so it was a matter of time before it just started going down,” Richards said.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said he “ran some stuff” for Richards even if teammates did not always pay attention to the calls.

“We ran a play where we called it the whole way down what we were running and the one guy wasn’t listening because he had not played great and he ran right in front of Nick. And Nick was wide open to get another basket,” Calipari said.

“But for Nick, again, you got to score some around the goal. But what you’re finding out, Nick, may be not a 3-point shooter, but he may be, are you ready for this, folks? Our best shooter.”

What? How can that be?

“When you get him at 12 feet, he makes those shots. He may be our best — so now we’re saying, okay, let’s get him to 12 feet, let’s do stuff to get him to an elbow,” Calipari said.

“You saw the short corner shots he’s taking. It’s what we want him to do because he’s good. But you got to get some free ones. He’s 7-foot tall.”

3 comments

  1. Well, he is the player with the highest shooting percentage (58.3%) through 4 games, but Sestina is nipping at his heels (57.1%). However, when the entire floor play (offensive rebounding, turnovers, blocks, and steals) are factored in to estimate individual efficiency, Sestina is the most efficient Wildcat through 4 games with Richards second. For some specifics,

    Sestina is 0.71 points per possession ended on 7.9% of all possessions
    Richards is 0.40 pppe on 11.2% of all possessions
    Quickley is 0.34 pppe on 16.6% of all possessions
    Maxey is 0.26 pppe on 19.5% of all possessions
    Whitney is 0.15 pppe on 8.5% of all possessions
    Hagans is 0.02 pppe on 16.2% of all possessions
    Brooks is -0.03 pppe on 7.9% of all possessions
    Juzang is -0.18 pppe on 2.1% of all possessions, and
    Montgomery is -0.38 pppe on 3.3% of all possessions.

    I would like to see Richards and Sestina getting more action, taking some from the others, especially Brooks, Juzang, and Montgomery.

  2. From the free throw line in, I will put Richards up against anyone else on the team. I have said this about him since his freshman year. They need to run plays for this kid from 15 to 18 feet, 5 or 6 times a game. He can nail ’em from that distance. Every team needs a dependable midrange scorer and Richards is it.

  3. This team needs to forget about three point shots and concentrate on what comes best for now. They seem to excel at 12 to 16 foot mid range shot. They need more patience on the offensive end. They need to relax and have more fun on the court.

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