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Nick Richards could have a “monster sophomore year”

Richards’ high school coach Mike Rice thinks continued training and skill development will have positive effects this season.

NCAA Basketball: Alabama at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

If there was one player from last year’s team that stood to gain the most from another year playing for John Calipari, it was Nick Richards.

Richards came to UK as the number 18-ranked player and second-ranked center in the class of 2017 (per 247 Sports Composite), despite having only played the game for five years. At 6’11” and 240 pounds, Richards had the frame and the foundation to excel on the court, but last season didn’t quite pan out that way.

Richards started all 37 games, but saw his minutes dwindle as his production took a nosedive. He went from the high of a 25 and 15 double-double against Fort Wayne to averaging just 4.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in the SEC.

However, Richards’ former coach Mike Rice, who was head coach at Rutgers University before taking the job at The Patrick School in New Jersey, thinks that Richards is poised to take big strides in his second year as a Kentucky Wildcat.

Rice told Jon Hale at the Courier Journal, “Building that confidence and building those positive instincts is just a process, He’s going to put weight on, and I think he’s going to have a monster sophomore year.”

Richards certainly has a ways to go, but his ceiling is potentially very high and he has shown flashes of why he was so highly ranked as a raw high school player. Kentucky’s frontcourt is loaded this year so if Richards wants to have an impact this year he’s going to have to improve his game and his confidence. If he does, I think I agree with Rice, Richards could have a monster sophomore season.

You can read the rest of Hale’s story here, and be sure to follow A Sea of Blue for all the latest Kentucky Wildcats news.